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PHP: Conditional Statements

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Sometimes when you write code, you want to perform different actions for different decisions. You can use conditional statements in your code to do this. Conditional statements are the set of commands used to perform different actions based on different conditions. In this tutorial we will look at two structures: if...else and switch statements. Both perform in saw way the same task.

If ... Else Statement

The If Statement is a way to make decisions based upon the result of a condition. For example, you might have a script that checks if boolean value is true or false, if variable contains number or string value, if an object is empty or populated, etc. The condition can be anything you choose, and you can combine conditions together to make for actions that are more complicated.

Use the if statement to execute a statement if a logical condition is true. Use the optional else clause to execute a statement if the condition is false. The syntax for If statement looks as follows:

if (condition) {
   statements_1
} else {
   statements_2
}

Condition can be any expression that evaluates to true or false. If condition evaluates to true, statements_1 are executed; otherwise, statements_2 are executed. statement_1 and statement_2 can be any statement, including further nested if statements.

You may also compound the statements using elseif to have multiple conditions tested in sequence. You should use this construction if you want to select one of many sets of lines to execute.

if (condition_1) {
   statement_1
}
[elseif (condition_2) {
   statement_2
}]
...
[elseif (condition_n_1) {
   statement_n_1
}]
[else {
   statement_n
}]

Let's have a look at the examples. The first example decides whether a student has passed an exam with a pass mark of 57:

<?php
$result = 70;

if ($result >= 57) {
    echo "Pass <br />";
}
else {
    echo "Fail <br />";
}
?>

Next example use the elseif variant on the if statement. This allows us to test for other conditions if the first one wasn't true. The program will test each condition in sequence until:

  • It finds one that is true. In this case it executes the code for that condition.
  • It reaches an else statement. In which case it executes the code in the else statement.
  • It reaches the end of the if ... elseif ... else structure. In this case it moves to the next statement after the conditional structure.

<?php
$result = 70;

if ($result >= 75) { 
    echo "Passed: Grade A <br />";
}
elseif ($result >= 60) {
    echo "Passed: Grade B <br />";
}
elseif ($result >= 45) {
    echo "Passed: Grade C <br />";
}
else {
    echo "Failed <br />";
}
?>

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Switch Statement

Switch statements work the same as if statements. However the difference is that they can check for multiple values. Of course you do the same with multiple if..else statements, but this is not always the best approach.

A switch statement allows a program to evaluate an expression and attempt to match the expression's value to a case label. If a match is found, the program executes the associated statement. The syntax for the switch statement as follows:

switch (expression) {
   case label_1:
      statements_1
      [break;]
   case label_2:
      statements_2
      [break;]
   ...
   default:
     statements_n
     [break;]
}

The program first looks for a case clause with a label matching the value of expression and then transfers control to that clause, executing the associated statements. If no matching label is found, the program looks for the optional default clause, and if found, transfers control to that clause, executing the associated statements. If no default clause is found, the program continues execution at the statement following the end of switch. Use break to prevent the code from running into the next case automatically.

Let's consider an example:

<?php
$flower = "rose";

switch ($flower)
{
  case "rose" : 
     echo $flower." costs $2.50";
     break;
  case "daisy" : 
     echo $flower." costs $1.25";
     break;
  case "orchild" : 
     echo $flower." costs $1.50";
     break;
  default : 
     echo "There is no such flower in our shop";
     break;
}
?>

However, in addition to simple equality you can also test the expression for other conditions, such as greater than and less than relationships. The expression you are testing against must be repeated in the case statement. Have a look at the example:

<?php
$myNumber = 5;

switch ($myNumber) {
  case 0:
    echo "Zero is not a valid value.";
    break;
  case $myNumber < 0:
    echo "Negative numbers are not allowed.";
    break;
  default:
    echo "Great! Ready to make calculations.";
    break;
}
?>

If an expression successfully evaluates to the values specified in more than one case statement, only the first one encountered will be executed. Once a match is made, PHP stops looking for more matches.

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Type conversion rules to Boolean

  1. When converting to Boolean, the following values are considered FALSE:
    • boolean False
    • integer zero (0)
    • double zero (0.0)
    • empty string and string "0"
    • array with no elements
    • object with no elements
    • special value NULL
  2. Every other value is considered TRUE.

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