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What is the difference between JavaScript null, undefined and undeclared?

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What is the difference between JavaScript null, undefined and undeclared?

Alaster Wang's photo
Alaster Wang
·Jan 23, 2023·

2 min read

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The post was originally published on ExplainThis with title 《What is the difference between JavaScript null, undefined and undeclared?》

undefined means that the value has not yet been defined, so when a variable is declared but not assigned any value, the variable will be undefined, which can be understood as "not yet".

null represents the empty value of a variable, which can be understood as "nothing".

undefined and null in JavaScript, both belong to one of the primitive data types (primitive data types), just like any other data types (data types), such as: string, number, can be assigned to the variable. Both have different meanings in use.

For example, when the front-end wants to request data from the back-end, because it needs to wait for the data to be returned, a certain variable may be undefined at the beginning, and when the data comes back, it will change to this data type. In the following example, we have a variable users, define its type as UserDTO[] | undefined instead of UserDTO[] | null precisely because before getting the data, users is "Not yet".

type UserDTO = {
  id: string;
  firstName: string;
  lastName: string;
  profilePicture: string | null;
};

const users: UserDTO[] | undefined = await fetchUsers();

Vice versa, in the above example, when users is obtained, some users do not have a profile picture, because it is "none", so the type of profilePicture is string | null instead of string | undefined.

undeclared is often compared with undefined, undefined means that it has been declared as a defined value, but undeclared means that it has never been declared. When a variable has not been declared using var, let or const, if we try to call this variable, a ReferenceError error will be reported.

console.log(x); // Uncaught ReferenceError: x is not defined

 
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