Use If...else Shorthand in PHP

  1. Introduction to the Ternary Operator in PHP
  2. Use the Ternary Operator for true/false Declaration in PHP

This article will introduce how we can use the short-hand method to write the if...else condition in PHP. We will use the ternary operator and null coalescing operator with the demonstrations.

Introduction to the Ternary Operator in PHP

We can use the ternary operator as a short-hand method of if-else condition in PHP. However, the ternary operator can be used in every other programming language. The word ternary means having three elements. So, the ternary operator has three operands. We write the condition at first, which is the first operand. Then the symbol ? separates the condition with the expression to be evaluated if the condition is true. Lastly, the : symbol separates the truthy and the falsy expression. The syntax is written below.

condition ? trueExpression : falseExpression

Here, condition is an expression whose value is to be evaluated. The option trueExpression is an expression that will be executed if condition is true, and falseExpression will be executed if condition is false.

Let’s see how we can write equivalent ternary operation of the if-else condition. Let’s have a look at the following if-else condition.

Example Code:

$num = rand(0,10);
echo "The number is: " . "$num"."<br>";
if($num>5){
    echo "heads";
}else{
    echo "tails";
}

Output:

The number is: 9 
heads

Here, we used an if-else condition to display heads or tails using the rand() function. If the number is greater than 5, we displayed heads, and we displayed tails if the number is less than or equal to 5. Here, rand(0,10) generates a random number from 0 to 10. In the example below, the random number is 9, and it displays heads as a result. The important thing to consider is that we cannot use the echo statement with the conditional operators themselves. We can only use them after the condition is evaluated as a result. We can substitute the if-else condition by using the ternary operator for the above program.

Example code:

$num = rand(0,10);
echo "The number is: " . "$num"."<br>";
echo ($num>5)? "heads":"tails";

Output:

The number is: 6 
heads

In the example below, the random number is 6. It is greater than 5 so, the program displays heads. The significant difference between the if-else operator and the ternary operator is that we can use the echo statement and the ternary operator. In this way, we can use the ternary operator.

Use the Ternary Operator for true/false Declaration in PHP

We can also use the ternary operator to declare the basic true or false values. We can use the boolean value true and false in trueExpression and falseExpression respectively. For example, create a variable $age and assign it to the value of 14. Next, create another variable, $can_vote and write a ternary operation in the variable. Write the condition $age>17 and write the values true and false as trueExpression and falseExpresssion. Lastly, use the var_dump() function to dump the $can_vote variable.

The output section shows the output as false, which is a boolean type. In this way, we can use the ternary operator to declare the true and false values in PHP.

Code Example:

$age= 14;
$can_vote = ($age>17 ? true : false);
var_dump($can_vote);

Output:

bool(false)
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