Understanding of optional in swift


Why is there optional

There is no optional type in OC. All object variables in OC can be nil becausenilIs a typeless pointer. Dictionaries, arrays, and collections cannot be placed in OCnilnilIt can only be used on OC objects. Variables are not convenient to some extent, but they are different in swift. In swiftnilAnd in OCnilThere is a big difference. In OCnilIs a pointer to a nonexistent object, but in swift,nilIt is not a pointer, but a special type with missing value. Any type option can be set tonil. Therefore, in swift, the optional value can benil, to express the missing value of variables, which increases certain convenience.
In swift, we add?To represent an option, for example:

var name: String? = nil

Implementation of optional

Optional is actually an enumeration type. We can see from the code in the standard library

@frozen public enum Optional<Wrapped> : ExpressibleByNilLiteral {

    /// The absence of a value.
    /// In code, the absence of a value is typically written using the `nil`
    /// literal rather than the explicit `.none` enumeration case.
    case none

    /// The presence of a value, stored as `Wrapped`.
    case some(Wrapped)

    /// Creates an instance that stores the given value.
    public init(_ some: Wrapped)

This enumeration has two values. The code optional has two meanings

  • none
    Represents that the variable has no value, that isnil
  • some
    Represents that the variable has a value, and the value issomesomePacked actual value

If you get the actual value, or if you look at the code in the standard library,

    /// The wrapped value of this instance, unwrapped without checking whether
    /// the instance is `nil`.
    /// The `unsafelyUnwrapped` property provides the same value as the forced
    /// unwrap operator (postfix `!`). However, in optimized builds (`-O`), no
    /// check is performed to ensure that the current instance actually has a
    /// value. Accessing this property in the case of a `nil` value is a serious
    /// programming error and could lead to undefined behavior or a runtime
    /// error.
    /// In debug builds (`-Onone`), the `unsafelyUnwrapped` property has the same
    /// behavior as using the postfix `!` operator and triggers a runtime error
    /// if the instance is `nil`.
    /// The `unsafelyUnwrapped` property is recommended over calling the
    /// `unsafeBitCast(_:)` function because the property is more restrictive
    /// and because accessing the property still performs checking in debug
    /// builds.
    /// - Warning: This property trades safety for performance.  Use
    ///   `unsafelyUnwrapped` only when you are confident that this instance
    ///   will never be equal to `nil` and only after you've tried using the
    ///   postfix `!` operator.
    @inlinable public var unsafelyUnwrapped: Wrapped { get }

It is a defined get method. Optionl uses theunsafelyUnwrappedTo get the actual value, for example:

Var ddb: string= "Dongdong"
let ddbCount = ddb.unsafelyUnwrapped.count

This gives the actual value of the variable.

Use of optional

Implement an optional
Let ddb: optional<string> = "Dongdong"
//Var ddb: string= "Dongdong"

The options we implement in this way are actually added after the type of the annotation part?The implementation is exactly the same.

Optional unpacking

The optional items cannot be used directly. They can only be used after unpacking. Basically, there are the following unpacking methods

  • !Forced unpacking, for example:
let count = ddb!.count

Before forced unpacking, if you do not know whether it isnil, you need to perform non nil judgment protection on it first. Otherwise, if the forced unpacking fails, the program will report an error, as shown in the following code:

if ddb != nil {
    let count = ddb!.count

In this way, even if we use forced unpacking, its operation is still safe

  • ifJudge expansion, for example:
if ddb != nil {
    let count = ddb?.count
    print(count ?? 0)

Here we usea ?? bMerge null operatorsIf there is a value, thencount, if yesnil, the default0
There are two conditions for using the merge control operator:
1. expressionaMust be an optional type
2. expressionbMust andaIs the same everywhere

  • How to use optional binding
if let ddbStr = ddb {
    let count = ddbStr.count

Use the optional binding to determine whether the optional item has a value. If yes, assign it to a temporary variable. SameifThe statement can have multiple optional bindings, which can be separated by


Optional, is an enhanced version of the “non-existent” or “empty” concept. andnilIs the base version of “does not exist”
Introducing in swiftoptionalThe purpose of is to bind the concept of “nonexistence” to specific types.optional.nilIt refers to the “nonexistence” of the value, and indicates that if there is a value, it can only beoptional.some<T>The value space of all types is extended by nil.

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