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Following are the 2 lines of my controller code,

system.debug('id is ' + FSInputRecord.Client__c);
if(FSInputRecord.Client__c != null && FSInputRecord.Client__c != '')

Where FSInputRecord.Client__c is a lookup to Contact which gets its value from the VF page.

Now the first line gives me a valid ID e.g. 00355000009YTSrAAO But the second line throws exception - System.StringException: Invalid id:

Why so? what is the problem with the ID here?

Also when I leave the FSInputRecord.Client__c input lookup field empty then the second line doesn't throw any error.

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Because Client__c is of the Id type, the empty string ('') is being coerced to an Id, which is not a valid Id. You never need to compare an Id to an empty string, because that is not a valid state for an Id to be in. The error doesn't occur when Client__c is null, because the && operator is a short-circuit operator (if the left side is false, the right side is never evaluated).

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    I believe I'm reading it incorrectly, did you mean "if the left side is false , the right side is never evaluated"? Just confused... – Mahmood Feb 24 '17 at 20:59
  • @Mahmood Oops. You're right. That's what I meant. Thanks for pointing that out. – sfdcfox Feb 24 '17 at 21:04
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I think the problem is because of this FSInputRecord.Client__c != ''.Can you try removing this and see if this solves your problem.Let us know if the issue is still there.

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Check this post from Deepak Anand, explains why Empty Strings throw an error for ID.

EMPTY STRING - eventhought it doesn't have any value but an EMPTY STRING https://success.salesforce.com/answers?id=90630000000hTOsAAM

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