PHP's empty in JavaScript

Here’s what our current JavaScript equivalent to PHP's empty looks like.

module.exports = function empty (mixedVar) {
// discuss at:
// original by: Philippe Baumann
// input by: Onno Marsman (
// input by: LH
// input by: Stoyan Kyosev (
// bugfixed by: Kevin van Zonneveld (
// improved by: Onno Marsman (
// improved by: Francesco
// improved by: Marc Jansen
// improved by: Rafał Kukawski (
// example 1: empty(null)
// returns 1: true
// example 2: empty(undefined)
// returns 2: true
// example 3: empty([])
// returns 3: true
// example 4: empty({})
// returns 4: true
// example 5: empty({'aFunc' : function () { alert('humpty'); } })
// returns 5: false
let undef
let key
let i
let len
const emptyValues = [undef, null, false, 0, '', '0']
for (i = 0, len = emptyValues.length; i < len; i++) {
if (mixedVar === emptyValues[i]) {
return true
if (typeof mixedVar === 'object') {
for (key in mixedVar) {
if (mixedVar.hasOwnProperty(key)) {
return false
return true
return false
[ View on GitHub | Edit on GitHub | Source on GitHub ]

How to use

You you can install via npm install locutus and require it via require('locutus/php/var/empty'). You could also require the var module in full so that you could access var.empty instead.

If you intend to target the browser, you can then use a module bundler such as Parcel, webpack, Browserify, or rollup.js. This can be important because Locutus allows modern JavaScript in the source files, meaning it may not work in all browsers without a build/transpile step. Locutus does transpile all functions to ES5 before publishing to npm.

A community effort

Not unlike Wikipedia, Locutus is an ongoing community effort. Our philosophy follows The McDonald’s Theory. This means that we don't consider it to be a bad thing that many of our functions are first iterations, which may still have their fair share of issues. We hope that these flaws will inspire others to come up with better ideas.

This way of working also means that we don't offer any production guarantees, and recommend to use Locutus inspiration and learning purposes only.


Please note that these examples are distilled from test cases that automatically verify our functions still work correctly. This could explain some quirky ones.

#codeexpected result
5empty({'aFunc' : function () { alert('humpty'); } })false

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