The Behavior of Gradual Types: A User Study

Preston Tunnell Wilson, Ben Greenman, Justin Pombrio, Shriram Krishnamurthi

Dynamic Languages Symposium, 2018


There are several different gradual typing semantics, reflecting different trade-offs between performance and type soundness guarantees. Notably absent, however, are any data on which of these semantics developers actually prefer.

We begin to rectify this shortcoming by surveying professional developers, computer science students, and Mechanical Turk workers on their preferences between three gradual typing semantics. These semantics reflect important points in the design space, corresponding to the behaviors of Typed Racket, TypeScript, and Reticulated Python. Our most important finding is that our respondents prefer a runtime semantics that fully enforces statically declared types.



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