[whatwg] 2.3 editorial: operators, operations, or ?

Kevin Benson kevin.m.benson at gmail.com
Sat Aug 15 21:18:19 PDT 2009

On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 10:11 PM, Aryeh Gregor<Simetrical+w3c at gmail.com> wrote:
> I do agree that "comparison operator" sounds a little weird in this
> context.  I can't really put my finger on why, though,

That might be because the typical use for the word "comparison" is
as... a _noun_ ( not an adjective :)

> or think of a better term.

The logical grammar correction for the two words already there, would
_seem_ to be:

"comparative[1] operations[2]"

> I think it's harmless, anyway, and not worth wasting much time on
> given the amount of real work to be done.

An explanation[3] of the word "operator" or the realm[3] of
"operational procedures"...can be _quite_ complex. ;)

    K e V i N

On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 9:16 AM, Elliotte Rusty
Harold<elharo at ibiblio.org> wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 4:40 AM, Ian Hickson<ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>> On Mon, 10 Aug 2009, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
>>> "This specification defines several comparison operators for strings."
>>> Really, operators? Is this the right word here? Maybe it should be
>>> "several comparison operations on strings" or "several possible
>>> comparisons for strings.
>> What's wrong with operators? They are literally functions that the rest of
>> the spec uses, it seems like the right word here.
> A function is not an operator. According to Wikipedia, "In
> mathematics, an operator is a function which operates on (or modifies)
> another function." A comparison is an operation on strings (data), not
> on other functions.
> In traditional programming languages such as Java and C, an operator
> is usually a language defined symbol, and occasionally a user defined
> symbol. That also doesn't apply here. For instance, in Java,
> "operators are special symbols that perform specific operations on
> one, two, or three operands, and then return a result."
> What you're describing is likely a function or perhaps an operation,
> but I don't think it's an operator in the commonly understood senses
> of the term amongst the people likely to be reading this spec.
> --
> Elliotte Rusty Harold
> elharo at ibiblio.org

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comparative
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operations
[3] http://books.google.com/books?id=rhvDiOxOUe4C&lpg=PA341&pg=PA340

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