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PHP ternary operator Examples

PHP inherits the ternary operator you might know from C, Java, Javascript or Perl.


<condition> ? <value on true> : <value on false>


Set variable $query with HTTP GET parameter q or to default if parameter is missing.

$query = isset($_GET['q'])?$_GET['q']:'default';

Multiple defaults: the first non-false value is returned

$result = $input1 ?: $input2 ?: $input3

Use Cases

Why would you want to use the ternary operator?

  • Non-disruptive editing of existing code
  • Shorter than an equivalent if condition (1 instead of 5 lines)
  • If you want to output the result of the condition in 1 output method invocation
  • To use a list of variables as defaults for a result