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consistent-return

Require return statements to either always or never specify values

Unlike statically-typed languages which enforce that a function returns a specified type of value, JavaScript allows different code paths in a function to return different types of values.

A confusing aspect of JavaScript is that a function returns undefined if any of the following are true:

  • it does not execute a return statement before it exits
  • it executes return which does not specify a value explicitly
  • it executes return undefined
  • it executes return void followed by an expression (for example, a function call)
  • it executes return followed by any other expression which evaluates to undefined

If any code paths in a function return a value explicitly but some code path do not return a value explicitly, it might be a typing mistake, especially in a large function. In the following example:

  • a code path through the function returns a Boolean value true
  • another code path does not return a value explicitly, therefore returns undefined implicitly
function doSomething(condition) {
if (condition) {
return true;
} else {
return;
}
}

Rule Details

This rule requires return statements to either always or never specify values. This rule ignores function definitions where the name begins with an uppercase letter, because constructors (when invoked with the new operator) return the instantiated object implicitly if they do not return another object explicitly.

Examples of incorrect code for this rule:

/*eslint consistent-return: "error"*/

function doSomething(condition) {
if (condition) {
return true;
} else {
return;
}
}

function doSomething(condition) {
if (condition) {
return true;
}
}

Examples of correct code for this rule:

/*eslint consistent-return: "error"*/

function doSomething(condition) {
if (condition) {
return true;
} else {
return false;
}
}

function Foo() {
if (!(this instanceof Foo)) {
return new Foo();
}

this.a = 0;
}

Options

This rule has an object option:

  • "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": false (default) always either specify values or return undefined implicitly only.
  • "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": true always either specify values or return undefined explicitly or implicitly.

treatUndefinedAsUnspecified

Examples of incorrect code for this rule with the default { "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": false } option:

/*eslint consistent-return: ["error", { "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": false }]*/

function foo(callback) {
if (callback) {
return void callback();
}
// no return statement
}

function bar(condition) {
if (condition) {
return undefined;
}
// no return statement
}

Examples of incorrect code for this rule with the { "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": true } option:

/*eslint consistent-return: ["error", { "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": true }]*/

function foo(callback) {
if (callback) {
return void callback();
}
return true;
}

function bar(condition) {
if (condition) {
return undefined;
}
return true;
}

Examples of correct code for this rule with the { "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": true } option:

/*eslint consistent-return: ["error", { "treatUndefinedAsUnspecified": true }]*/

function foo(callback) {
if (callback) {
return void callback();
}
// no return statement
}

function bar(condition) {
if (condition) {
return undefined;
}
// no return statement
}

When Not To Use It

If you want to allow functions to have different return behavior depending on code branching, then it is safe to disable this rule.

Version

This rule was introduced in ESLint v0.4.0.

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