Home » c# » Nullable types: best way to check for null or zero in c#

Nullable types: best way to check for null or zero in c#

Posted by: admin November 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I’m working on a project where i find i’m checking for the following in many, many places:

if(item.Rate == 0 || item.Rate == null) { }

more as a curiousity than anything, what’s the best way to check for both cases?

I’ve added a helper method which is:

public static bool nz(object obj)
{
    var parsedInt = 0;
    var parsed = int.TryParse(obj.ToString(), out parsedInt);
    return IsNull(obj) || (parsed && parsedInt == 0);
}

Is there a better way?

Answers:

I like if ((item.Rate ?? 0) == 0) { }

Update 1:

You could also define an extension method like:

public static bool IsNullOrValue(this double? value, double valueToCheck)
{
    return (value??valueToCheck) == valueToCheck;
}

And use it like this:

if(item.IsNullOrValue(0)){} // but you don’t get much from it

Questions:
Answers:

Using generics:

static bool IsNullOrDefault<T>(T value)
{
    return object.Equals(value, default(T));
}

//...
double d = 0;
IsNullOrDefault(d); // true
MyClass c = null;
IsNullOrDefault(c); // true

If T it’s a reference type, value will be compared with null ( default(T) ), otherwise, if T is a value type, let’s say double, default(t) is 0d, for bool is false, for char is '\0' and so on…

Questions:
Answers:

Although I quite like the accepted answer, I think that, for completeness, this option should be mentioned as well:

if (item.Rate.GetValueOrDefault() == 0) { }

This solution


¹ This should not influence your decision, though, since these kinds of micro-optimization are unlikely to make any difference.

Questions:
Answers:

This is really just an expansion of Freddy Rios’ accepted answer only using Generics.

public static bool IsNullOrDefault<T>(this Nullable<T> value) where T : struct
{
    return default(T).Equals( value.GetValueOrDefault() );
}

public static bool IsValue<T>(this Nullable<T> value, T valueToCheck) where T : struct
{
    return valueToCheck.Equals((value ?? valueToCheck));
}

NOTE we don’t need to check default(T) for null since we are dealing with either value types or structs! This also means we can safely assume T valueToCheck will not be null; Remember here that T? is shorthand Nullable<T> so by adding the extension to Nullable<T> we get the method in int?, double?, bool? etc.

Examples:

double? x = null;
x.IsNullOrDefault(); //true

int? y = 3;
y.IsNullOrDefault(); //false

bool? z = false;
z.IsNullOrDefault(); //true

Questions:
Answers:

I agree with using the ?? operator.

If you’re dealing with strings use if(String.IsNullOrEmpty(myStr))

Questions:
Answers:

You code sample will fail. If obj is null then the obj.ToString() will result in a null reference exception. I’d short cut the process and check for a null obj at the start of your helper function. As to your actual question, what’s the type you’re checking for null or zero? On String there’s a great IsNullOrEmpty function, seems to me this would be a great use of extension methods to implement an IsNullOrZero method on the int? type.

Edit: Remember, the ‘?’ is just compiler sugar for the INullable type, so you could probably take an INullable as the parm and then jsut compare it to null (parm == null) and if not null compare to zero.

Questions:
Answers:
public static bool nz(object obj)
{
    return obj == null || obj.Equals(Activator.CreateInstance(obj.GetType()));
}

Questions:
Answers:

is there a better way?

Well, if you are really looking for a better way, you can probably add another layer of abstraction on top of Rate.
Well here is something I just came up with using Nullable Design Pattern.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

namespace NullObjectPatternTest
{
    public class Program
    {
        public static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var items = new List
                            {
                                new Item(RateFactory.Create(20)),
                                new Item(RateFactory.Create(null))
                            };

            PrintPricesForItems(items);
        }

        private static void PrintPricesForItems(IEnumerable items)
        {
            foreach (var item in items)
                Console.WriteLine("Item Price: {0:C}", item.GetPrice());
        }
    }

    public abstract class ItemBase
    {
        public abstract Rate Rate { get; }
        public int GetPrice()
        {
            // There is NO need to check if Rate == 0 or Rate == null
            return 1 * Rate.Value;
        }
    }

    public class Item : ItemBase
    {
        private readonly Rate _Rate;
        public override Rate Rate { get { return _Rate; } }
        public Item(Rate rate) { _Rate = rate; }
    }

    public sealed class RateFactory
    {
        public static Rate Create(int? rateValue)
        {
            if (!rateValue || rateValue == 0) 
                return new NullRate();
            return new Rate(rateValue);
        }
    }

    public class Rate
    {
        public int Value { get; set; }
        public virtual bool HasValue { get { return (Value > 0); } }
        public Rate(int value) { Value = value; }
    }

    public class NullRate : Rate
    {
        public override bool HasValue { get { return false; } }
        public NullRate() : base(0) { }
    }
}

Questions:
Answers:
class Item{  
 bool IsNullOrZero{ get{return ((this.Rate ?? 0) == 0);}}
}

Questions:
Answers:

Don’t forget, for strings, you can always use:

String.IsNullOrEmpty(str)

Instead of:

str==null || str==""