Short-Circuiting Operators (AndAlso - OrElse)

Syntax

  • result = expression1 AndAlso expression2
  • result = expression1 OrElse expression2

Parameters

ParameterDetails
resultRequired. Any Boolean expression. The result is the Boolean result of comparison of the two expressions.
expression1Required. Any Boolean expression.
expression2Required. Any Boolean expression.

Remarks

'AndAlso' and 'OrElse' are ShortCircuiting operators that means that the execution is shorter because the compiler doesn't evaluate all the expressions in a boolean comparision if the first one provides the desidered result.

AndAlso Usage

' Sometimes we don't need to evaluate all the conditions in an if statement's boolean check.

' Let's suppose we have a list of strings:

Dim MyCollection as List(Of String) = New List(of String)()

' We want to evaluate the first value inside our list:

If MyCollection.Count > 0 And MyCollection(0).Equals("Somevalue")
    Console.WriteLine("Yes, I've found Somevalue in the collection!")
End If 

' If MyCollection is empty, an exception will be thrown at runtime.
' This because it evaluates both first and second condition of the 
' if statement regardless of the outcome of the first condition.

' Now let's apply the AndAlso operator

If MyCollection.Count > 0 AndAlso MyCollection(0).Equals("Somevalue")
    Console.WriteLine("Yes, I've found Somevalue in the collection!")
End If 

' This won't throw any exception because the compiler evaluates just the first condition.
' If the first condition returns False, the second expression isn't evaluated at all.

Avoiding NullReferenceException

7.0

OrElse

Sub Main()
    Dim elements As List(Of Integer) = Nothing

    Dim average As Double = AverageElementsOrElse(elements)
    Console.WriteLine(average) ' Writes 0 to Console

    Try
        'Throws ArgumentNullException
        average = AverageElementsOr(elements)
    Catch ex As ArgumentNullException
        Console.WriteLine(ex.Message)
    End Try
End Sub

Public Function AverageElementsOrElse(ByVal elements As IEnumerable(Of Integer)) As Double
    ' elements.Count is not called if elements is Nothing so it cannot crash
    If (elements Is Nothing OrElse elements.Count = 0) Then
        Return 0
    Else
        Return elements.Average()
    End If
End Function

Public Function AverageElementsOr(ByVal elements As IEnumerable(Of Integer)) As Double
    ' elements.Count is always called so it can crash if elements is Nothing
    If (elements Is Nothing Or elements.Count = 0) Then
        Return 0
    Else
        Return elements.Average()
    End If
End Function
7.0

AndAlso

Sub Main()
    Dim elements As List(Of Integer) = Nothing

    Dim average As Double = AverageElementsAndAlso(elements)
    Console.WriteLine(average) ' Writes 0 to Console

    Try
        'Throws ArgumentNullException
        average = AverageElementsAnd(elements)
    Catch ex As ArgumentNullException
        Console.WriteLine(ex.Message)
    End Try
End Sub

Public Function AverageElementsAndAlso(ByVal elements As IEnumerable(Of Integer)) As Double
    ' elements.Count is not called if elements is Nothing so it cannot crash
    If (Not elements Is Nothing AndAlso elements.Count > 0) Then
        Return elements.Average()
    Else
        Return 0
    End If
End Function

Public Function AverageElementsAnd(ByVal elements As IEnumerable(Of Integer)) As Double
    ' elements.Count is always called so it can crash if elements is Nothing
    If (Not elements Is Nothing And elements.Count > 0) Then
        Return elements.Average()
    Else
        Return 0
    End If
End Function
14.0

Visual Basic 14.0 introduced the null conditional operator, allowing to rewrite the functions in a cleaner way, mimicking the behavior of the AndAlso version of the example.

OrElse Usage

' The OrElse operator is the homologous of AndAlso. It lets us perform a boolean 
' comparison evaluating the second condition only if the first one is False

If testFunction(5) = True OrElse otherFunction(4) = True Then
    ' If testFunction(5) is True, otherFunction(4) is not called.
    ' Insert code to be executed.
End If