What in C# are Nullable Types?

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When working with C#, developers frequently run into situations where a variable or property has to indicate that there isn't a value. Value types had historically been unable to store null values, but this restriction has been tastefully overcome with the advent of nullable types. Through example code snippets, we will delve into the uses of nullable types in C# as we study the idea in this article.

C# Nullable Types
A value type that has the ability to receive a null value is called a nullable type. Appending? to the underlying value type in C# creates nullable types. An example of a nullable integer is int?
Declaring Types That Are Null

First, let's declare a few nullable types and examine how they behave.

// Nullable integer
int? nullableInt = null;
Console.WriteLine($"Nullable Int: {nullableInt}");

// Nullable double
double? nullableDouble = 3.14;
Console.WriteLine($"Nullable Double: {nullableDouble}");

// Nullable boolean
bool? nullableBool = true;
We declare nullable variables for int, double, and bool in the example above. These variables can take null as a valid value thanks to the?

Checking for Nullability

To determine if a nullable type has a value or is null, the HasValue property and the == null comparison can be used.

int? nullableNumber = 42;

if (nullableNumber.HasValue)
    Console.WriteLine($"Value is: {nullableNumber.Value}");
    Console.WriteLine("Value is null.");

Coalescing Operator (??) for Default Values

The coalescing operator (??) is useful for providing a default value if a nullable type is null.

int? nullableValue = null;
int result = nullableValue ?? 10;

Console.WriteLine($"Result: {result}");

Nullable Types in Method Parameters

Nullable types are often used in method parameters when a method should accept either a value or null.

void PrintNumber(int? number)
    if (number.HasValue)
        Console.WriteLine($"Number is: {number.Value}");
        Console.WriteLine("Number is null.");

// Usage

Nullable Types with Database Operations

Nullable types are frequently employed in scenarios involving database operations where a database column allows null.

// Simulating a database record
class Person
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }
    public int? Age { get; set; }

// Usage
Person person1 = new Person { Id = 1, Name = "John", Age = 30 };
Person person2 = new Person { Id = 2, Name = "Jane", Age = null };

Console.WriteLine($"{person1.Name}'s Age: {person1.Age}");
Console.WriteLine($"{person2.Name}'s Age: {(person2.Age.HasValue ? person2.Age.Value.ToString() : "Not specified")}");


In C#, nullable types offer a strong way to deal with situations when a value might not exist. Nullable types improve the expressiveness and flexibility of the language when it comes to database operations, method parameters, and default values.

Adding nullable types to your C# toolkit allows you to write more expressive and reliable code that makes sure your apps can handle missing data gracefully when it happens. Have fun with coding!

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