disallow nested ternary expressions (no-nested-ternary)

2 min read
JSTypeScriptClean CodeTernary Operator

We usually use ternary operator as a shortcut for if statement, For instance, in React applications we can use them to conditionally rendering elements inline:

<div>{isLoggedIn ? <MainLayout /> : <LandingPage />}</div>

It's great until it's not. Let me give you an example, I had written the following piece of code in one of our projects:

const jsonResult = {
  schedule: [
    {
      // lots of other props
      ...(recipeElement.Repeat
        ? {
            hour: `${fromTime[0]}-${toTime[0]}`,
            minutes: `*/${frequency[1]}`,
          }
        : {
            hour: fromTime[0],
            minutes: fromTime[1],
          }),
    },
  ],
}

I was asked to change the code a little bit and add something on top of it:

const hourRangeSegements = `${fromTime[0]}-${endTime[0]}`
const jsonResult = {
  schedule: [
    {
      // lots of other props
      ...(recipeElement.Repeat
        ? frequency[0] === "00"
          ? {
              hour: timeSegements,
              minutes: `*/${frequency[1]}`,
            }
          : {
              hour: timeSegements,
            }
        : {
            hour: fromTime[0],
            minutes: fromTime[1],
          }),
    },
  ],
}

As you can see the nested ternary operator is not readable (I know it's called chained ternaries I just don't like them). Of course the code worked as expected but I didn't like it so I tried to change it to something like this:

const hourRangeSegements = `${fromTime[0]}-${endTime[0]}`
const jsonResult = {
  schedule: [
    {
      // lots of other props
      ...(recipeElement.Repeat
        ? {
            hour: timeSegements,
            ...(frequency[0] === "00" ? { minutes: `*/${frequency[1]}` } : {}),
          }
        : {
            hour: fromTime[0],
            minutes: fromTime[1],
          }),
    },
  ],
}

A bit better, right? but it's still nested. Let's try something else:

const hourRangeSegements = `${fromTime[0]}-${endTime[0]}`
const jsonResult = {
  schedule: [
    {
      // lots of other props
      ...(() => {
        // You can also use switch/case if you want to

        if (!recipeElement.Repeat) {
          return {
            hour: fromTime[0],
            minutes: fromTime[1],
          }
        }

        if (frequency[0] === "00") {
          return {
            hour: timeSegements,
            minutes: `*/${frequency[1]}`,
          }
        }

        return {
          hour: timeSegements,
        }
      })(),
    },
  ],
}

As you can see I completely got rid of the ternary operators and replaced it with an IIFE. It's a bit long-winded but much better in terms of code readability. I know I could have moved it to a new function I didn't want to, for two main reason:

  • I am a lazy developer 😁
  • That's the only place where I use that logic (in terms of code reusability)

Let's do another small improvement, Shall we?

I'm not saying I'm against using ternary operators, My point being is that using chained ternaries makes our code difficult to read, So I merged the last two return statments:

const hourRangeSegements = `${fromTime[0]}-${endTime[0]}`
const jsonResult = {
  schedule: [
    {
      // lots of other props
      ...(() => {
        // You can also use switch/case if you want to

        if (!recipeElement.Repeat) {
          return {
            hour: fromTime[0],
            minutes: fromTime[1],
          }
        }

        return {
          hour: timeSegements,
          ...(frequency[0] === "00" ? { minutes: `*/${frequency[1]}` } : {}),
        }
      })(),
    },
  ],
}

You might say, well, we don't need that long-winded IIFE we can just merge them all together:

const hourRangeSegements = `${fromTime[0]}-${endTime[0]}`
const jsonResult = {
  schedule: [
    {
      // lots of other props
      ...{
        hour: recipeElement.Repeat ? timeSegements : { hour: fromTime[0] },
        ...(frequency[0] === "00"
          ? { minutes: `*/${frequency[1]}` }
          : { minutes: fromTime[1] }),
      },
    },
  ],
}

But again it's not readable.