The conditional operator is rather strange, but is very useful. (By the way, an operator is something that acts upon two or more values, such as the addition ‘+’ operator.) In many cases (or at least frequent enough for them to make up a new operator), programmers have had to determine the largest or the smallest of two values, and use the corresponding (largest or smallest) value. Normally, the code would be like this:
if (number1 > number2) return number1; else return number2;
This became cumbersome. Introducing, the conditional operator:
return (number1 > number2) ? number1 : number2;
This does the same thing as the code above. The parts in bold are the required syntax; any valid expression, constant, or variable can be placed in between.
There are three parts to the conditional operator: the condition, and the two “paths”.
The condition is a boolean condition, one that would otherwise trigger an if-statement. If that is true, number1 is returned; otherwise number2 is returned.
That’s all there is to it.