Friday, August 29, 2008

OrElse and AndAlso operators in VB .NET

OrElse and AndAlso are two new logical operators in VB .NET and they have some properties that can enhance your codes in two general categories:

1. Avoid executing part of a logical expression.
2. Optimize code by not executing any more of a compound expression than required.

OrElse and AndAlso are quite similar with the And and Or except that VB .NET supports short-circuiting with the OrElse and AndAlso operators. This means that the expressions will only be executed when necessary. Anyway, the And and Or are still present in VB .NET.

For example:
// Assume that str1 = 5,
// x = 1 and y = 1

If x > str1 And y < str1 Then

' code
End If

When performing an And operator in VB .NET, it actually evaluates both of the expressions to get the final outcome. Even the first condition (x greater than str1) returns as FALSE, it still continues to look at the second argument even though it doesn’t need to.

Let’s see how AndAlso evaluates the codes below.

If x > str1 AndAlso y < str1 Then
' code
End If

When using AndAlso, VB .NET knows that the expression will not succeed once it is determined that the first condition (x greater than str1) is FALSE. So it stops evaluating the expression right away without checking the second condition.

The difference of Or and OrElse are also similar to And and AndAlso operator, which Or will check all the conditions and OrElse won’t checking the remaining expression, if it found any of the previous condition is TRUE.

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