Use the Safe Navigation Operator to Avoid Null Pointer Exceptions

Use the safe navigation operator (?.) to replace explicit, sequential checks for null references. This new operator short-circuits expressions that attempt to operate on a null value and returns null instead of throwing a NullPointerException.

Where: This change applies to Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic in Enterprise, Performance, Unlimited, and Developer editions.

How: If the left-hand-side of the chain expression evaluates to null, the right-hand-side is not evaluated. Use the safe navigation operator (?.) in method, variable, and property chaining. The part of the expression that is not evaluated can include variable references, method references, or array expressions.

Note

Note

All Apex types are implicitly nullable and can hold a null value returned from the operator.

Example

  • This example first evaluates a, and returns null if a is null. Otherwise, the return value is a.b.
    a?.b // Evaluates to: a == null? Null : a.b
  • This example returns null if a[x] evaluates to null. If a[x] does not evaluate to null and aMethod() returns null, then this expression throws a null pointer exception.
    a[x]?.aMethod().aField // Evaluates to null if a[x] == null
  • This example returns null if a[x].aMethod() evaluates to null.
    a[x].aMethod()?.aField 
  • This example indicates that the type of the expression is the same, whether the safe navigation operator is used in the expression or not.
    Integer x = anObject?.anIntegerField; // The expression is of type Integer because the field is of type Integer
  • This example shows a single statement replacing a block of code that checks for nulls.
    // Previous code checking for nulls
    String profileUrl = null;
    if (user.getProfileUrl() != null) {
    	profileUrl = user.getProfileUrl().toExternalForm();
    	}
    // New code using the safe navigation operator
    String profileUrl = user.getProfileUrl()?.toExternalForm();
  • This example shows a single-row SOQL query using the safe navigation operator.
    // Previous code checking for nulls
    results = [SELECT Name FROM Account WHERE Id = :accId];
    if (results.size() == 0) { // Account was deleted
        return null;
    }
    return results[0].Name;
    // New code using the safe navigation operator
    return [SELECT Name FROM Account WHERE Id = :accId]?.Name;