5 snippets to differentiate undefined and omitted values in javascript

5 snippets to differentiate undefined and omitted values in javascript

In Javascript, in general, to check if a variable is undefined or omitted, we usually use typeof x === 'undefined'. However, sometimes you need to go further and differentiate these two cases, that if a variable is assigned with the undefined value or is omitted/absent.

This post shows several ways to distinguish between the undefined and omitted variables in several situations. Suppose that in all these situations, the key is already tested with typeof ... === 'undefined'. We only focus on distinguish between the omitted value and the undefined value.

Check a variable

Use the following snippet to check if the variable x is not defined or defined with the value undefined.

const check = () => x
let isOmitted = true
try {
  isOmitted = false
} catch {}

Check a key in an object

To check if a key key exist in an object obj ( {} => no, {key: undefined} => yes)

  • Method 1: use Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(obj, 'key') (or obj.hasOwnProperty('key')). This returns true if the value at 'key' is not omitted.
  • Method 2: ({...{key: 1}, ...obj}).key === undefined is true if and only if key is presented with the undefined value in obj.
  • Method 3: 'key' in obj returns true iff 'key' key exists in obj.

Check a value in an array

Use array.length, Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty, array.includes.

// use arr.length
[].length === 0 // true
[undefined].length === 1 // true

// use hasownProperty
const arr = []
arr[1] = undefined
Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty(arr, 0) // false
Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty(arr, 1) // true

// use arr.includes
[].includes() // false
[].includes(undefined) // false
[undefined].includes() // true
[undefined].includes(undefined) // true

Check function parameters

To check if a parameter is not provided or passed with the undefined value.

Use variadic function parameters and check the position.

const func = (...params) => params.length === 1
// or
// const func = (...params) => Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty(params, 0)
// or
// const func = function(){ return Object.prorotype.hasOwnProperty(parameters, 0) }

func() // returns false
func(undefined) // returns true
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