Ternaries
SixBeeps (1348)

One of the simplest concepts in programming is the if-else statement.

if (someCondition) {
   doAThing();
} else {
   doAnotherThing();
}

Of course, if and if-else statements have a variety of different purposes. But, arguably the most common usage is for assignment of some variable or calculating something. For example, let's look and an absolute value function (this is written in Java, but this tutorial can apply to most languages)

int abs(int n) {
    if (n < 0) {
        return -n;
    } else {
        return n;
    }
}

This is fine and all, but we can shorten it a bit using something called a ternary.

A ternary is one of the few (if not the only) logic operator that takes 3 operands. The first value is some boolean expression, like score>75 or word=="yeet". The second and third are your values. The ternary will evaluate to the second if your boolean expression is true, and the third if it is false. The syntax varies from language to language, but a common way to write one of these is a ? b : c where a is your boolean expression, and b and c are your second and third values.

Let's re-write the abs() function above using ternaries:

int abs(int n) {
    return n<0 ? -n : n;
}

Nice and concise. For a list of how to use ternary expressions in various languages, refer to here.

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