Ternary Operators in Angular Templates

September 22, 2015

alt text

Ternary Operators in Angular Templates

Ternary Operators are part of the toolset of most programming languages and are available of course in Javascript.

The syntax for a ternary operator is

condition ? expr1 : expr2

Where the condition is any statement that evaluates to true or false and expressions expr1 and expr2 are values of any type.

If the condition is true then value of expr1 is returned otherwise the value of expr2 is returned.

So in the following code

var currentMember = {
  name: 'Joe Bloggs',
  isGoldMember: true
console.log("Price: " + (currentMember.isGoldMember ? "£5.00" : "£10.00"));

The output is

Price: £5.00

How to use ternary operators in angular templates

The most useful use case I have found for ternary operators is within angular directives such as ng-class and ng-style.

Ternary operators were added to Angular 1.1.5 and can be used from version 1.1.5 and up.

Using a ternary operator within ng-style

In the example we wish to apply to highlight every third item in a list.

The list to display contains the first names of users of a website.

So we will initialise our angular app in the usual way

var app = angular.module('ternaryExample', []);

And the main controller contains a list of first names

app.controller('MainCtrl', function($scope) {
  $scope.persons = [

To simply display the user names with a greeting we use a template within our controller attached to the document body.

 <body ng-controller="MainCtrl">
    <div ng-repeat="person in persons">
        Hello {{ person }}!

By adding track by $index we can use the current array index in our code.

person in persons track by $index

So how is this useful in a ternary operator where we want to apply a different style to every third person?

We can add one to $index, as it is a 0 based index, and then return either a green hex code value as the color if true


or a black hex code value if false


based on a ternary expression that utilizes a modulus operator to evaluate if the current $index mod 3 returns 0 and is indeed a ‘third’ element in the array.

<h4 ng-style="{color : ($index + 1) % 3 == 0 ? '#008141' : '#131313'}">

Like so

 <body ng-controller="MainCtrl">
    <div ng-repeat="person in persons track by $index">
      <h4 ng-style="{color : ($index + 1) % 3 == 0 ? '#008141' : '#131313'}">
        Hello {{ person }}!

A working demo of our example can be found on codepen.


The ternary joke used in the meme I found here