multiline: Must we waste one of the final few 'free' symbols on this?

forax at forax at
Thu Mar 1 19:29:48 UTC 2018

Hi Cyrill,
you can even use 2+ single quotes instead of 3+ double quotes.

To answer to the question, "maybe one day exotic identifiers may want to use backticks" is not an argument for good reasons:
- you can use the same symbol for both, it depends exactly where you allow exotic identifiers, by example if it's for exported symbols; name of methods, fields, classes that are visible outside; there is no problem because you can consider raw string as local identifier the same way the grammar considers 'module' or 'exports' as a keyword depending on the context.
- we can use """ as you suggest (or '') to implement exotic identifiers.
- as ma grand'ma was saying when i was starting my sentence with 'what if', the future paralyse only the fool :)


----- Mail original -----
> De: "Cyrill Brunner" <cyrill.brunner at>
> À: "Remi Forax" <forax at>, "Reinier Zwitserloot" <reinier at>
> Cc: "amber-dev" <amber-dev at>
> Envoyé: Jeudi 1 Mars 2018 19:16:19
> Objet: Re: multiline: Must we waste one of the final few 'free' symbols on this?

> The points raised in that discussion are valid reasons for not using fixed,
> possibly single-letter delimiters for raw strings, yes.
> But for the second suggestion made, would it not also be a possible to use 3+,
> symmetric double quotes? It would leave the use case of `while` etc. open
> whilst producing none of the detriments mentioned in the JEP directly.
> So instead of
> String text = ``This contains a backtick: `.``
> you could similarly do
> String text = """"This string contains a triple quote: """.""""
> This would leave ` untouched for now, just as string"prefixes", whilst still
> allowing the arbitrary-but-symmetric number of double quotes.
> What would speak against this?
> - Cyrill Brunner
> Am 28.02.2018 um 14:24 schrieb Remi Forax:
>> see
>> Rémi
>> ----- Mail original -----
>>> De: "Reinier Zwitserloot" <reinier at>
>>> À: "amber-dev" <amber-dev at>
>>> Envoyé: Mercredi 28 Février 2018 07:06:20
>>> Objet: multiline: Must we waste one of the final few 'free' symbols on this?
>>> Some feedback on multiline string literals. Where 'proposal' is referenced,
>>> it refers to:
>>> # Must we waste one of the final few 'free' symbols on this? #
>>> If you look at all easily accessible symbols on a keyboard, the only ones
>>> that don't yet have a syntactic meaning in java source files are the
>>> backtick and the hash. Everything else is either defined to be an
>>> identifierpart which makes using them as a symbol somewhat difficult
>>> (that'd be the underscore and the dollar, although the underscore has
>>> already backwards-incompatibly been torn out; presumably the dollar can be
>>> 'rescued' in the same fashion). Is THIS what we're going to spend one of
>>> our final 2 to 3 symbols on?
>>> One obvious alternate use for the backtick is for encoding identifiers; if
>>> you want to name a method "while", which the JVM spec does allow you to do,
>>> you could maybe one day use backticks. Some JVM-targeted languages already
>>> do this. I'm not saying this is a good idea, but I am saying that
>>> implementing the raw string literal proposal as written pretty much
>>> eliminates this notion from ever seeing the light of day, forever. Perhaps
>>> it's worth some debate before we just casually close that door in
>>> perpetuity.
>>> alternatives:
>>> Is: R"This is a raw string" an option? An advantage to the 'R' concept is
>>> that you can separate 'escapes arent processed' ('raw') from 'feel free to
>>> newline in these' ('multiline'): The R indicates raw, and hitting enter
>>> immediately after the quote indicates multiline, which would be backwards
>>> compatible as currently its always illegal java if you newline in the
>>> middle of string literals. Thus:
>>> String x = R"Escapes \t are not processed here; this contains raw
>>> backslash-t instead of a tab";
>>> String multi = "
>>>     This is
>>>     multiline but \t DOES contain a tab";
>>> String rawMulti = R"
>>>     This is
>>>     multi with \t backslash-t literally, not a tab";
>>> Another option would be to investigate the use of triple quotes. In java9
>>> syntax, having 3 quotes in immediate succession cannot possibly be valid in
>>> a source file unless in a comment. Therefore, it would seem possible to use
>>> triple quotes as a delimiter without creating the ambiguity mentioned in
>>> the 'Choice of delimiters' section. Example:
>>> String regex = """Hey now I don't have to \w+ escape my backslashes!""";
>>> This syntax also has quite a lot of precedence (kotlin, swift, groovy, and
>>> python). Note that the 'other languages' section misconstrues how python
>>> works; triple quotes is for multiline strings. For raw strings, you use
>>> R"foo". Most python programmers seem to think the R stands for regex, as
>>> that's pretty much what they're always used for. Nevertheless, it stands
>>> for 'raw'. See:
>>> In regards to investigating simply allowing java strings to contain
>>> newlines; the 'Choice of delimiters' section has this quote:
>>>> Enabling such a feature would affect tools and tests that assume
>>> multi-line traditional string literals as an error.
>>> This makes no sense. Any unupdated tool would consider use of a backtick
>>> also an error. Either way, tools not aware of the new feature would treat
>>> multiline string literals as a syntax error, whether you use backtick,
>>> quote, or triple-quote. Unlike the introduction of very fancy footwork to
>>> treat backslash-u escapes as raw inside these literals, addition of
>>> backtick (or triple quote, or single quote) as signifying raw and/or
>>> multiline strings won't be particularly difficult for existing java parsers
>>> to implement. It doesn't seem relevant as an argument for or against any
>>> particular delimiter.
> >>   --Reinier Zwitserloot

More information about the amber-dev mailing list