• Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • What is a Boolean Value? (Definition, Uses & Examples)

What is a Boolean Value? (Definition, Uses & Examples)

what is a boolean value

In computer programs, there are three main types of data – text, numbers, and logical values. The text type of data includes the values such as name, address, etc., and the numbers hold the values such as age, marks obtained in a test, the salary of an employee, etc. The logical type of data includes values like true or false, yes or no. 

The Boolean data type is used to store the logical values required in a computer program. Let’s understand what is a boolean value and what is a boolean variable with examples.

What is a Data Type in Computer Science?

A data type, in programming, is a classification that specifies which type of value a variable has and what type of mathematical, relational, or logical operations can be applied to it without causing an error. A string, for example, is a data type that is used to classify text and an integer is a data type used to classify whole numbers.

The data type defines which operations can safely be performed to create, transform and use the variable in another computation. When a programming language requires a variable to only be used in ways that respect its data type, that language is said to be strongly typed. 

This prevents errors, because while it is logical to ask the computer to multiply a float by an integer $\left(1.5 \times 5 \right)$, it is illogical to ask the computer to multiply a float by a string $\left(1.5 \times \text{Alice} \right)$. When a programming language allows a variable of one data type to be used as if it were a value of another data type, the language is said to be weakly typed.

What is a Boolean Value?

In computer science, the Boolean (sometimes shortened to Bool) is a data type that has one of two possible values (usually denoted true and false) which is intended to represent the two truth values of logic and Boolean algebra. 

It is named after George Boole, who first defined an algebraic system of logic in the mid-19th century. The Boolean data type is primarily associated with conditional statements, which allow different actions by changing control flow depending on whether a programmer-specified Boolean condition evaluates to true or false. 

Is your child struggling with Maths?
frustrated-kid
We can help!
Country
  • Afghanistan 93
  • Albania 355
  • Algeria 213
  • American Samoa 1-684
  • Andorra 376
  • Angola 244
  • Anguilla 1-264
  • Antarctica 672
  • Antigua & Barbuda 1-268
  • Argentina 54
  • Armenia 374
  • Aruba 297
  • Australia 61
  • Austria 43
  • Azerbaijan 994
  • Bahamas 1-242
  • Bahrain 973
  • Bangladesh 880
  • Barbados 1-246
  • Belarus 375
  • Belgium 32
  • Belize 501
  • Benin 229
  • Bermuda 1-441
  • Bhutan 975
  • Bolivia 591
  • Bosnia 387
  • Botswana 267
  • Bouvet Island 47
  • Brazil 55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory 246
  • British Virgin Islands 1-284
  • Brunei 673
  • Bulgaria 359
  • Burkina Faso 226
  • Burundi 257
  • Cambodia 855
  • Cameroon 237
  • Canada 1
  • Cape Verde 238
  • Caribbean Netherlands 599
  • Cayman Islands 1-345
  • Central African Republic 236
  • Chad 235
  • Chile 56
  • China 86
  • Christmas Island 61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands 61
  • Colombia 57
  • Comoros 269
  • Congo - Brazzaville 242
  • Congo - Kinshasa 243
  • Cook Islands 682
  • Costa Rica 506
  • Croatia 385
  • Cuba 53
  • Cyprus 357
  • Czech Republic 420
  • Denmark 45
  • Djibouti 253
  • Dominica 1-767
  • Ecuador 593
  • Egypt 20
  • El Salvador 503
  • Equatorial Guinea 240
  • Eritrea 291
  • Estonia 372
  • Ethiopia 251
  • Falkland Islands 500
  • Faroe Islands 298
  • Fiji 679
  • Finland 358
  • France 33
  • French Guiana 594
  • French Polynesia 689
  • French Southern Territories 262
  • Gabon 241
  • Gambia 220
  • Georgia 995
  • Germany 49
  • Ghana 233
  • Gibraltar 350
  • Greece 30
  • Greenland 299
  • Grenada 1-473
  • Guadeloupe 590
  • Guam 1-671
  • Guatemala 502
  • Guernsey 44
  • Guinea 224
  • Guinea-Bissau 245
  • Guyana 592
  • Haiti 509
  • Heard & McDonald Islands 672
  • Honduras 504
  • Hong Kong 852
  • Hungary 36
  • Iceland 354
  • India 91
  • Indonesia 62
  • Iran 98
  • Iraq 964
  • Ireland 353
  • Isle of Man 44
  • Israel 972
  • Italy 39
  • Jamaica 1-876
  • Japan 81
  • Jersey 44
  • Jordan 962
  • Kazakhstan 7
  • Kenya 254
  • Kiribati 686
  • Kuwait 965
  • Kyrgyzstan 996
  • Laos 856
  • Latvia 371
  • Lebanon 961
  • Lesotho 266
  • Liberia 231
  • Libya 218
  • Liechtenstein 423
  • Lithuania 370
  • Luxembourg 352
  • Macau 853
  • Macedonia 389
  • Madagascar 261
  • Malawi 265
  • Malaysia 60
  • Maldives 960
  • Mali 223
  • Malta 356
  • Marshall Islands 692
  • Martinique 596
  • Mauritania 222
  • Mauritius 230
  • Mayotte 262
  • Mexico 52
  • Micronesia 691
  • Moldova 373
  • Monaco 377
  • Mongolia 976
  • Montenegro 382
  • Montserrat 1-664
  • Morocco 212
  • Mozambique 258
  • Myanmar 95
  • Namibia 264
  • Nauru 674
  • Nepal 977
  • Netherlands 31
  • New Caledonia 687
  • New Zealand 64
  • Nicaragua 505
  • Niger 227
  • Nigeria 234
  • Niue 683
  • Norfolk Island 672
  • North Korea 850
  • Northern Mariana Islands 1-670
  • Norway 47
  • Oman 968
  • Pakistan 92
  • Palau 680
  • Palestine 970
  • Panama 507
  • Papua New Guinea 675
  • Paraguay 595
  • Peru 51
  • Philippines 63
  • Pitcairn Islands 870
  • Poland 48
  • Portugal 351
  • Puerto Rico 1
  • Qatar 974
  • Romania 40
  • Russia 7
  • Rwanda 250
  • Réunion 262
  • Samoa 685
  • San Marino 378
  • Saudi Arabia 966
  • Senegal 221
  • Serbia 381 p
  • Seychelles 248
  • Sierra Leone 232
  • Singapore 65
  • Slovakia 421
  • Slovenia 386
  • Solomon Islands 677
  • Somalia 252
  • South Africa 27
  • South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands 500
  • South Korea 82
  • South Sudan 211
  • Spain 34
  • Sri Lanka 94
  • Sudan 249
  • Suriname 597
  • Svalbard & Jan Mayen 47
  • Swaziland 268
  • Sweden 46
  • Switzerland 41
  • Syria 963
  • Sao Tome and Principe 239
  • Taiwan 886
  • Tajikistan 992
  • Tanzania 255
  • Thailand 66
  • Timor-Leste 670
  • Togo 228
  • Tokelau 690
  • Tonga 676
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1-868
  • Tunisia 216
  • Turkey 90
  • Turkmenistan 993
  • Turks & Caicos Islands 1-649
  • Tuvalu 688
  • U.S. Outlying Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands 1-340
  • UK 44
  • US 1
  • Uganda 256
  • Ukraine 380
  • United Arab Emirates 971
  • Uruguay 598
  • Uzbekistan 998
  • Vanuatu 678
  • Vatican City 39-06
  • Venezuela 58
  • Vietnam 84
  • Wallis & Futuna 681
  • Western Sahara 212
  • Yemen 967
  • Zambia 260
  • Zimbabwe 263
Age Of Your Child
  • Less Than 6 Years
  • 6 To 10 Years
  • 11 To 16 Years
  • Greater Than 16 Years

History & Origins of the Boolean Data Type

Booleans are named after George Boole, who was a mathematician from the 19th century. He first developed Boolean algebra in 1854.

The Boolean data type was invented in the early 1800s. George Boole created a system of logic that could be used to describe the true values (i.e.: 1) and false values (i.e.: 0) in computers. This developed into what we now call Boolean algebra, which is used as a basis for most computer programming languages.

In 1854, George Boole wrote “An investigation into the Laws of Thought on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities”, which laid the mathematical foundation for many computer languages.

Booleans were first used commercially in 1951 by a Bell Labs engineer as a part of AN/FSQ-7, the massive computer that was used by the United States Air Force.

How are Boolean Values Used in Computer Programming?

A Boolean value is used to create conditions and control how a program behaves when certain things happen (e.g. if a condition is true, then do something). They can have only two possible values: either $0$ or $1$. You cannot add or subtract them. A Boolean variable is a special type of memory in a computer that can only store two values: true or false.

A boolean operator, or logical operator, consists of operators such as AND, OR, NOT, NOR, NAND, and XOR. These operators are used with conditional statements in programming, search engines, algorithms, and formulas.

Difference Between Text, Numbers, and Booleans

These are the main differences between boolean, text, and numbers data types.

When using Boolean in programming, it’s important to understand the differences between a Boolean variable and other types of data. You need to know how they are stored, and what operations can be performed on them.

  • Booleans: Booleans are usually stored using one byte of memory while text variables use more than one (e.g. two bytes for ASCII, four bytes for Unicode).
  • Text: Some programming languages represent text with an array of characters (e.g. ASCII or Unicode). Text data types have a limited size (typically 256 characters) and do not perform operations on themselves.
  • Numbers: Numbers can be negative, positive, or zero depending on their properties. They are stored as an array of bits which determines if they’re positive (i.e.: 00000000). The same applies to negative numbers (-1, -2, etc).

Boolean Value Operators

When using Booleans in a program, it’s important to understand the Boolean operators. These are used in conditions and conditional statements which control how the program will behave. Operator examples include AND (&&), OR (||) and NOT (~).

The following are examples of the Boolean value operators in programming:

Boolean OperatorDescription
>=True if a number is greater than or equal to another.
<=True if a number is less than or equal to another.
==True if two values are equivalent.
!=True if two values are not equivalent.
&&True if both values are true.
||True if either of the values is true.
!True if the value is false.
~Reverses all of the bits in a variable (e.g.: 0000000000000000 becomes 1111111111111111). This can be useful when necessary because it allows you to change Booleans without affecting values or other types of data.

Boolean operators are used in making decisions in programs and indicate how the program should behave. For example, if $p$ is true AND $q$ is also true, then do something.

Best Coding Languages for Kids

Practice Problems

  1. A boolean value can take either 1 or 2. (True/False)
  2. A boolean value can take either True or False. (True/False)
  3. A boolean value can take either 1 or 0. (True/False)
  4. A boolean value can take either Yes or No. (True/False)
  5. A boolean value is used with 
    • arithmetic operators
    • logical operators
    • conditional operators
    • unary operators
  6. The word boolean is named after __________.

FAQs

What are Boolean variables in programming?

The Boolean data type is used to store the values true and false. This data type may be used to store information that allows one of two states, on or off, to be stored.

What is a nullable data type?

A nullable type is used to represent values that may be set to the null (no value) state.

What is a null value?

null is the data type used to represent objects (e.g., variables, records, etc.) that do not currently exist, are unfinished/unused, or are being discarded so that resources will be freed. It could also be used when an expression evaluates to nothing and needs to be given a value. It returns false.

What is a non-zero value?

A non-zero value is a value that is not zero. It returns true.

Can a Boolean data type have the value of null?

No, it cannot, but you can use an undefined Boolean value to represent a null value. If checked against an operator, it returns false.

What is a Boolean data type in a database?

Boolean data types can be used to store the values true and false in a database.
Booleans are most commonly used in databases to represent yes/no, on/off, or other related states. For example, if an account has been turned off then it’s status column may contain false. If it’s currently on the true would be stored in the account status Boolean. Another common use is for flags that allow you to store information about what happened (e.g.: ’email sent’, ‘file downloaded’).
Booleans may also be useful to show if a file exists, or if an action has been performed (e.g.: form submitted).

What are some programming languages that support Boolean data types?

Booleans are available in most programming languages. If you’re using JavaScript, Java, PHP, Python, C, C++ or Swift then you should have access to the Boolean data type.
If null is allowed in your programming language, then both true and false would be allowed as well.

What are some applications that manipulate Boolean data types?

Booleans can be used by application software to manage flags, yes/no options, on/off states, and other related information. They may also be useful in keeping track of resources or performing various tasks (e.g.: deleting files).

Conclusion

In computer science, the Boolean (sometimes shortened to Bool) is a data type that has one of two possible values (usually denoted true and false) which is intended to represent the two truth values of logic and Boolean algebra. A Boolean value is used to create conditions and control how a program behaves when certain things happen.

Recommended Reading

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>