javascript – How to compare variables to undefined, if I don’t know whether they exist?-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

In JavaScript you can declare a variable and if it’s undefined, you can check variable == undefined; I know that, but how can you compare a value that you don’t know yet if it’s in memory?

For example, I have a class which is created when the user clicks a button. Before this, the class is undefined — it doesn’t exist anywhere; how can I compare it?

Is there a way without using trycatch?

How to solve:

The best way is to check the type, because undefined/null/false are a tricky thing in JS.

if(typeof obj !== "undefined") {
    // obj is a valid variable, do something here.

Note that typeof always returns a string, and doesn’t generate an error if the variable doesn’t exist at all.


if (obj === undefined)
    // Create obj

If you are doing extensive javascript programming you should get in the habit of using === and !== when you want to make a type specific check.

Also if you are going to be doing a fair amount of javascript, I suggest running code through JSLint it might seem a bit draconian at first, but most of the things JSLint warns you about will eventually come back to bite you.


if (document.getElementById('theElement')) // do whatever after this

For undefined things that throw errors, test the property name of the parent object instead of just the variable name – so instead of:

if (blah) ...


if (window.blah) ...


!undefined is true in javascript, so if you want to know whether your variable or object is undefined and want to take actions, you could do something like this:

if(<object or variable>) {
     //take actions if object is not undefined
} else {
     //take actions if object is undefined


if (!obj) {
    // object (not class!) doesn't exist yet
else ...

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