TypeScript - Union


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TypeScript 1.4 gives programs the ability to combine one or two types. Union types are a powerful way to express a value that can be one of the several types. Two or more data types are combined using the pipe symbol (|) to denote a Union Type. In other words, a union type is written as a sequence of types separated by vertical bars.

Syntax: Union literal

Type1|Type2|Type3 

Example: Union Type Variable

var val:string|number 
val = 12 
console.log("numeric value of val "+val) 
val = "This is a string" 
console.log("string value of val "+val)

In the above example, the variable’s type is union. It means that the variable can contain either a number or a string as its value.

On compiling, it will generate following JavaScript code.

//Generated by typescript 1.8.10
var val;
val = 12;
console.log("numeric value of val " + val);
val = "This is a string";
console.log("string value of val " + val);

Its output is as follows −

numeric value of val  12 
string value of val this is a string 

Example: Union Type and function parameter

function disp(name:string|string[]) { 
   if(typeof name == "string") { 
      console.log(name) 
   } else { 
      var i; 
      
      for(i = 0;i<name.length;i++) { 
         console.log(name[i])
      } 
   } 
} 
disp("mark") 
console.log("Printing names array....") 
disp(["Mark","Tom","Mary","John"])

The function disp() can accept argument either of the type string or a string array.

On compiling, it will generate following JavaScript code.

//Generated by typescript 1.8.10
function disp(name) {
   if (typeof name == "string") {
      console.log(name);
   } else {
      var i;
      for (i = 0; i < name.length; i++) {
         console.log(name[i]);
      }
   }
}

disp("mark");
console.log("Printing names array....");
disp(["Mark", "Tom", "Mary", "John"]);

The output is as follows −

Mark 
Printing names array…. 
Mark 
Tom
Mary
John 

Union Type and Arrays

Union types can also be applied to arrays, properties and interfaces. The following illustrates the use of union type with an array.

Example: Union Type and Array

var arr:number[]|string[]; 
var i:number; 
arr = [1,2,4] 
console.log("**numeric array**")  

for(i = 0;i<arr.length;i++) { 
   console.log(arr[i]) 
}  

arr = ["Mumbai","Pune","Delhi"] 
console.log("**string array**")  

for(i = 0;i<arr.length;i++) { 
   console.log(arr[i]) 
} 

The program declares an array. The array can represent either a numeric collection or a string collection.

On compiling, it will generate following JavaScript code.

//Generated by typescript 1.8.10
var arr;
var i;
arr = [1, 2, 4];
console.log("**numeric array**");

for (i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
   console.log(arr[i]);
}
arr = ["Mumbai", "Pune", "Delhi"];
console.log("**string array**");

for (i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
   console.log(arr[i]);
}

Its output is as follows −

**numeric array** 
1 
2 
4 
**string array** 
Mumbai 
Pune 
Delhi


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