ECMAScript proposal for the RefCollection.


  • Robin Ricard (Bloomberg)


  • Robin Ricard (Bloomberg)
  • Richard Button (Bloomberg)


  • Dan Ehrenberg (Igalia)

Stage: 0


The RefCollection introduces a way to keep value references to objects through symbols.

One of its main goals is to be able to keep track of objects in Records and Tuples without introducing anything mutable in them.

The RefCollection is able to automatically track symbols in such a way that when they become unreachable (and since symbols can't be forged) the referenced object can become unreachable as well.


const refc = new RefCollection();

const rootRef = refc.ref(document.getElementById("root"));
assert(refc.deref(rootRef) === document.querySelector("#root"));

const otherRootRef = refc.ref(document.querySelector("#root"));
assert(rootRef === otherRootRef);

with Records and Tuples

const refc = new RefCollection();

const vdom = #{
    type: "div",
    props: #{ id: "root" },
    children: #[
            type: "button",
            props: #{
                onClick: refc.ref(function () {
            children: #[
                "Click Me!",

// Alert: Clicked!


new RefCollection()

Creates a RefCollection. Does not takes any initializer arguments.

RefCollection.prototype.ref(obj, sym = Symbol())

Returns a stable symbol for a corresponding object obj.

You can optionally give a symbol sym that will be used if a new symbol needs to get registered. If the obj is already in the RefCollection, sym will get discarded. If sym is already pointing to an object in the refCollection, expect a TypeError.


Returns the object corresponding to the symbol sym. If a symbol not returned by the same RefCollection gets passed here you will receive undefined.


Object-Ref stability

The collection does not let you change or remove from it, only add. So for a same object, expect the same ref symbol.


The RefCollection will mark all objects tracked as unreachable as soon as the collection becomes unreachable.

If a symbol becomes independently unreachable, since they can't be reforged, the collection will mark the corresponding object as unreachable from the collection.

Note: This second point is impossible to polyfill.


You will find a polyfill in this same repository.


Why Symbols?

Symbols are a good way to represent that reference since we can't reforge them to recreate a ref from nothing (which a number or a string would have been possible to forge).