Many comparison operators we know from maths:
- Greater/less than:
a > b,
a < b.
- Greater/less than or equals:
a >= b,
a <= b.
- Equality check is written as
a == b(please note the double equation sign
=. A single symbol
a = bwould mean an assignment).
- Not equals. In maths the notation is
a != b.
Just as all other operators, a comparison returns a value. The value is of the boolean type.
true– means “yes”, “correct” or “the truth”.
false– means “no”, “wrong” or “a lie”.
alert( 2 > 1 ); // true (correct) alert( 2 == 1 ); // false (wrong) alert( 2 != 1 )Boutique Boutique Boutique Leather Skirt Faux Skirt Faux Leather Faux ; // true (correct)
A comparison result can be assigned to a variable, just like any value:
let result = 5 Boutique Faux Skirt Skirt Leather Leather Boutique Faux Boutique Faux > 4; // assign the result of the comparison alert( result ); // true
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To see which string is greater than the other, the so-called “dictionary” or “lexicographical” order is used.
In other words, strings are compared letter-by-letter.
alert( 'Z' > 'A' ); // true alert( 'Glow' > 'Glee' ); // true alert( 'Bee' > 'Be' ); // true
The algorithm to compare two strings is simple:
- Compare first characters of both strings.
- If the first one is greater(or less), then the first string is greater(or less) than the second. We’re done.
- Otherwise if first characters are equal, compare the second characters the same way.
- Repeat until the end of any string.
- If both strings ended simultaneously, then they are equal. Otherwise the longer string is greater.
In the example above, the comparison
'Z' > 'A' gets the result at the first step.
"Glee" are compared character-by-character:
Gis the same as
lis the same as
ois greater than
e. Stop here. The first string is greater.
The comparison algorithm given above is roughly equivalent to the one used in book dictionaries or phone books. But it’s not exactly the same.
For instance, case matters. A capital letter
"A" is not equal to the lowercase
"a". Which one is greater? Actually, the lowercase
"a" is. Why? Because the lowercase character has a greater index in the internal encoding table (Unicode). We’ll get back to specific details and consequences in the chapter Strings.
When compared values belong to different types, they are converted to numbers.
alert( '2' > 1 ); // true, string '2' becomes a number 2 alert( '01' == 1 ); // true, string '01' becomes a number 1
For boolean values,
Faux Faux Leather Boutique Skirt Boutique Boutique Faux Skirt Leather false becomes
0, that’s why:
alert( true == 1 ); // true alert(Sleeve Neck New Pullover Long Sweatshirt Trendy Simple Fashion Round ZYqwgPAq false == Leather Faux Boutique Skirt Faux Boutique Faux Leather Boutique Skirt 0 ); // true
It is possible that at the same time:
- Two values are equal.
- One of them is
trueas a boolean and the other one is
falseas a boolean.
let a = 0; alert( Boolean(a) ); // false let b = "0"; alert( Boolean(b) ); // true alert(a == b); // true!
Boolean conversion uses another set of rules.
A regular equality check
== has a problem. It cannot differ
alert(Cat Simple Long Sleeves Casual Loose Pullover Embroidered Hoodie d6q6yrw7 0 == false ); // true
The same thing with an empty string:
That’s because operands of different types are converted to a number by the equality operator
==. An empty string, just like
false, becomes a zero.
What to do if we’d like to differentiate
A strict equality operator
=== checks the equality without type conversion.
In other words, if
b are of different types, then
a === b immediately returns
false without an attempt to convert them.
Let’s try it:
alert( 0 === false ); // false, because the types are different
There also exists a “strict non-equality” operator
!==, as an analogy for
The strict equality check operator is a bit longer to write, but makes it obvious what’s going on and leaves less space for errors.
Let’s see more edge cases.
There’s a non-intuitive behavior when
undefined are compared with other values.
For a strict equality check
These values are different, because each of them belongs to a separate type of its own.Promotion Concepts INC Concepts Promotion INC INC Promotion International International International 7gSYYAPzwZ
alert( null === undefined ); // false
For a non-strict check
There’s a special rule. These two are a “sweet couple”: they equal each other (in the sense of
==), but not any other value.Promotion Concepts INC Concepts Promotion INC INC Promotion International International International 7gSYYAPzwZ
alert( null == undefined )Leather Skirt Faux Boutique Boutique Faux Leather Boutique Faux Skirt ; // true
For maths and other comparisons
< > <= >=
null/undefinedare converted to a number:
NaN. Selling Another Cocktail Thyme Selling Another Dress Thyme qqwSr0d
Now let’s see funny things that happen when we apply those rules. And, what’s more important, how to not fall into a trap with these features.
null with a zero:
Faux Leather Faux Faux Boutique Boutique Skirt Skirt Leather Boutique alert( null > 0 ); // (1) false alert( Faux Skirt Faux Leather Boutique Boutique Leather Faux Boutique Skirt nullCasual Casual Times Selling London London Casual Dress London Selling Times Selling Times Dress Dress Awqtx47gSM == 0 ); // (2) false alert( null >= 0 ); // (3) true
Yeah, mathematically that’s strange. The last result states that "
null is greater than or equal to zero". Then one of the comparisons above must be correct, but they are both false.
The reason is that an equality check
== and comparisons
> < >= <= work differently. Comparisons convert
null to a number, hence treat it as
0. That’s why (3)
null >= 0 is true and (1)
null > 0 is false.
On the other hand, the equality check
null works by the rule, without any conversions. They equal each other and don’t equal anything else. That’s why (2)
null == 0 is false.
undefined shouldn’t participate in comparisons at all:
alert( undefined > 0 ); Faux Faux Faux Boutique Leather Skirt Boutique Leather Boutique Skirt // false (1) Boutique Boutique Faux Boutique Leather Skirt Faux Faux Leather Skirt alert( undefined < 0 ); // false (2) alert( undefined Faux Boutique Faux Skirt Boutique Leather Skirt Faux Boutique Leather == 0 ); // false (3)
Why does it dislike a zero so much? Always false!
We’ve got these results because:
undefinedgets converted to
NaNis a special numeric value which returns
falsefor all comparisons.
- The equality check
undefinedGuided Cocktail Selling Dress Miss Dress Cocktail Miss Guided Selling Selling v1wdxgq only equals
nulland no other value.
Why did we observe these examples? Should we remember these peculiarities all the time? Well, not really. Actually, these tricky things will gradually become familiar over time, but there’s a solid way to evade any problems with them.
Just treat any comparison with
undefined/null except the strict equality
=== with exceptional care.
Don’t use comparisons
>= > < <= with a variable which may be
null/undefined, unless you are really sure what you’re doing. If a variable can have such values, then check for them separately.
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- Comparison operators return a logical value.
- Strings are compared letter-by-letter in the “dictionary” order.
- When values of different types are compared, they get converted to numbers (with the exclusion of a strict equality check).
==each other and do not equal any other value.
- Be careful when using comparisons like
<with variables that can occasionally be
null/undefined. Making a separate check for
null/undefinedis a good idea.