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When should you use the ternary operator in Swift?

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Updated for Xcode 14.2

The ternary operator lets us choose from one of two results based on a condition, and does so in a really concise way:

let isAuthenticated = true
print(isAuthenticated ? "Welcome!" : "Who are you?")

Some people rely very heavily on the ternary operator because it makes for very short code, whereas some stay away from it as much as possible because it can make code harder to read.

I’m very much in the “avoid where possible” camp because even though this code is longer I do find it easier to follow:

if isAuthenticated {
} else {
    print("Who are you?")

Now, there is one time when the ternary operator gets a lot of use and that’s with SwiftUI. I don’t want to give code examples here because it can be a bit overwhelming, but you can really go to town with the ternary operator there if you want to. Even then, I prefer to remove them when possible, to make my code easier to read, but you should try it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

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