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PHP PHP Basics (Retired) PHP Operators Operators

Shazad Kazi
Shazad Kazi
10,758 Points

Single Ternary Operator :? :S Confused

Can someone please explain this and preferably create another example. I'm just trying to get my head around it and want to make sure.

there is a single ternary operator, ? :, which takes three values; this is usually referred to simply as "the ternary operator" (although it could perhaps more properly be called the conditional operator).

echo $a === $b? $a : 'not equal';
//displays $a if $a is equal to $b

2 Answers

Hi Shazad,

As I understand them a single ternary operator is short hand for If Then Else

$var = 10;
$var_greater_than_five = ($var > 5 ? true : false);

This is another way of saying:

$var = 10;
if ($var > 5 ) {
    $var_greater_than_five = true;
    $var_greater_than_five = false;

They both do the same thing, just one is faster to type. Some devs seem to use them a lot and others not at all, it's personal preference.

Ternary operators can be tricky to read if long and complex, so my rule is I won't use them unless they will fit in a single 80 char line. i tend to only use them for setting a boolean value - again personal preference.

Hope that helps.

KB :octopus:

Joel Bardsley
Joel Bardsley
31,246 Points

A simple, but common, use would be a message at the top of the page that is different depending on whether the user is logged in. For example:

$message = 'Hello '.($user->is_logged_in() ? $user->get('first_name') : 'Guest');

Using the above shorthand is the equivalent of running an if/else statement like:

$message = 'Hello ';
if ($user->is_logged_in()) {
  $message .= $user->get('first_name'); // "Hello Shazad"
} else {
  $message .= 'Guest'; // "Hello Guest"

So if $user->is_logged_in() is true, the code between the ? and the : is run, otherwise the code after the : is run.