How to check if undefined in JavaScript? [SOLVED]


JavaScript

JavaScript is a popular programming language used for building web applications and creating interactive user interfaces. One of the common tasks in JavaScript development is checking if a variable is undefined. An undefined variable is one that has been declared but not assigned a value or has been explicitly assigned the value of "undefined".

There are different ways to check if a variable is undefined in JavaScript, including using the typeof operator, the comparison operator (===) with the value undefined, or the use of the ternary operator. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which one to use depends on the specific scenario and the coding style of the developer.

In this article, we will explore the various ways to check if a variable is undefined in JavaScript and discuss the best practices for handling undefined variables in your code. We will also provide some practical examples to demonstrate how to implement these methods in your code. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how to check for undefined variables in JavaScript and how to write more robust and error-free code.

 

Using the === Operator to check if value is undefined

The === operator is used to check if two values are strictly equal. It returns true if the values are equal and of the same data type. Therefore, we can use the === operator to check if a value is undefined, as follows:

Here is a simple structure of how to use the === operator in checking if value is undefined

if (value === undefined) {
    // code to execute if value is undefined
}

Now, let’s check if a undefined variable is undefined using the === operator in combination with the if statement.

let x;
if (x === undefined) {
    console.log("x is undefined");
}

Output

x is undefined

Now, let’s try the same code with a defined variable, and let’s see the output

let y = 0;
if (y === undefined) {
    console.log("y is undefined");
} else {
    console.log("y is defined");
}

Output

y is defined

In the first example, the variable x is declared but not assigned a value. Therefore, it is assigned the value of undefined. The if statement checks if x is undefined and logs a message to the console if it is. In the second example, the variable y is assigned a value of 0. Therefore, the if statement does not execute since y is not undefined, but the added else statement is executed and logs the message within the block.

 

Using the typeof Operator to check if variable is undefined

The typeof operator is used to determine the data type of a value. It returns a string indicating the data type of the operand. When used with an uninitialized variable, it returns "undefined". Therefore, we can use the typeof operator to check if a variable is undefined, as follows:

Here is the simple syntax structure to check if variable is undefined using the typeof operator.

if (typeof variable === "undefined") {
    // code to execute if variable is undefined
}

Now, let’s illustrate how we could use the typeof operator and if/else statement to check if variable is undefined.

let a;
if (typeof a === "undefined") {
    console.log("a is undefined");
}

Output

a is undefined

In another example, we pass a null value to a variable, and we illustrate if the variable is undefined or not.

let b = null;
if (typeof b === "undefined") {
    console.log("b is undefined");
} else {
    console.log("b is defined");
}

Output

b is defined

In first example, the variable a is declared but not assigned a value. The typeof operator returns "undefined", and the if statement logs a message to the console. For the other example, the variable b is assigned a value of null. Therefore, the if statement does not execute since b is not undefined and the else statement is executed.

 

Using the negation operator (!) to check if variable is undefined

Using the negation operator (!) with a variable is a commonly used method to check if a variable is undefined in JavaScript. When the negation operator is applied to a variable, it first coerces the variable to a boolean value and then negates it. If the variable is undefined, it is coerced to a falsy value, and the negation operator returns true. Otherwise, if the variable is defined, it is coerced to a truthy value, and the negation operator returns false.

Here's an example:

let variableName;

if (!variableName) {
  console.log("The variable is undefined");
} else {
  console.log("The variable is defined");
}

In this example, the variable variableName is not assigned a value, so it is undefined. When the negation operator is applied to it in the if statement, it returns true, and the message "The variable is undefined" is printed to the console.

One advantage of using the negation operator is that it provides a concise way of checking if a variable is undefined. However, it is important to note that it can produce unexpected results if the variable is assigned a falsy value, such as false, 0, or an empty string. In such cases, the negation operator would incorrectly indicate that the variable is undefined. Therefore, it is important to use this method with caution and ensure that the variable is truly undefined before using the negation operator to check it.

 

Using the ternary operator to check if variable in undefined

Using the ternary operator is another method to check if a variable is undefined in JavaScript. The ternary operator provides a concise way of writing conditional statements and is commonly used in JavaScript to check if a variable is defined.

The ternary operator consists of three parts: a condition, a value to return if the condition is true, and a value to return if the condition is false. If the condition is true, the operator returns the first value, and if the condition is false, it returns the second value.

Here's an example of using the ternary operator to check if a variable is undefined:

let variableName;

const value = variableName ? variableName : defaultValue;

console.log(value);

In this example, the variable variableName is not assigned a value, so it is undefined. The ternary operator checks if variableName is defined and returns its value if it is, or returns a default value if it is undefined. The value of defaultValue is assigned to the value variable, which is then printed to the console.

Here's an example of using the ternary operator to check if a variable is undefined:

let myVariable;
let result = (typeof myVariable !== 'undefined') ? 'Variable is defined' : 'Variable is undefined';
console.log(result);

In this example, we declare a variable called myVariable without assigning it a value, so it is undefined by default. We then use the ternary operator to check if the type of myVariable is not equal to 'undefined'. If it is not undefined, the string 'Variable is defined' is assigned to the result variable. If it is undefined, the string 'Variable is undefined' is assigned to result instead.

When we run this code, the output will be:

Variable is undefined

One advantage of using the ternary operator is that it provides a concise way of checking if a variable is undefined and assigning a default value to it. However, it is important to note that it can make the code harder to read and understand if used excessively. Therefore, it is recommended to use the ternary operator sparingly and only when it improves the readability and maintainability of the code.

 

Summary

In this document, we have discussed two methods that can be used to check if a value is undefined in JavaScript. These methods include using the === operator and the typeof operator. It is important to check if a value is undefined before using it in any operation to prevent errors in the application.

 

References

undefined - JavaScript | MDN (mozilla.org)
typeof - JavaScript | MDN (mozilla.org)

 

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Olorunfemi Akinlua

Olorunfemi Akinlua

He is boasting over five years of experience in JavaScript, specializing in technical content writing and UX design. With a keen focus on programming languages, he crafts compelling content and designs user-friendly interfaces to enhance digital experiences across various domains. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn profile.

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