How to use return statement with if condition in elixir?

lets say i have a sample like

a = 20; b = 10;
if (a > b) do
{:ok, "a"}
end

if (a < b) do
{:ok, b}
end

if (a == b) do
{:ok, "equal"}
end

when i run this code first condition satisfied ,instead of returning {:ok, "a"} tuple it starts executing next block of code, how can i stop the execution once first condition is met, and return result

You can’t return early in elixir, but there’s another constuct for such operations:

cond do
  a > b -> {:ok, "a"}
  a < b -> {:ok, "b"}
  a == b -> {:ok, "equal"}
end
5 Likes

To be more specific, there are no statements, everything returns something, including those lines, they just return it ‘up’ (so the if returns it, but the if is not being assigned to anything so it vanishes). :slight_smile:

2 Likes

You could use a cond, as shown above, or even different named function heads with pattern matching

def compare(a, a), do: {:ok, “equal”}
def compare(a, b) when a > b, do: {:ok, “a”}
def compare(a, b) when a < b, do: {:ok, “b”}

1 Like

Just to add to the spectrum (i.e. I’m not recommending this) I see Greg’s suggestion as a “cleaned up” version of

a = 20 
b = 10

result = 
  case {a,b} do
    {c,c} -> "equal"
    {c,d} when c > d -> "a"
    {c,d} when c < d -> "b"
  end
reply = {:ok, result}

IO.inspect(reply)

which could also be written as

a = 20 
b = 10

result = 
  case {a,b} do
    _ when a > b -> "a"
    _ when a < b -> "b"
    _ -> "equal"
  end
reply = {:ok, result}

IO.inspect(reply)

leading to the accepted solution

a = 20 
b = 10

result = 
  cond do
    a > b -> "a"
    a < b -> "b"
    true -> "equal"
  end
reply = {:ok, result}

IO.inspect(reply)

And if do always has a “second” value it evaluates to when the condition is false - it will return nil

a = 10 
b = 20

value1 = 
  if a > b do
    "a"  
  end
  
value2 = 
  cond do
    a > b -> "a"
    true -> nil
  end

IO.inspect({value1,value2})

> {nil, nil}
2 Likes

This is not equivalent to the OPs code, since a == b is true for a = 1; b = 1.0, but your code would run into a function clause error.

You’ve got quite the eye for detail! And that brings up a great point: which one is more correct is going to depend on the actual requirements of the problem. Knowing multiple approaches to a problem can help choose the one that best matches the requirements.