In Typescript, what is the ! (exclamation mark / bang) operator when dereferencing a member?

That’s the non-null assertion operator. It is a way to tell the compiler “this expression cannot be null or undefined here, so don’t complain about the possibility of it being null or undefined.” Sometimes the type checker is unable to make that determination itself.

It is explained here:

A new ! post-fix expression operator may be used to assert that its operand is non-null and non-undefined in contexts where the type checker is unable to conclude that fact. Specifically, the operation x! produces a value of the type of x with null and undefined excluded. Similar to type assertions of the forms <T>x and x as T, the ! non-null assertion operator is simply removed in the emitted JavaScript code.

I find the use of the term “assert” a bit misleading in that explanation. It is “assert” in the sense that the developer is asserting it, not in the sense that a test is going to be performed. The last line indeed indicates that it results in no JavaScript code being emitted.

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