Without a conditional statement such as the if statement, programs would run almost the exact same way every time, always following the same sequence of function calls. If statements allow the flow of the program to be changed, which leads to more interesting code.
Before discussing the actual structure of the if statement, let us examine the meaning of TRUE and FALSE in computer terminology. A true statement is one that evaluates to a nonzero number. A false statement evaluates to zero. When you perform comparison with the relational operators, the operator will return 1 if the comparison is true, or 0 if the comparison is false. For example, the check 0 == 2 evaluates to 0. The check 2 == 2 evaluates to a 1. If this confuses you, try to use a printf statement to output the result of those various comparisons (for example printf ( "%d", 2 == 1 );)
When programming, the aim of the program will often require the checking of one value stored by a variable against another value to determine whether one is larger, smaller, or equal to the other.
There are a number of operators that allow these checks.
Here are the relational operators, as they are known, along with examples:
> greater than 5 > 4 is TRUE < less than 4 < 5 is TRUE >= greater than or equal 4 >= 4 is TRUE <= less than or equal 3 <= 4 is TRUE == equal to 5 == 5 is TRUE != not equal to 5 != 4 is TRUEIt is highly probable that you have seen these before, probably with slightly different symbols. They should not present any hindrance to understanding. Now that you understand TRUE and FALSE well as the comparison operators, let us look at the actual structure of if statements.