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> On Dec 19, 2018, at 12:33 PM, Michael Catanzaro <> wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 9:31 PM, Darin Adler <> wrote:
>> I¡¯ve gotten used to the name AtomicString over the years, but I wouldn¡¯t 
>> strongly object to changing it if other programmers are often confused by 
>> it¡¯s similarity to the term ¡°atomic operations¡±.
> Well there were two other developers in the thread Ryosuke linked to who made 
> the exact same mistake as me, so I do think the current name is problematic. 
> A change wouldn't need to be drastic, though. I think suggestions from the 
> old thread like "StringAtom" or "AtomString" would be unproblematic. The 
> problem is the specific word "atomic" carries an expectation that the object 
> be safe to access concurrently across threads without locks; I think that 
> expectation doesn't exist if not for the "ic" at the end.
> FWIW I've only ever heard the "interned string" terminology prior to now.

¡°Interned string¡± is really obvious to people who have seen it but mysterious 
to those who have not. Unfortunately, I don¡¯t think there is a term for this 
concept that most programmers will already know. So the best we can do is a 
term that is clearly something you need to look up and can¡¯t be confused for 
something else. Another term of art name for this concept is Symbol. 
Unfortunately, search results for String, Atom and Atom String don¡¯t give a 
helpful explanation, and Symbol could be confused with the JavaScript 
language¡¯s notion of symbols. ¡°Interned String¡± gives helpful search results, 
but is not the normal use of the terminology. Usually there is an operation 
called ¡°intern¡±, or there might be reference to ¡°string interning¡±, but it 
usually gives back just a plain string, or a type with a name like ¡°atom¡± or 

On balance, if we change, I¡¯d lean towards Atom, since it is concise, obviously 
mysterious if you don¡¯t know what it is, and understandable to at least some 
people who have seem that name for the concept. The only downside is that it¡¯s 
not obvious from the name that it is a kind of string.


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