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Cool syntax #1 | Optional chaining

Dalibor Belic
Hi there 👋 Do you like jazz? I do. Never mind. I'm a full-stack developer, tech enthusiast, former entrepreneur, musician; virtually a generalist. I'm keen on MERNG Stack and the concept of hooks.
・2 min read

Welcome to the first post of the Cool Syntax series! I intend to publish a post, from time to time, on how to write clean JavaScript code like a pro!

The first text is about optional chaining. A syntactic sugar that makes reading content of an object much shorter and simpler. Let me show it to you.

Take a look at this array of objects.

const art = [
    {
        type: "paining",
        about: {
            name: "The starry night",
            author: "Vincent van Gogh",
            year: "1889",
            medium: "Oil on canvas",
        },
        dimensions: {
            width: "92.1",
            height: "73.7",
        },
    },
    {
        type: "sculpture",
        about: {
            name: "David",
            author: "Michelangelo",
        },
        dimensions: {
            width: "517",
            height: "199",
        },
    },
    {
        type: "photography",
        about: {
            name: "Pillars of Creation (Eagle Nebula)",
            author: "Hubble Space Telescope",
        },
    },
];
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Imagine we fetched some data, and now we have the art array of objects. Then, let's say we want to log type of each object in the art array.

art.forEach(artPiece => {
    console.log(artPiece.type);
})
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Now, let's log each height.

art.forEach(artPiece => {
    console.log(artPiece.dimensions.height);
})
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And... Yes, it will display the error message -> TypeError: Cannot read property 'height' of undefined. It's because we don't have the dimensions (on each object), and we're trying to get a property from it.

SOLUTION 1 - && operator

art.forEach(artPiece => {
    console.log(artPiece.dimensions && artPiece.dimensions.height);
})
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SOLUTION 2 - optional chaining

art.forEach(artPiece => {
    console.log(artPiece?.dimensions?.height);
})
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Imagine you have a complex object with many objects in objects...

w && w.x && w.x.y && w.x.y.z
vs
w?.x?.y?.z

I guess you see why optional chaining is the better solution (in terms of syntax)!

I hope you enjoyed this short syntax-related post! Check out my previous posts and stay tuned for more cool JavaScript stuff!

Cheers,
Dalibor

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