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Identity, Null

:: Identity

Return an argument unchanged

Syntax: (::) x, ::[x]

Returns x.


This can be used in statements applying multiple functions to the same data, if one of the operations desired is "do nothing".

q)(::;avg)@\:1 2 3
1 2 3

Similarly, the identity can also be achieved via indexing.

q)1 2 3 ::
1 2 3

and used in variants thereof for e.g. amends

q)@[til 10;(::;2 3);2+]
2 3 6 7 6 7 8 9 10 11

:: Null

Q does not have a dedicated null type. Instead :: is used to denote a generic null value. For example, functions that return no value, return ::.

q)enlist {1;}[]

We use enlist to force display of a null result: a pure :: is not displayed.

When a unary function is called with no arguments, :: is passed in.

q)enlist {x}[]

Since :: has a type for which no vector variant exists, it is useful to prevent a mixed list from being coerced into a vector when all items happen to be of the same type. (This is important when you need to preserve the ability to add non-conforming items later.)



q)x,:`a  / ok