Nullable DateTime and Ternary Operator in C#

Just Recently when i was working on a solution to assign Null values to the Datetime , i was struck up for some time in doing this though the solution was simple . I had to cast to the right type ( Nullable of Datetime ) .

The stuff that i was doing was assigning a value null directly to the variable when used with the Ternary or coascalence operator .

This post talks about the different ways of assigning the null value to the Nullable Datetime .

Here are some simple and traditional ways of doing it .

1. Use if statements

DateTime ? KaavalanReleaseDate = new DateTime();

if (String.IsNullOrEmpty("15.01.2011"))
     KaavalanReleaseDate = null;
     KaavalanReleaseDate = DateTime.Parse("15.01.2011");

Here we use the the Nullable Datetime which can take up the Null value .

2. Declaring a Nullable Variable

DateTime ? KaavalanReleaseDate = new DateTime();

Nullable<DateTime> NotReleasing = new Nullable<DateTime>();

if (String.IsNullOrEmpty("15.01.2011"))
     KaavalanReleaseDate = NotReleasing;
     KaavalanReleaseDate = DateTime.Parse("15.01.2010");

3. Use the Ternary Operator

Try this . Will it really work ?? .

DateTime ? KaavalanReleaseDate = new DateTime();

string ReleasingOn = "10.01.2011";

KaavalanReleaseDate = (ReleasingOn == null ? null : Convert.ToDateTime(ReleasingOn));

No .:(
Wait a minute in the example 1 we assigned null directly to  KaavalanReleaseDate , but when we do the same here , we get the following error message

” Type of conditional expression cannot be determined because there is no implicit conversion between ‘<null>’ and ‘System.DateTime’ “

The right way to get it work is this .

DateTime ? KaavalanReleaseDate = new DateTime();

string ReleasingOn = "15.01.2011";

KaavalanReleaseDate = (ReleasingOn == null ? (DateTime?)null : 


The Null and Datetime is somewhat not compatible and thus casting plays a important role .

Here’s a nice article on Nullable types and the ternary operator. Why won’t this work?

Note : try assinging a null value to an integer in c# and Nothing to an Integer in VB.NET like

int nullData = null;

Dim nullData  As Integer = Nothing

One might a see a difference that in c# , it will throw a compile time error where as VB.NET doesnot .

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

One Response

  1. Francis February 9, 2011 Reply
  2. Nullable DateTime and Ternary Operator in C# | ProgramInDotnet August 9, 2011 Reply

Leave a Reply


Interesting BlogPosts to read

How to get an Enumerator from range of elements from ArrayList in C# ?
The code snippet shown in this blog post demonstrates how you can get the enumeraor from a range of ...
How to check for the column name in an SqlDataReader Object in C# ?
When working in ADO.NET for data access , there are times when you want to check to see if a column ...
How to convert Array to List in C#?
Want to convert array of strings to List of strings in C# ? . Below is a sample code to illustrate t...