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I am assuming the main reasons for the discussion are the
constructs {...} and {f()}. An inexperienced user might
assume these are arrays, and yet they can contain holes.
The idea of using a special value to represent a "hole" in
an array does not seem to solve the problems that arise from
these constructs.

I like the simplicity of a single data structure that
represents arrays and maps uniformly. However, perhaps we
could have a special "mode" for tables that would disable
the sparse representation for the array part? Tha way, it
would be trivial to compute the size.