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Comparing to null

Posted on 2003-11-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-15
how do i say

x != null in C?

and what is the equivilant of the correct statement in C#?

Question by:Mike Miller
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LVL 46

Expert Comment

by:Kent Olsen
ID: 9702823

C is quite versatile here:

if (x != NULL)

is the same as saying

if (x)


Author Comment

by:Mike Miller
ID: 9702852
what if x = 0?

Expert Comment

ID: 9703022
If your question is
"How will I check if x's value is zero?"
then adding an else construct to what Kdo had written would handle it.

If your question is
"What if i just say   if ( x = 0) ?"
Then 0 will be assigned to the variable x and the expression would be evaluated as the value of x, which will become zero in this case and the statements falling under if will not get executed.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 9703177
Here's is the explanation

As Kent said

if ( x != NULL )  {
  // some code

is same as saying

if ( x ) {
  // some code

Now it depends on your requirement. If u want that only if x has some non-zero value should some code be executed, then
the above 'if' would handle both the conditions [for NULL as well for 0] i.e. the above 'if' would execute the //some code part only if x has some value other than 0 [non-zero] and it is not NULL

If u want to handle a separate case for 0, then u would have to use the comparison operator ==
U can say

if ( x == 0 ){
// some code

this would check if x is 0, if yes, then it would execute some code part

U can obviously combine the above two conditions

LVL 46

Accepted Solution

Kent Olsen earned 300 total points
ID: 9703702

For all intents and purposes, NULL is zero.  (There may be size differences or casting differences but NULL is zero.)

So adding one more "is the same as"

if ( x != NULL )  {
  // some code

is the same as

if (x != 0) {
  // some code

is same as

if ( x ) {
  // some code

You needn't worry about this, but on some compilers the last example is the most efficient.  The compiler will simply test whether the value of x is zero.

The other examples all produce LOGICAL expressions.  The test in "if (x == NULL)" is a logical test.  A logical test always produced a 1 or 0 answer so the compiler will first evaluate "x == NULL" as a logical expression and convert it to 1 or 0.  The if () will then test whether the value is zero.  This process requires an extra step and a couple more instructions.

Of course, if your compile options include code optimization, then the compiler may reduce all of the tests above to a single instruction.

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 9707641
> what if x = 0?

NULL is usually defined as (void *)0

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