triple - not not operator javascript




What is the !!(not not) operator in JavaScript? (20)

I saw some code that seems to use an operator I don't recognize, in the form of two exclamation points, like so: !!. Can someone please tell me what this operator does?

The context in which I saw this was,

this.vertical = vertical !== undefined ? !!vertical : this.vertical;

! is "boolean not", which essentially typecasts the value of "enable" to its boolean opposite. The second ! flips this value. So, !!enable means "not not enable," giving you the value of enable as a boolean.


!! converts the value to the right of it to its equivalent boolean value. (Think poor man's way of "type-casting"). Its intent is usually to convey to the reader that the code does not care what value is in the variable, but what it's "truth" value is.


!! it's using NOT operation twice together, ! convert the value to a boolean and reverse it, here is a simple example to see how !! works:

At first, place you have:

var zero = 0;

Then you do !0, it will be converted to boolean and be evaluated to true, because 0 is falsy, so you get the reversed value and converted to boolean, so it gets evaluated to true.

!zero; //true

but we don't want the reversed boolean version of the value, so we can reverse it again to get our result! That's why we use another !.

Basically, !! make us sure, the value we get is boolean, not falsy, truthy or string etc...

So it's like using Boolean function in javascript, but easy and shorter way to convert a value to boolean:

var zero = 0;
!!zero; //false

!!expr returns a Boolean value (true or false) depending on the truthiness of the expression. It makes more sense when used on non-boolean types. Consider these examples, especially the 3rd example and onward:

          !!false === false
           !!true === true

              !!0 === false
!!parseInt("foo") === false // NaN is falsy
              !!1 === true
             !!-1 === true  // -1 is truthy

             !!"" === false // empty string is falsy
          !!"foo" === true  // non-empty string is truthy
        !!"false" === true  // ...even if it contains a falsy value

     !!window.foo === false // undefined is falsy
           !!null === false // null is falsy

             !!{} === true  // an (empty) object is truthy
             !![] === true  // an (empty) array is truthy; PHP programmers beware!

!!x is shorthand for Boolean(x)

The first bang forces the js engine to run Boolean(x) but also has the side effect of inverting the value. So the second bang undoes the side effect.


Brew some tea:

!! is not an operator. It is the double-use of ! -- which is the logical "not" operator.


In theory:

! determines the "truth" of what a value is not:

  • The truth is that false is not true (that's why !false results in true)

  • The truth is that true is not false (that's why !true results in false)


!! determines the "truth" of what a value is not not:

  • The truth is that true is not not true (that's why !!true results in true)

  • The truth is that false is not not false (that's why !!false results in false)


What we wish to determine in the comparison is the "truth" about the value of a reference, not the value of the reference itself. There is a use-case where we might want to know the truth about a value, even if we expect the value to be false (or falsey), or if we expect the value not to be typeof boolean.


In practice:

Consider a concise function which detects feature functionality (and in this case, platform compatibility) by way of dynamic typing (aka "duck typing"). We want to write a function that returns true if a user's browser supports the HTML5 <audio> element, but we don't want the function to throw an error if <audio> is undefined; and we don't want to use try ... catch to handle any possible errors (because they're gross); and also we don't want to use a check inside the function that won't consistently reveal the truth about the feature (for example, document.createElement('audio') will still create an element called <audio> even if HTML5 <audio> is not supported).


Here are the three approaches:

// this won't tell us anything about HTML5 `<audio>` as a feature
var foo = function(tag, atr) { return document.createElement(tag)[atr]; }

// this won't return true if the feature is detected (although it works just fine)
var bar = function(tag, atr) { return !document.createElement(tag)[atr]; }

// this is the concise, feature-detecting solution we want
var baz = function(tag, atr) { return !!document.createElement(tag)[atr]; }

foo('audio', 'preload'); // returns "auto"
bar('audio', 'preload'); // returns false
baz('audio', 'preload'); // returns true

Each function accepts an argument for a <tag> and an attribute to look for, but they each return different values based on what the comparisons determine.

But wait, there's more!

Some of you probably noticed that in this specific example, one could simply check for a property using the slightly more performant means of checking if the object in question has a property. There are two ways to do this:

// the native `hasOwnProperty` method
var qux = function(tag, atr) { return document.createElement(tag).hasOwnProperty(atr); }

// the `in` operator
var quux = function(tag, atr) { return atr in document.createElement(tag); }

qux('audio', 'preload');  // returns true
quux('audio', 'preload'); // returns true

We digress...

However rare these situations may be, there may exist a few scenarios where the most concise, most performant, and thus most preferred means of getting true from a non-boolean, possibly undefined value is indeed by using !!. Hopefully this ridiculously clears it up.


Coerces oObject to boolean. If it was falsey (e.g. 0, null, undefined, etc.), it will be false, otherwise, true.

!oObject  //Inverted boolean
!!oObject //Non inverted boolean so true boolean representation

So !! is not an operator, it's just the ! operator twice.

Real World Example "Test IE version":

let isIE8 = false;  
isIE8 = !! navigator.userAgent.match(/MSIE 8.0/);  
console.log(isIE8); // returns true or false 

If you ⇒

console.log(navigator.userAgent.match(/MSIE 8.0/));  
// returns null  

but if you ⇒

console.log(!!navigator.userAgent.match(/MSIE 8.0/));  
// returns true or false

Double boolean negation. Often used to check if value is not undefined.


I suspect this is a leftover from C++ where people override the ! operator but not the bool operator.

So to get a negative(or positive) answer in that case you would first need to use the ! operator to get a boolean, but if you wanted to check the positive case would use !!.


I think worth mentioning is, that a condition combined with logical AND/OR will not return a boolean value but last success or first fail in case of && and first success or last fail in case of || of condition chain.

res = (1 && 2); // res is 2
res = (true && alert) // res is function alert()
res = ('foo' || alert) // res is 'foo'

In order to cast the condition to a true boolean literal we can use the double negation:

res = !!(1 && 2); // res is true
res = !!(true && alert) // res is true
res = !!('foo' || alert) // res is true

It seems that the !! operator results in a double negation.

var foo = "Hello World!";

!foo // Result: false
!!foo // Result: true

It simulates the behavior of the Boolean() casting function. The first NOT returns a Boolean value no matter what operand it is given. The second NOT negates that Boolean value and so gives the true Boolean value of a variable. The end result is the same as using the Boolean() function on a value.


It's a horribly obscure way to do a type conversion.

! is NOT. So !true is false, and !false is true. !0 is true, and !1 is false.

So you're converting a value to a boolean, then inverting it, then inverting it again.

// Maximum Obscurity:
val.enabled = !!userId;

// Partial Obscurity:
val.enabled = (userId != 0) ? true : false;

// And finally, much easier to understand:
val.enabled = (userId != 0);

It's just the logical NOT operator, twice - it's used to convert something to boolean, e.g.:

true === !!10

false === !!0

Returns boolean value of a variable.

Instead, Boolean class can be used.

(please read code descriptions)

var X = "test"; // X value is "test" as a String value
var booleanX = !!X // booleanX is `true` as a Boolean value beacuse non-empty strings evaluates as `true` in boolean
var whatIsXValueInBoolean = Boolean(X) // whatIsXValueInBoolean is `true` again
console.log(Boolean(X) === !!X) // writes `true`

Namely, Boolean(X) = !!X in use.

Please check code snippet out below

let a = 0
console.log("a: ", a) // writes a value in its kind
console.log("!a: ", !a) // writes '0 is NOT true in boolean' value as boolean - So that's true.In boolean 0 means false and 1 means true.
console.log("!!a: ", !!a) // writes 0 value in boolean. 0 means false.
console.log("Boolean(a): ", Boolean(a)) // equals to `!!a`
console.log("\n") // newline

a = 1
console.log("a: ", a)
console.log("!a: ", !a)
console.log("!!a: ", !!a) // writes 1 value in boolean
console.log("\n") // newline

a = ""
console.log("a: ", a)
console.log("!a: ", !a) // writes '"" is NOT true in boolean' value as boolean - So that's true.In boolean empty strings, null and undefined values mean false and if there is a string it means true.
console.log("!!a: ", !!a) // writes "" value in boolean
console.log("\n") // newline

a = "test"
console.log("a: ", a) // writes a value in its kind
console.log("!a: ", !a)
console.log("!!a: ", !!a) // writes "test" value in boolean

console.log("Boolean(a) === !!a: ", Boolean(a) === !!a) // writes true

So many answers doing half the work. Yes, !!X could be read as "the truthiness of X [represented as a boolean]". But !! isn't, practically speaking, so important for figuring out whether a single variable is (or even if many variables are) truthy or falsy. !!myVar === true is the same as just myVar. Comparing !!X to a "real" boolean isn't really useful.

What you gain with !! is the ability to check the truthiness of multiple variables against each other in a repeatable, standardized (and JSLint friendly) fashion.

Simply casting :(

That is...

  • 0 === false is false.
  • !!0 === false is true.

The above's not so useful. if (!0) gives you the same results as if (!!0 === false). I can't think of a good case for casting a variable to boolean and then comparing to a "true" boolean.

See "== and !=" from JSLint's directions (note: Crockford is moving his site around a bit; that link is liable to die at some point) for a little on why:

The == and != operators do type coercion before comparing. This is bad because it causes ' \t\r\n' == 0 to be true. This can mask type errors. JSLint cannot reliably determine if == is being used correctly, so it is best to not use == and != at all and to always use the more reliable === and !== operators instead.

If you only care that a value is truthy or falsy, then use the short form. Instead of
(foo != 0)

just say
(foo)

and instead of
(foo == 0)

say
(!foo)

Note that there are some unintuitive cases where a boolean will be cast to a number (true is cast to 1 and false to 0) when comparing a boolean to a number. In this case, !! might be mentally useful. Though, again, these are cases where you're comparing a non-boolean to a hard-typed boolean, which is, imo, a serious mistake. if (-1) is still the way to go here.

╔═══════════════════════════════════════╦═══════════════════╦═══════════╗
║               Original                ║    Equivalent     ║  Result   ║
╠═══════════════════════════════════════╬═══════════════════╬═══════════╣
║ if (-1 == true) console.log("spam")   ║ if (-1 == 1)      ║ undefined ║
║ if (-1 == false) console.log("spam")  ║ if (-1 == 0)      ║ undefined ║
║   Order doesn't matter...             ║                   ║           ║
║ if (true == -1) console.log("spam")   ║ if (1 == -1)      ║ undefined ║
╠═══════════════════════════════════════╬═══════════════════╬═══════════╣
║ if (!!-1 == true) console.log("spam") ║ if (true == true) ║ spam      ║ better
╠═══════════════════════════════════════╬═══════════════════╬═══════════╣
║ if (-1) console.log("spam")           ║ if (truthy)       ║ spam      ║ still best
╚═══════════════════════════════════════╩═══════════════════╩═══════════╝

And things get even crazier depending on your engine. WScript, for instance, wins the prize.

function test()
{
    return (1 === 1);
}
WScript.echo(test());

Because of some historical Windows jive, that'll output -1 in a message box! Try it in a cmd.exe prompt and see! But WScript.echo(-1 == test()) still gives you 0, or WScript's false. Look away. It's hideous.

Comparing truthiness :)

But what if I have two values I need to check for equal truthi/falsi-ness?

Pretend we have myVar1 = 0; and myVar2 = undefined;.

  • myVar1 === myVar2 is 0 === undefined and is obviously false.
  • !!myVar1 === !!myVar2 is !!0 === !!undefined and is true! Same truthiness! (In this case, both "have a truthiness of falsy".)

So the only place you'd really need to use "boolean-cast variables" would be if you had a situation where you're checking if both variables have the same truthiness, right? That is, use !! if you need to see if two vars are both truthy or both falsy (or not), that is, of equal (or not) truthiness.

I can't think of a great, non-contrived use case for that offhand. Maybe you have "linked" fields in a form?

if (!!customerInput.spouseName !== !!customerInput.spouseAge ) {
    errorObjects.spouse = "Please either enter a valid name AND age " 
        + "for your spouse or leave all spouse fields blank.";
}

So now if you have a truthy for both or a falsy for both spouse name and age, you can continue. Otherwise you've only got one field with a value (or a very early arranged marriage) and need to create an extra error on your errorObjects collection.


EDIT 24 Oct 2017:

3rd party libraries that expect explicit Boolean values

Here's an interesting case... !! might be useful when 3rd party libs expect explicit Boolean values.

For instance, False in JSX (React) has a special meaning that's not triggered on simple falsiness. If you tried returning something like the following in your JSX, expecting an int in messageCount...

{messageCount && <div>You have messages!</div>}

... you might be surprised to see React render a 0 when you have zero messages. You have to explicitly return false for JSX not to render. The above statement returns 0, which JSX happily renders, as it should. It can't tell you didn't have Count: {messageCount && <div>Get your count to zero!</div>} (or something less contrived).

  • One fix involves the bangbang, which coerces 0 into !!0, which is false:
    {!!messageCount && <div>You have messages!</div>}

  • JSX' docs suggest you be more explicit, write self-commenting code, and use a comparison to force to a Boolean.
    {messageCount > 0 && <div>You have messages!</div>}

  • I'm more comfortable handling falsiness myself with a ternary --
    {messageCount ? <div>You have messages!</div> : false}

Keep in mind that this is a JSX convention, not one inherent to JavaScript.

But if you see strange 0s in your rendered JSX, think loose falsy management.


The !! construct is a simple way of turning any JavaScript expression into its Boolean equivalent.

For example: !!"he shot me down" === true and !!0 === false.


The if and while statements and the ? operator use truth values to determine which branch of code to run. For example, zero and NaN numbers and the empty string are false, but other numbers and strings are true. Objects are true, but the undefined value and null are both false.

The double negation operator !! calculates the truth value of a value. It's actually two operators, where !!x means !(!x), and behaves as follows:

  • If x is a false value, !x is true, and !!x is false.
  • If x is a true value, !x is false, and !!x is true.

When used at the top level of a Boolean context (if, while, or ?), the !! operator is behaviorally a no-op. For example, if (x) and if (!!x) mean the same thing.

Practical uses

However it has several practical uses.

One use is to lossily compress an object to its truth value, so that your code isn't holding a reference to a big object and keeping it alive. Assigning !!some_big_object to a variable instead of some_big_object lets go of it for the garbage collector. This is useful for cases that produce either an object or a false value such as null or the undefined value, such as browser feature detection.

Another use, which I mentioned in an answer about C's corresponding !! operator, is with "lint" tools that look for common typos and print diagnostics. For example, in both C and JavaScript, a few common typos for Boolean operations produce other behaviors whose output isn't quite as Boolean:

  • if (a = b) is assignment followed by use of the truth value of b; if (a == b) is an equality comparison.
  • if (a & b) is a bitwise AND; if (a && b) is a logical AND. 2 & 5 is 0 (a false value); 2 && 5 is true.

The !! operator reassures the lint tool that what you wrote is what you meant: do this operation, then take the truth value of the result.

A third use is to produce logical XOR and logical XNOR. In both C and JavaScript, a && b performs a logical AND (true if both sides are true), and a & b performs a bitwise AND. a || b performs a logical OR (true if at least one are true), and a | b performs a bitwise OR. There's a bitwise XOR (exclusive OR) as a ^ b, but there's no built-in operator for logical XOR (true if exactly one side is true). You might, for example, want to allow the user to enter text in exactly one of two fields. What you can do is convert each to a truth value and compare them: !!x !== !!y.


Use logical not operator two times
it means !true= false
and !!true = true


here is a piece of code from angular js

var requestAnimationFrame = $window.requestAnimationFrame ||
                                $window.webkitRequestAnimationFrame ||
                                $window.mozRequestAnimationFrame;

 var rafSupported = !!requestAnimationFrame;

their intention is to set rafSupported to true or false based on the availability of function in requestAnimationFrame

it can be achieved by checking in following way in general:

if(typeof  requestAnimationFrame === 'function')
rafSupported =true;
else
rafSupported =false;

the short way could be using !!

rafSupported = !!requestAnimationFrame ;

so if requestAnimationFrame was assigned a function then !requestAnimationFrame would be false and one more ! of it would be true

if requestAnimationFrame was assinged undefined then !requestAnimationFrame would be true and one more ! of it would be false





operators