re: If/else or just if? VIEW POST


I prefer Statement A since it is more familiar, more explicit, and groups the possible outcomes. Almost every programmer has seen and used option A. It doesn't require changing the structure to make an update, if something needs to be added before the return statements, it is easy and predictable.

The second statement seems like brevity for the sake of brevity to me. It is shorter, but I'd argue that it is not concise because it does not present the information clearly (at least to me). On Statement B, the formatting would trigger a red flag for me. I'd likely have to take a second or third look just to make sure I know what the intention of the code was. I don't like single line if-statements because all it takes is accidental reformatting without adding braces to cause issues that are easy to miss. Some will argue that their editor does this all for them so maintainability is not an issue, but when working on a team I don't think that is a safe assumption. I'm sure someone could also argue efficiency gains of option B (smaller JS file), but that seems like overkill for minimal gain.


I think the second example is muddying the water by combining the pattern (failing early) with a style choice (single-line, braceless ifs).

I prefer Statement B, or would if it was written like this:

if (typeof val === 'string') {
  return 'A';

if (val === null || val === undefined) {
  return 'B';

return val;

I like this because it reduces nesting and acts as a barrier to people over-complicating a function. I mean that if the function ends up having to re-use a negated form of one of the earlier conditions or have a separate set of nested ifs after the guard conditions, then it's a big smelly smell and should be moved to its own function instead.

Also, if you think about it in terms of human experience, it's how we work. If you're tending a patch of garden, you don't think about what category of flower you're looking at and cross-reference it in a book if it's obviously a weed.

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