Ios – ?? operator in Swift


In the "The Swift Programming Language" book (page 599), I came across this code snippet that kind of confused me. It went like this:

func buyFavoriteSnack(person:String) throws {
    let snackName = favoriteSnacks[person] ?? "Candy Bar"
    try vend(itemName:snackName)

Its explanation was:

The buyFavoriteSnack(_:) function looks up the given person's favorite snack and tries to buy it for them. If they don't have a favorite snack listed, it tries to buy a candy bar. If they…

How can this explanation map to the "??" operator in the code given. When should/can we use this syntax in our own code?

Best Solution

It is "nil coalescing operator" (also called "default operator"). a ?? b is value of a (i.e. a!), unless a is nil, in which case it yields b. I.e. if favouriteSnacks[person] is missing, return assign "Candy Bar" in its stead.

EDIT Technically can be interpreted as: (From Badar Al-Rasheed's Answer below)

let something = a != nil ? a! : b