Bug 19143 - setTimeout and setInterval should clamp at the maximum timeout value
Summary: setTimeout and setInterval should clamp at the maximum timeout value
Alias: None
Product: HTML WG
Classification: Unclassified
Component: HTML5 spec (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: PC All
: P2 normal
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Edward O'Connor
QA Contact: HTML WG Bugzilla archive list
Depends on:
Reported: 2012-09-29 15:13 UTC by Aaron McBride
Modified: 2012-12-05 21:01 UTC (History)
6 users (show)

See Also:


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Description Aaron McBride 2012-09-29 15:13:30 UTC
The timeout is currently defined as a signed 32-bit int (aka "long").  I recently ran into a case where some code overflowed this int.  In all cases I found, the browsers treated the timeout as 0 (or possibly 4-10ms).  It seems reasonable that if the spec says to clamp small values to 4ms, then it would be nice to clamp large values to the something useful like the maximum allowed value (2^31 - 1).  It might also make sense to change from long to unsigned long, but that's a different issue.

Here's the sample code that got me in trouble:
setInterval(function () { console.log('test') }, 300000000000)

Here's where I filed an issue with Mozilla:

and Chromium:
Comment 1 Boris Zbarsky 2012-09-29 15:32:25 UTC
Given that all browsers agree here, I would worry about web compat issues with changes.

In particular, I'm >70% confident that using unsigned long would break sites that currently pass "-1" to setTimeout and expect that to mean "as soon as possible", because it would suddenly mean "never".
Comment 2 Aaron McBride 2012-09-29 16:06:21 UTC
Would it be possible to clamp before doing ToUint32, so -1 would become 4 before underflowing?  If that's not possible, then I agree that the type change isn't worth all of the problems.  That aside, does clamping the max make sense?
Comment 3 Boris Zbarsky 2012-11-29 17:37:29 UTC
> Would it be possible to clamp before doing ToUint32

Yes, using [Clamp].  That might be a reasonable thing to do, generally speaking, if we're not worried about sites that are passing in large numbers and expecting immediate firing.
Comment 4 Edward O'Connor 2012-12-05 21:01:35 UTC
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Status: Rejected
Change Description: No spec change.
Rationale: Given that all browsers currently interoperate, I don't think
we should risk the compat risk. The extant Web corpus has all sorts of
crazy values being passed to setTimeout.