Replace a value if null or undefined in JavaScript

I have a requirement to apply the ?? C# operator to JavaScript and I don't know how. Consider this in C#:

int i?=null;
int j=i ?? 10;//j is now 10

Now I have this set up in JavaScript:

var options={
var filter=options.filters[0]||'';//should get 'abc' here, it doesn't happen
var filter2=options.filters[1]||'';//should get empty string here, because there is only one filter

How do I do it correctly?


EDIT: I spotted half of the problem: I can't use the 'indexer' notation to objects (my_object[0]). Is there a way to bypass it? (I don't know the names of the filters properties beforehand and don't want to iterate over them).



Here’s the JavaScript equivalent:

var i = null;
var j = i || 10; //j is now 10

Note that the logical operator || does not return a boolean value but the first value that can be converted to true.

Additionally use an array of objects instead of one single object:

var options = {
    filters: [
            name: 'firstName',
            value: 'abc'
var filter  = options.filters[0] || '';  // is {name:'firstName', value:'abc'}
var filter2 = options.filters[1] || '';  // is ''

That can be accessed by index.


I spotted half of the problem: I can't use the 'indexer' notation to objects (my_object[0]). Is there a way to bypass it?

No; an object literal, as the name implies, is an object, and not an array, so you cannot simply retrieve a property based on an index, since there is no specific order of their properties. The only way to retrieve their values is by using the specific name:

var someVar = options.filters.firstName; //Returns 'abc'

Or by iterating over them using the for ... in loop:

for(var p in options.filters) {
    var someVar = options.filters[p]; //Returns the property being iterated

ES2020 Answer

The new Nullish Coalescing Operator, is finally available on JavaScript, though browser support is limited. According to the data from caniuse, only 48.34% of browsers are supported (as of April 2020).

According to the documentation,

The nullish coalescing operator (??) is a logical operator that returns its right-hand side operand when its left-hand side operand is null or undefined, and otherwise returns its left-hand side operand.

const options={
const filter = options.filters[0] ?? '';
const filter2 = options.filters[1] ?? '';

This will ensure that both of your variables will have a fallback value of '' if filters[0] or filters[1] are null, or undefined.

Do take note that the nullish coalescing operator does not return the default value for other types of falsy value such as 0 and ''. If you wish to account for all falsy values, you should be using the OR operator ||.


Logical nullish assignment, 2020+ solution

A new operator is currently being added to the browsers, ??=. This is equivalent to value = value ?? defaultValue.

||= and &&= are also coming, links below.

This checks if left side is undefined or null, short-circuiting if already defined. If not, the left side is assigned the right-side value.

Basic Examples

let a          // undefined
let b = null
let c = false

a ??= true  // true
b ??= true  // true
c ??= true  // false

// Equivalent to
a = a ?? true

Object/Array Examples

let x = ["foo"]
let y = { foo: "fizz" }

x[0] ??= "bar"  // "foo"
x[1] ??= "bar"  // "bar" ??= "buzz"  // "fizz" ??= "buzz"  // "buzz"

x  // Array [ "foo", "bar" ]
y  // Object { foo: "fizz", bar: "buzz" }

Functional Example

function config(options) {
    options.duration ??= 100
    options.speed ??= 25
    return options

config({ duration: 555 })   // { duration: 555, speed: 25 }
config({})                  // { duration: 100, speed: 25 }
config({ duration: null })  // { duration: 100, speed: 25 }

??= Browser Support July 2020 - .03%

??= Mozilla Documentation

||= Mozilla Documentation

&&= Mozilla Documentation


Destructuring solution

Question content may have changed, so I'll try to answer thoroughly.

Destructuring allows you to pull values out of anything with properties. You can also define default values when null/undefined and name aliases.

const options = {
    filters : {
        firstName : "abc"

const {filters: {firstName = "John", lastName = "Smith"}} = options

// firstName = "abc"
// lastName = "Smith"

NOTE: Capitalization matters

If working with an array, here is how you do it.

In this case, name is extracted from each object in the array, and given its own alias. Since the object might not exist = {} was also added.

const options = {
    filters: [{
        name: "abc",
        value: "lots"

const {filters:[{name : filter1 = "John"} = {}, {name : filter2 = "Smith"} = {}]} = options

// filter1 = "abc"
// filter2 = "Smith"

More Detailed Tutorial

Browser Support 92% July 2020


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