A Trusted Mechanised JavaScript Specification


JavaScript is the most widely used web language for client-side applications. Whilst the development of JavaScript was initially just led by implementation, there is now increasing momentum behind the ECMA standardisation process. The time is ripe for a formal, mechanised specification of JavaScript, to clarify ambiguities in the ECMA standards, to serve as a trusted reference for high-level language compilation and JavaScript implementations, and to provide a platform for high-assurance proofs of language properties.

We present JSCert, a formalisation of the current ECMA standard in the Coq proof assistant, and JSRef, a reference interpreter for JavaScript extracted from Coq to OCaml. We give a Coq proof that JSRef is correct with respect to JSCert and assess JSRef using test262, the ECMA conformance test suite. Our methodology ensures that JSCert is a comparatively accurate formulation of the English standard, which will only improve as time goes on. We have demonstrated that modern techniques of mechanised specification can handle the complexity of JavaScript.


A Trusted Mechanised JavaScript Specification
Martin Bodin, Arthur Charguéraud, Daniele Filaretti, Philippa Gardner, Sergio Maffeis, Daiva Naudziuniene, Alan Schmitt and Gareth Smith
POPL: Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages, January 2014