JavaHow to Use Conditional Operators in Java

How to Use Conditional Operators in Java

Java Developer Tutorials

In software development, an operator works on one or more operands in an expression. The Java programming language provides support for the following types of operators:

Ternary operators can be used to replace if…else or switch…case statements in your applications to make the code easy to understand and maintain over time. This programming tutorial talks about conditional operators and how you can work with them in Java.

What are the Types of Conditional Operators in Java?

There are three types of conditional operators in Java. These include:

  • Conditional AND
  • Conditional OR
  • Ternary Operator

Refer to the following piece of example Java code:

int x;
if (y > 0) {
x = 1;
} else {
x = 0;
}

The same code can be written using a conditional operator as follows:

int x = (y > 0) ? 1 : 0;

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Conditional AND Operator in Java

If a developer wants to check if two conditions are true at the same time, they can use Java’s conditional AND operator. This operator is represented by two ampersands (&&).

Here is some example code showing how to use the conditional AND operator in Java:

if (condition1 && condition2) {
// do something
}

If both condition1 and condition2 evaluate to true, the code inside the if block will be executed. On the contrary, if either condition1 or condition2 evaluates to false, code written inside the if statement will not be executed at all.

The following code example uses an if statement with a conditional AND operator to print a message when both conditions are satisfied:

if(x == 10 && y > 10) {
System.out.println("x is equal to ten and y is greater than ten.");
}

Conditional OR Operator in Java

The conditional OR operator (||) in Java will return true if any of the operands is true. If both the operands evaluate to false, it will return false.

The following Java code example using the OR operator will print “true” at the console window:

public class Main {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
      boolean a = true;
      boolean b = false; 
      if (a || b) 
      { 
        System.out.println("true"); 
      } 
      else 
      { 
        System.out.println("false"); 
      }
  }
}

Similarly, the following code will print “true” at the console window:

public class Main {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
      boolean a = false; 
      boolean b = true; 
      if (a || b) 
      { 
        System.out.println("true"); 
      }
  }
}

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Ternary Operator in Java

The ternary operator is a conditional operator that can be used to short-circuit evaluation in Java. It accepts three operands that comprise of a boolean condition, an expression that should be executed if the condition specified is true, and a second expression that should be executed if the condition is false.

In Java, the ternary operator is a one-liner alternative to if-else statements. You can use ternary operators and nested ternary operators to replace if-else statements.

The syntax of the ternary operator in Java is:

(condition) ? (return if true) : (return if false);

The condition must be a boolean expression. If the condition is true, then action1 will be executed. If the condition is false, then action2 will be executed.

Here is an example of how the ternary operator can be used in Java:

int x = 10; int y = 20; int z;
z = (x < y) ? x : y; // z will be assigned the value of x since x is less than y

In this code example, if the condition (x < y) is true, then z will be assigned the value of x. If the condition (x < y) is false, then z will be assigned the value of y.

Here is another example of a ternary operator in Java:

public class Main {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        int x = 5, y = 10, max;
         System.out.println("The value of x is:  " + x);
        System.out.println("The value of y is: " + y);
         max = (x > y) ? x : y;
         System.out.println("The max of x and y is: " + max);
  }
}

Note that any code programmers write using ternary operators in Java can also be written using if..else statements. However, by using ternary operators, developers can improve the readability of their code.

Short-Circuiting Evaluation in Java

In java, the conditional AND and conditional OR operations can be performed on two boolean expressions using the && and || operators. Note that these operators can exhibit “short-circuiting” behavior, which means only the second operand is evaluated if necessary.

The conditional operator evaluates the boolean condition and then short-circuit evaluation executes either the true or false expression accordingly. This operator is often used as a replacement for if-else statements. You can use it to make your source code more readable, maintainable, and concise.

Here is the syntax of the if..else construct in Java:

if(condition) statement;
   or
if (condition) statement1;
else statement2;

For example, consider the following if-else statement:

if (x > y) 
{
max = x; 
} 
else 
{ 
max = y; 
}

This statement can be rewritten using the conditional operator as follows:

max = (x > y) ? x : y;

Final Thoughts on Conditional Operators in Java

Developers can use the conditional AND operator to determine whether both operands are true and the conditional OR operator to determine if any of the two operands is true. If you are using the conditional AND operator, the resulting value of the expression will be true if both operands are true.

If you are using a conditional OR operator, the resulting value of the expression will be true if either operand is true. The conditional AND operator is represented by an ampersand && and the conditional OR operator is represented by ||.

The ternary operator may intimidate inexperienced developers, despite its simplicity and conciseness. Using nested ternary operators can be confusing. When choosing between Java ternary operators and if…else expressions, we would recommend using the latter for simplicity.

Read more Java programming tutorials and software development guides.

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