Quick one here but today, thanks to Tez on Stack Overflow, I discovered that PHP's null coalescing operator (the double question mark operator) can fail when you use a function at any part of the statement.
Here's the example in Laravel I had. I was trying to find the ID of a related object and guarantee that it will be set to null otherwise:
$id = $user->organisation->departments->first()->id ?? null;
I didn't see anything wrong with the code and expected it to give me the ID of the first department on the user's organisation or null if any relationship didn't exist.
However, I got the following error when the organisation relationship was empty:
ErrorException: Trying to get property 'departments' of non-object
I was wracking my brain trying to work out the problem as I assumed null coalescing would just handle any part of the statement evaluating to null or unset. But apparently, no matter where in the statement it is, having a function call will break that.
The Fix in Laravel
Step in Laravel Collection's Higher Order Messages, which give dynamic property access to common collection functions, including
first(). So I could just remove the function call directly:
$id = $user->organisation->departments->first->id->id ?? null;
A first version of this blog used the incorrect code to access the
idis referenced twice in the statement, the first essentially as a parameter to the
firstdynamic property, specifying that the first item should be found where the
idproperty is set. The second accessing the property on the object itself.
This part is a little confusing but is explained in the Laravel github issue I opened.
Super easy (less with the edit)! I love discovering a new Laravel feature!