In PHP 8.0, the nullsafe operator was introduced to simplify working with null objects and improve code readability. This tutorial will guide you through the nullsafe operator in PHP 8.0, its benefits, usage, and examples to implement in your coding projects.

Introduction to the PHP 8.0 Nullsafe Operator

The nullsafe operator (?->) in PHP 8.0 is a significant improvement that reduces the probability of encountering errors when working with objects that might be null. It allows you to write cleaner code by eliminating the need for multiple nested conditions to check for null values.

Syntax and Usage

The syntax for the nullsafe operator is simple. Here's how you can use it:

$result = $object?->method();

In the above example, if the value of '$object' is null, the expression evaluates to null. If the value of '$object' is not null, the method executes.

For example:

$user = null;
$country = $user?->getAddress()?->country; // evaluates to null

$user = new User();
$country = $user?->getAddress()?->country; // evaluates to the country of the user

Using the PHP 8.0 Nullsafe Operator to Chain Methods

The nullsafe operator can also be used to chain methods together. For example:

$result = $object?->method1()?->method2();

In the above example, if any of the methods in the chain return null, the entire expression will be evaluated as null.

Before PHP 8.0: Checking for Null Objects

Before PHP 8.0, you needed conditional statements to check whether an object was null before accessing its properties or methods. It made the code challenging to read and maintain.

For example, the following code would have been necessary to fetch the country from a user's profile in PHP 7.4:

if ($user !== null) {
    if ($user->getAddress() !== null) {
        $country = $user->getAddress()->country;

Examples of the PHP 8.0 Nullsafe Operator

With the nullsafe operator, you can simplify the above code like this:

$country = $user?->getAddress()?->country;

If any part of the chain returns null, the entire expression evaluates to null, and no further calls or accesses are made.

With Nested Objects

$order = $customer?->getOrder()?->getDetails()?->price;

The above code is concise and easy to read. It is also less prone to errors because the nullsafe operator will short-circuit the chain if any object is null.

Example of Using the PHP 8.0 Nullsafe Operator

Consider the following scenario in which we want to retrieve the country from the user's profile:

class User {
    public function getAddress() {
        // returns Address object or null

$user = new User();

// Using the Nullsafe Operator
$country = $user?->getAddress()?->country;

if ($country !== null) {
    echo "Country: $country";
} else {
    echo "Country not available";

Here, the nullsafe operator checks if the user object and the address property of the user object are null. If either check fails, the country variable is set to null, and the else block executes.


The PHP 8.0 nullsafe operator is a powerful tool that helps you write cleaner, more concise, and error-free code. By understanding and applying the nullsafe operator, you can enhance the quality of your PHP code.

Found This Page Useful? Share It!
Get the Latest Tutorials and Updates
Join us on Telegram