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Optional values

Option values are created using the Option type, defined in the std::option module. The Option type is an object that can either wrap a value, in which case it's called a "Some", or signal the lack of a value, in which case it's called a "None". You can create such values as follows:


The type signature of an Option is Option!(T) where T is the type that's wrapped when present. Since the Option type is such a commonly used type, Inko provides syntax sugar to safe you some typing: ?T. It's recommended that you use ?T instead of Option!(T).

Getting Option values

An Option is its own object that wraps a value (if present). To use that value, you must explicitly get it from the wrapping Option. You can do this using Option.get:

let x = Option.some(10)

x.get # => 10

This method panics when used on a "None". There are two methods you can use to provide a default value, in case the Option is a "none":

  • Option.get_or
  • Option.get_or_else

The method get_or takes an argument, evaluates it, and returns it if the Option is a "None". The method get_or_else takes a closure, and evaluates it when the Option is a "None":

Option.none.get_or(0)         # => 0
Option.none.get_or_else { 0 } # => 0

If the default value is already defined (e.g. it's just a variable), it's recommended to use get_or. If the default should only be evaluated if the Option is a "None", the use of get_or_else is recommended. For example, if the default value is the contents of a file that has yet to be read, it's best to use get_or_else instead of get.

Mapping Option values

Sometimes an Option needs to be converted into another Option, such as converting a Option!(Integer) into an Option!(String). This can be done using and Option.then. takes a closure that returns a value. If the Option is a "Some", returns a new Option wrapping the returned value. If the Option is a "None", another "None" is returned:

Option.some(10).map do (num) { num * 2 }      # => Option.some(20) do (num: Integer) { num * 2 } # => Option.none

Option.then is similar, except its closure returns an Option. For a "Some", that Option is returned, otherwise a "None" is returned:

Option.some(10).then do (num) { Option.some(num * 2) }      # => Option.some(20)
Option.none.then do (num: Integer) { Option.some(num * 2) } # => Option.none

Comparing Option values

The Option type implements the Equal trait, allowing you to compare it to other Option objects that wrap a value of the same type:

Option.some(10) == Option.some(10) # => True
Option.some(10) == Option.some(20) # => False
Option.some(10) == Option.none     # => False

Option truthyness

An Option is considered to be True if it's a "Some", otherwise it's considered as False:

Option.some(10).if(true: { 10 }, false: { 20 }) # => 10
Option.none.if(true: { 10 }, false: { 20 })     # => 20