What Is a Conditional in Scripting?


Heather Bennett

A conditional is a programming construct used in scripting to make decisions based on certain conditions. It allows the script to execute different blocks of code depending on whether a specific condition is true or false. Conditional statements are an essential part of any scripting language as they provide the ability to control the flow of execution and make the script more dynamic.

Types of Conditionals

In most scripting languages, there are three main types of conditionals:

  • If statement: This is the most basic type of conditional statement. It allows the script to execute a block of code only if a specified condition is true. If the condition is false, the code block is skipped.
  • If-else statement: This type of conditional statement extends the basic if statement by providing an alternative block of code to execute when the condition is false.

    If the condition is true, the code inside the if block is executed; otherwise, the code inside the else block is executed.

  • Switch statement: The switch statement allows for multiple conditions to be checked at once. It provides different cases that can be matched against a single value or expression. Based on which case matches, a specific block of code associated with that case will be executed.

Conditional Operators

In addition to using conditionals, scripting languages also provide various operators that can be used within conditional statements to compare values or perform logical operations. Some commonly used conditional operators include:

  • Comparison operators: These operators are used to compare two values and return either true or false based on whether the comparison holds true or not. Examples include equal to (==), not equal to (!=), greater than (>), less than (<), etc.
  • Logical operators: Logical operators are used to combine multiple conditions and evaluate them as a single boolean result.

    The most commonly used logical operators are AND (&&), OR (||), and NOT (! ).


Let’s take a simple example to illustrate the usage of conditionals in scripting. Consider a script that checks whether a user is eligible for voting based on their age:

let age = 18;

if (age >= 18) {
console.log(“You are eligible to vote.”);
} else {
console.log(“You are not eligible to vote yet.”);

In this example, the if statement checks if the condition `age >= 18` is true. If it is, the message “You are eligible to vote.”

will be printed to the console. Otherwise, the message “You are not eligible to vote yet.” will be printed.

Conditional statements play a vital role in scripting as they allow scripts to make decisions and control the flow of execution based on specific conditions. By utilizing conditionals effectively, you can create more dynamic and interactive scripts.

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