In the previous article about The Manipulator, we discussed four JavaScript operators: assignment, arithmetic, logical and ternary operators. In this article we will address the rest four operators:

• Comparison operators
• Bitwise operators
• Relational operators
• Unary operators

As well as discuss the order in which all these operators are executed. Read on!

## Comparison operators

A comparison operator compares its operands and returns a Boolean value based on whether the comparison is true. However, the comparison operators are another way The Manipulator exercises his smartness. The fact is that you can compare different types of data and The Manipulator will still try to figure out a way to compare the values you provide. If the operands are of different type, they are generally compared numerically (converted to numbers and compared).

There are several comparison operators:

• Equal (==)
• Not equal (!=)
• Strict equal (===)
• Strict not equal (!==)
• Greater than (>)
• Greater than or equal (>=)
• Less than (<)
• Less than or equal (<=)

Let’s analyze them one by one.

### Equal (==) operator

If both operands are strings, they are compared each character at a time according to standard lexicographical ordering. The standard lexicographical ordering means that the capital letters precede all lowercase letters.

var str1 = 'abc';
str1 == 'Abc';  // false, the first letter differs


However, if the operand types differ, the equality operator converts the operands to the same type and then compares the values.

'12' == 12;         // true
true == 1;          // true
null == undefined;  // true
false == 0;         // true

// An exception is the null and the undefined values
null == false;      // false
null == 0;          // false
undefined == false; // false
undefined == 0;     // false
undefined == null;  // true

// Objects are compared by reference
{} == {};           // false
[1,2] == [1,2];     // false

// However, if an object is compared with a primitive, it is being converted to
// a primitive first.
var obj = {name: 'John', age: 22};
obj.valueOf = function () { return this.age; };
obj == 22;         // true

// The only primitive that is not equal to itself is the NaN value.
NaN == NaN;        // false


### Not equal (!=) operator

The not equal operator is the inverse of the equal operator. It still converts the type of the operands though.

'12' != 12;      // false, '12' == 12
true != 1;       // false, true == 1
false != true;   // true
{} != {};        // true, the references of these two objects are different
[1,2] != [1,2];  // true, the references of these two objects are different


### Strict equal (===) operator

The only difference of === operator from the == operator is the fact that the strict equal operator doesn’t convert the types of the operands. Therefore if the operands are of different types, this automatically means that the comparison will return false.

'12' === 12;    // false
true === 1;     // false
true === true;  // true
null === null;  // true
{} === {};      // false


### Strict not equal (!==) operator

The strict not equal operator compares if the values are different and the types are different.

'12' !== 12;    // true, the types are different
true !== 1;     // true, the types are different
true !== true;  // false, true is equal to true and operands are of the same type
null !== null;  // false, null is equal to null and operands are of the same type
{} !== {};      // true, these two objects have different references


### Less than (<) operator

The following operators (<, <=, >, >=) will all call the valueOf() function on each operand before a comparison is made. In case of a string compared to a number, the string will be converted using the methods from group B (Number or + unary operator).

The less than operator returns true if the left operand is less than the right operand.

'2' < 3;       // true,  because 2 < 3
2 < '2';       // false, because 2 == 2
false < true;  // true,  because 0 < 1
null < 2;      // true,  because 0 < 2

// In case any operand is converted to NaN, the result is always false, no matter
// the order of operands and the operator (<, <=, >, >=, ==, ===, !=, !==)
1 < '2a';      // false, because Number('2a') is NaN


However, in case two strings are compared, the comparison is made one character at a time, according to their lexicographic order.

Generally speaking, the lexicographic order is the “alphabet” of all the characters available to type, including numbers, special signs and other characters. As you already know, everything is stored as 0 and 1 inside our computers. Characters are not an exception. Moreover, each character can be “converted” to a number that reflects its order in the “alphabet”.

For instance, below are a sequence of common characters with their order:

DEC BIN Symbol Description
32 00100000   Space
33 00100001 ! Exclamation mark
34 00100010 Double quotes (or speech marks)
35 00100011 # Number
36 00100100 \$ Dollar
37 00100101 % Procenttecken
38 00100110 & Ampersand
39 00100111 Single quote
40 00101000 ( Open parenthesis (or open bracket)
41 00101001 ) Close parenthesis (or close bracket)
42 00101010 * Asterisk
43 00101011 + Plus
44 00101100 , Comma
45 00101101 - Hyphen
46 00101110 . Period, dot or full stop
47 00101111 / Slash or divide
48 00110000 0 Zero
49 00110001 1 One
50 00110010 2 Two
51 00110011 3 Three
52 00110100 4 Four
53 00110101 5 Five
54 00110110 6 Six
55 00110111 7 Seven
56 00111000 8 Eight
57 00111001 9 Nine
58 00111010 : Colon
59 00111011 ; Semicolon
60 00111100 < Less than (or open angled bracket)
61 00111101 = Equals
62 00111110 > Greater than (or close angled bracket)
63 00111111 ? Question mark
64 01000000 @ At symbol
65 01000001 A Uppercase A
66 01000010 B Uppercase B
67 01000011 C Uppercase C
68 01000100 D Uppercase D
69 01000101 E Uppercase E
70 01000110 F Uppercase F
71 01000111 G Uppercase G
72 01001000 H Uppercase H
73 01001001 I Uppercase I
74 01001010 J Uppercase J
75 01001011 K Uppercase K
76 01001100 L Uppercase L
77 01001101 M Uppercase M
78 01001110 N Uppercase N
79 01001111 O Uppercase O
80 01010000 P Uppercase P
81 01010001 Q Uppercase Q
82 01010010 R Uppercase R
83 01010011 S Uppercase S
84 01010100 T Uppercase T
85 01010101 U Uppercase U
86 01010110 V Uppercase V
87 01010111 W Uppercase W
88 01011000 X Uppercase X
89 01011001 Y Uppercase Y
90 01011010 Z Uppercase Z
91 01011011 [ Opening bracket
92 01011100 \ Backslash
93 01011101 ] Closing bracket
94 01011110 ^ Caret - circumflex
95 01011111 _ Underscore
96 01100000  Grave accent
97 01100001 a Lowercase a
98 01100010 b Lowercase b
99 01100011 c Lowercase c
100 01100100 d Lowercase d
101 01100101 e Lowercase e
102 01100110 f Lowercase f
103 01100111 g Lowercase g
104 01101000 h Lowercase h
105 01101001 i Lowercase i
106 01101010 j Lowercase j
107 01101011 k Lowercase k
108 01101100 l Lowercase l
109 01101101 m Lowercase m
110 01101110 n Lowercase n
111 01101111 o Lowercase o
112 01110000 p Lowercase p
113 01110001 q Lowercase q
114 01110010 r Lowercase r
115 01110011 s Lowercase s
116 01110100 t Lowercase t
117 01110101 u Lowercase u
118 01110110 v Lowercase v
119 01110111 w Lowercase w
120 01111000 x Lowercase x
121 01111001 y Lowercase y
122 01111010 z Lowercase z
123 01111011 { Opening brace
124 01111100 | Vertical bar
125 01111101 } Closing brace
126 01111110 ~ Equivalency sign - tilde

Therefore, when comparing two strings, the comparison takes place each character at a time, comparing the order of those characters.

// Below, first two characters are equal, but 'C' < 'c', as 'C' has the order 67
// and 'c' has 99. Thus 67 < 99, therefore 'abC' < 'abc'
'abC' < 'abc';   // true

// Here, the first characters are different, with 'A' having the order 65 and
// 'B' having the order 66. As 65 < 66, the comparison returns true
'Abra' < 'Bbra'; // true


### Less than or equal (<=) operator

The <= operator is similar to the < operator, except that it will return true if the operands are equal.

'abc' < 'abc';   // false
'abc' <= 'abc';  // true
2 <= 2;          // true


### Greater than (>) operator

The > operator returns true if the first operand is greater than the right operand.

3 > 2;         // true, 3 > 2
'4' > 1;       // true, 4 > 1
false > true;  // false, 0 < 1
'Z' > 'A';     // true, 90 > 65


### Greater than or equal (>=) operator

Finally, the >= operator returns true if the left operand is greater or equal to the right operand.

'2' >= 2;  // true, 2 == 2
4 >= 2;    // true, 4 > 2


## Bitwise operators

The operands of all bitwise operators are converted to signed 32-bit integers.

For example, the number 75 has the following binary representation: 00000000000000000000000001001011. Therefore, the binary operators operate namely on this representation and not on number 75.

You will rarely use bitwise operators, but it is worth knowing them.

### Bitwise AND (&)

The bitwise AND operator follows the classic AND rule, but is applied to each bit individually. This means that it returns a one in each bit position for which the corresponding bits of both operands are ones. For instance, 75 & 12 is computed as follows:

00000000000000000000000001001011  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 75
00000000000000000000000000001100  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 12
--------------------------------
00000000000000000000000000001000  // <- the result of 75 & 12 = 8


### Bitwise OR (|)

The bitwise OR operator returns a zero in each bit position for which the corresponding bits of both operands are zeros. Taking the same numbers 75 | 12 yields the following result:

00000000000000000000000001001011  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 75
00000000000000000000000000001100  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 12
--------------------------------
00000000000000000000000001001111  // <- the result of 75 | 12 = 79


### Bitwise XOR (^)

The bitwise XOR operator (Exclusive OR) returns a one in each bit position for which the corresponding bits are different. Taking 75 ^ 12 as an example:

00000000000000000000000001001011  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 75
00000000000000000000000000001100  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 12
--------------------------------
00000000000000000000000001000111  // <- the result of 75 ^ 12 = 71


### Bitwise NOT (~)

The bitwise NOT operator simply inverts the bits of its operand.

But before looking at an example, note that

00000000000000000000000001001011  // <- 32 bit binary representation of 75
--------------------------------
11111111111111111111111110110100  // <- the result of ~75 = -76


Now, this may seem surprisingly strange, as probably you have expected the negation of 75 to be -75. But if to convert the resulting binary representation to a decimal number, you will obtain -76. You know how to convert a positive binary number to decimal. But how to convert a negative binary number to decimal?

A negative number can be converted by taking the 1 before the first zero, raising 2 to the power of that one’s index, negating the result and adding all 2 to power’s of indexes of one bits.

In the case above we have the first zero at position 6.

//                      76543210  // <- indexes
11111111111111111111111110110100  // <- the result of ~75 = -76


Therefore, we take $-2^7$ and add all twos to power of indexes where the bits are one. In our case the indexes are: 5, 4 and 2.

### Left shift («)

This operator shifts the first operand the specified number of bits to the left. Excess bits shifted off to the left are discarded with zero bits shifted in from the right.

For example, 8 << 2 yields 32:

00000000000000000000000000001000  // 8 in binary
--------------------------------
00000000000000000000000000100000  // 8 << 2 = 32


### Sign-propagating right shift (»)

This operator shifts the first operand the specified number of bits to the right. The excess bits shifted off to the right are discarded, while copies of the leftmost bit are shifted in from the left. Namely this copying of the leftmost bit assures that the sign is preserved, hence the name “sign-propagating”.

Therefore, 8 >> 2 yields 2:

00000000000000000000000000001000 // 8 in binary
--------------------------------
00000000000000000000000000000010 // 8 >> 2 = 2


And -8 >> 2 yields -2:

11111111111111111111111111111000 // -8 in binary
--------------------------------
11111111111111111111111111111110 // -8 >> 2 = -2


### Zero-fill right shift (»>)

This operator shifts the first operand the specified number of bits to the right. Excess bits shifted off to the right are discarded. However, no matter what the first to the left bit is, zero bits are shifted in from the left. The sign bit becomes 0, so the result is always non-negative.

Therefore, 8 >>> 2 will yield the same result of 2:

00000000000000000000000000001000 // 8 in binary
--------------------------------
00000000000000000000000000000010 // 8 >> 2 = 2


However -8 >>> 2 yields 1073741822:

11111111111111111111111111111000 // -8 in binary
--------------------------------
00111111111111111111111111111110 // -8 >> 2 = 1073741822


## Relational operators

Relational operators check for relations and return a boolean value depending on the relationship status. There are two relational operators in JavaScript: in and instanceof.

### in relational operator

The in operator returns true if the specified property is in the specified object. The syntax of this operator is

propertyNameOrNumber in objectName


Here are some examples of using the in operator:

// Using the in operator with objects.
var planet = {
name: 'Earth',
age: "4.54 ± 0.05 billion years",
nrOfSatellites: 1,
inhabited: true
};
'age' in planet;             // true
'nrOfSatellites' in planet;  // true
'Earth' in planet;           // false <- you must specify the property name,
// not the value at that property

// Using the in operator with arrays.
var planets = ['Mercury', 'Venus', 'Earth', 'Mars'];
0 in planets;         // true
3 in planets;         // true
4 in planets;         // false <- the last index is 3 in the array
'length' in planets;  // true <- length parameter exists in any array
'Earth' in planets;   // false <- you must specify the index,
// not the value at that index


### instanceof operator

The instanceof operator reflects a relationship between an object and its object type. The syntax of this operator is the following:

objectName instanceof objectType


Use the instanceof operator whenever you need to find the type of an object at runtime.

var arr = [1, 2, 3];
typeof arr;               // "object"
arr instanceof Array;     // true

var str = new String('abc');
typeof str;               // "object"
str instanceof String;    // true

var bool = new Boolean(1);
typeof bool;              // "object"
bool instanceof Boolean;  // true


Note that the typeof operator always returns "object" for the examples above. This is because the instanceof operator operates only on objects.

The instanceof will be of greater value to you when you will learn object constructors in JavaScript later.

## Unary operators

As already mentioned, unary operators are those that have a single operand. We’ve already discussed +, -, ++ and -- operators above. Also, you might remember the typeof unary operator from the Master of Variables chapter. typeof operator takes one operand and returns the type of that operand.

But there are more unary operators in JavaScript and we are going to describe them below.

### delete operator

You might remember delete as well from the introduction to objects article. In that article, using delete we removed an attribute of an object.

delete objName.property;  // deletes the property name of objName
delete objName[property]; // deletes the property name of objName
delete arrName[index];    // deletes the index of arrName


Note that delete sets the property of an object to undefined, therefore you won’t see that property in the object’s properties.

The delete operator returns true if hte operation is possible and returns false if the operation is not possible.

var obj = {
a: 1,
b: 2,
c: 3
};
console.log(obj);  // {a:1, b:2, c:3}
delete obj.b;      // true <- the operation is possible
console.log(obj);  // {a: 1, c: 3}


#### Deleting array elements

As arrays are objects, deleting an index of an array removes the array element altogether. However, the length of the array is unaffected.

var planets = ['Mercury', 'Venus', 'Earth', 'Mars'];

planets.length;     // 4
delete planets[1];  // this removes the index from the array
planets.length;     // 4

if (1 in planets) {
// this does not get executed, as the index 1 doesn't exist anymore in the array
}
console.log(planets);  // ['Mercury', undefined, 'Earth', 'Mars'];

// If to get the keys of the planets array (which is an object), you can
// use the Object.keys(objName) and get the following.
Object.keys(planets)   // ["0", "2", "3"] <- note that index 1 is absent


Note that this does not shorten the array in any form. The delete operator simply removes the specified index, together with the value at that index.

On the other side, in case you want to remove only the value at a specific index, you can simply set that value to undefined. In this case, the index itself is not removed.

var planets = ['Mercury', 'Venus', 'Earth', 'Mars'];

planets.length;         // 4
planets[1] = undefined; // this sets the value at index 1 to undefined
planets.length;         // 4

if (1 in planets) {
// this gets executed, as the index 1 still exists in the array
}
console.log(planets);   // ['Mercury', undefined, 'Earth', 'Mars'];

// Using Object.keys(objName) in this case will result in all indexes present.
Object.keys(planets);   // ["0", "1", "2", "3"]


## Precedence of operators

With all these operators, sometimes it can be challenging to tell what the result of an expression will be.

function sum(x, y) { return x + y; }
var a = 1;

var x = 3 + 2 * 2 && 1 == 1 > !1 + ++a - sum(1,2) * +'2';
console.log(x);  // true


As already mentioned, The Manipulator likes to show his ingenuity. Although most of the times it is unnecessary, sometimes you will have complex expressions that you will need to figure out how to compute them. And in order to do this, the following table will aid you.

In JavaScript, operators are executed in a specific order. Therefore, in order to compute the above example, check out the Operator precedence table in JavaScript.

Operator type Individual operators Comments
member . [] as in obj.property, obj[property] or arr[index]
call / create instance () new
negation /increment ! ~ - + – ++ typeof delete + and - operators are not addition and subtraction here
multiply / divide * / %
addition / subtraction + -
bitwise shift « » »>
relational < <= > >= in instanceof
equality == != === !==
bitwise-and &
bitwise-xor ^
bitwise-or |
logical-and &&
logical-or ||
conditional (ternary) ?:
assignment = += -= *= /= %= «= »= »>= &= ^= |=

Therefore, the above example gets computed in several steps. Let’s define them together.

// Original statement
// First, we compute the function call, that has the highest precedence
// among all other operators in our specific example:
var x = 3 + 2 * 2 && 1 == 1 > !1 + ++a - sum(1,2) * +'2';

// Next, we have the negation/increment operator types. There are several of them
// in our example, therefore they compute from left to right (!1, ++a and +'2'):
var x = 3 + 2 * 2 && 1 == 1 > !1 + ++a - 3 * +'2';

// After that, we have the multiplication operators:
var x = 3 + 2 * 2 && 1 == 1 > false + 2 - 3 * 2;

// After multiplication, we go with addition and subtraction:
var x = 3 + 4 && 1 == 1 > false + 2 - 6;

// Then, accoring to the operator precendence table we go with relational
// operators. In our case it is the > operator:
var x = 7 && 1 == 1 > -3;

// Next, we evaluate the equality operator (==):
var x = 7 && 1 == true;

// At this moment, our complex expression got simplified to a single logical AND
// statement. According to the rules of logical AND evaluation, in case the first
// operand is true, the result of the operation will be the second operand.
var x = 7 && true;

// At last, we assign the value true to x.
var x = true;
`

Now, you don’t have to learn by heart operator precedence. However, keep in mind that they are evaluated in a specific order and from time to time you can check it out.

## Conclusion

In the end, remember that you can do any operation on any data type in JavaScript and The Manipulator will figure it out how to do what you will write. Remember that there are simple rules that guide every operation. Therefore, by learning these simple rules you will have no trouble writing and understanding code.