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Difference between undefined and null

Today we are gonna talk about the famous question in Javascript which all of us must have faced in interview.

The difference between undefined and null.

But before we talk about their differences, lets first think, why are we comparing undefined and null and why not undefined and string or string and null?

So there must be something common,in general, between undefined and null. And that commonality is both of have them represents NO VALUE for the variable.

You can also call this NO VALUE as void or empty.

So basically when we say as variable is undefined or null that mean the value doesn't exist for the variable. Lets see how is it so.

1.   undefined == null     // true, so the value is same

Now lets check each one of them.First lets talk about undefined.

When do we get this undefined? Generally when we declare a variable but doesn't initialise it we get undefined. e.g

1.   var foo;
2.   console.log(foo);   // undefined

Also when we try to access a variable before its initialisation. e.g.

1.   console.log(foo);   //undefined
2.   var foo = 5;

NOTE: In the above example, undefined is due to hoisting. Checkout the hoisting article.

Also there is one more scenario,

1.   var man = {name: "Alex", age: 27};
2.   console.log(man["working"]);   // undefined

here we get undefined because the property "working doesn't exist for "man" object.

So conclusion from the above examples is undefined is something that is assigned by Javascript engine to represent NO VALUE and not by the programmer.

Now let see null, null is something that is not assigned by Javascript engine,it is something that is assigned by the programmer. e.g.

1.   var foo = null;
2.   console.log(foo);  // null

Second difference between undefined and null is related to there datatype

1.   var foo;
2.   console.log(typeof foo);   // undefined
3.   var bar =null;
4.   console.log(typeof bar);   // object

from the above example we can say, the datatype of undefined is undefined whereas datatype of null is object. 

So from the above conclusion we can draw that if we compare undefined and null with === we will get false

1.   undefined == null    // true


1.   undefined === null  // false


1.   typeof undefined    //  undefined
2.   typeof null         //   object

isNan(1 + undefined)   //   true
isNan(1 + null)        //   false

Comment your questions,if any.

Thank you


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