re: Sh*tpost: can we stop saying "syntactic sugar"? VIEW POST


It's called syntactic sugar because it doesn't introduce any substantial new feature to the language, it's just a sweeter syntax.

So yes: destructuring and += are examples of syntactic sugar because you could write it in the longer, less clean form, and it would be equivalent.

As a side note, sometimes the verb "to desugar" is used to mean "to turn into the equivalent syntax without sugar" As in this example sentence:

a += b desugars to a = a + b

Async/await is not an true example of syntactic sugar, it's an entire new feature in the language. You can re-write async/code to use then/catch handlers but it's much more than a simple syntax transformation, it's a re-write.

In conclusion, it's called "sugar" probably because it implies it's something you sprinkle onto the language syntax to make it easier, but not a whole new set of features. Under the hood, syntactic sugar could be implemented as a transformation of the syntax tree, so the runtime engine may not even need to know about it.

And I agree with the "diabetes" argument: too much syntactic sugar isn't good, it can definitely be taken too far when it makes code harder to read instead of easier to read.


Thanks for your response.

In terms of async/await, and then/catch. When do you feel is a good time to use either?
For asynchronous operations, I have most often resort to fetch and then/catch. Not a very varied vocabulary.


@jenninat0r , It might just be a typo, but I think you meant async/await syntax vs. promises which use then/catch syntax to chain operations (with .catch(cb) being used for error handling). Not try/catch.

In the case of async/await, you'd just use normal try/catch syntax around your await calls for error handling.

Both are used to accomplish the same thing, so I'd say which one you use is a matter of preference. Promises are very similar to monads (although technically they don't quite qualify as such), and I suspect that promises were developed to kind of support a functional style of programming (everything stays in the context of a promise). On the other hand, async/await is designed to make the code look like ordinary imperative code, only asynchronous.

I could be wrong, but I would say whichever one is easier for a team to work with is the one they should use.

Yes it was a brain fart. I’m in the ‘then/catch’ camp !


To me it seems easier to do error handling when using async/await vs then/catch. Most of the times you need an extra try/catch when you're doing then/catch, but when using async/await both sync and async exceptions are caught.


You are incorrect about async/await in javascript (and actually in every language that I've looked into the implementation). It is internally just unrolling promises yielded from a generator function.

I was doing this with my own code and libraries like co for years before async/await became popular. I think even q had a version of the concept. The experience was almost identical to async/await - you just had to use do co(function * () { ... }) instead of async function() { } and yield instead of await. The fact that it was such a simple swap-in was one of the major reasons that I and many others opposed the introduction of those features.

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