Exception hierarchy


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(A Case Study of an Inheritance Hierarchy)

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Exception hierarchy

  1. 1. 1 94.204* Object-Oriented Software Development Unit 9 Exception Hierarchy (A Case Study of an Inheritance Hierarchy) • revised January 30, 2000
  2. 2. 2 What is an Exception ? • The compilation process will detect programming mistakes such as syntax errors and type mismatches. Such errors can therefore be referred to as compilation errors. • But once code is compiled and running, it will have to face the real world of erroneous input, inexistent files, hardware failure… Such problems are commonly known as runtime errors, which are likely to cause the program to abort. • It is therefore important to anticipate such problems and handle them correctly, by avoiding loss of data or premature termination, and by notifying the user.
  3. 3. 3 The Exception Class Hierarchy • Java distinguishes between two types of error conditions : – Errors represents internal errors of the Java run-time system. You won’t throw any of those, and you can’t do much about them when they happen. – Exceptions represent errors in the Java application program – written by you. • Because the error is in your program, you are expected to handle the exceptions. – Try to recover, if possible – Minimally, enact a safe and informative shutdown.
  4. 4. 4 The Exception Class Hierarchy • The two types of error conditions are represented as classes Object Throwable Exception Error RuntimeExceptionOthers… Others… Others…
  5. 5. 5 The Exception Class Hierarchy • As shown in the UML diagram, exceptions are further divided into 2 groups 1. RuntimeException : – Usually (but not only) errors resulting from programming mistakes, • ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException, • NullPointerException – Do not need to be advertised or caught. – It’s your fault : Could have prevented it with an if () clause. 2. Everything else, (may be called checked exceptions) – “Any other … bad thing … that happened to your otherwise good program” (Core Java, Volume I) • File operations • URL or socket communication – Must be advertised and caught
  6. 6. 6 The Exception Class Hierarchy • Subtle implication of the Exception classes : – Exceptions are objects, with state and behaviour • Not just a transient event with no information. • It has an identity • Can be referenced, stored, passed about, queried.
  7. 7. 7 The Exception Class Hierarchy • Exceptions are handled in Java by the throw/catch pair. – Throw : Identifies an exception situation • Actually creates an exception object containing relevant information. – Catch : An exception handler that knows how to recover from an exception (if only to print out a meaningful message before dying) • If you don’t catch an exception, the program ends abruptly (ie not gracefully). • Throw/catch is essentially a more flexible syntax than the if () and goto statements based on exceptions being objects themselves (ie. Object orientation)
  8. 8. 8 Throwing Exceptions the throw statement • Suppose you want to create a Stack class, with its usual methods: push() and pop() • An attempt to pop() from an empty stack will (and should) fail! • In that case, pop() should therefore throw an exception…When a method throws an exception, it stops its execution, and goes back to the caller, without returning any value.
  9. 9. 9 Throwing Exceptions the throw statement class Stack { public void pop() { if (isEmpty()) // is the stack empty? { throw new EmptyStackException(); } else { // else pop the value } } }
  10. 10. 10 Throwing Exceptions • A method that throws an exception advertises it in the header of the method, using the throws declaration: public void pop() throws EmptyStackException • this is mandatory for all exceptions except for RuntimeExceptions and its subclasses (because usually you can’t predict that they will happen, and if you can, then you can also prevent them!). Exceptions that have to be advertised are called checked exceptions.
  11. 11. 11 Throwing Exceptions • A method can throw and advertise more than one exception: public Image loadImage( String s ) throws EOFException, MalformedURLException { … }
  12. 12. 12 Inheritance & Throwing • When you are writing a subclass that overrides methods from its superclass, there are some restrictions • A subclass method can advertise fewer but not more exceptions than its superclass’s method. • A subclass method cannot throw any exceptions if its superclass’s method advertises none. SuperClass a() throws x,y b() SubClass a() ? b() ? a() throws x  a() throws x,y  a () throws x,y,z  a() throws w  b()  b() throws x 
  13. 13. 13 Inheritance & Throwing • When a method advertises a given exception class, it may actually throw exception of this class .. Or its subclasses. public a() throws IOException { throws new IOException (); throws new EOFException(); } • Advantage : Provides generality, especially for subclasses that will override this method. • Disadvantage : – The caller of this method will probably catch the exception that was advertised • catch (IOException e) – It will lose the details possible from subclass, unless it knows to cast.
  14. 14. 14 Exception handling • Now the calling method needs to do something with the exception that has been thrown by the invoked method, or the program will terminate abruptly! Two possibilities: 1. Catching the exception: the caller knows what went wrong, and knows how to solve the problem and go on with the rest of the code, or at least, how to allow the program to terminate “gracefully”; 2. Not catching it: the caller doesn’t have all the elements in hand, and prefers to forward it to its own caller.
  15. 15. 15 Exception handling: catching • To catch an exception, you set up a try/catch block: public int convert(String s) { int result = 0; try { result=Integer.parseInt(s); } catch (NumberFormatException e) { System.out.println(e) } }
  16. 16. 16 Exception handling: catching from Core Java Vol I: • “If any of the code inside the try block throws an exception of the class specified in the catch clause, then: – The program skips the remainder of the code in the try block. – The program executes the handler code inside the catch clause. • If none of the code inside the try block throws an exception, then the program skips the catch clause”
  17. 17. 17 Exception handling: catching from Exploring Java : • “It should be obvious, but one beauty of the try/catch statement is that any statement in the try block can assume that all previous statements in the block succeeded. …. If an earlier statement fails, execution jumps immediately to the catch clause; later statements are never executed.” try { statement 1; statement 2; statement 3; } catch { … }
  18. 18. 18 Extra: Catching multiple exceptions • A try block can be followed by several catch blocks, each dealing with a different type of exception. try { loadImage(“carleton”); } catch (EOFException e1) { handleEOF(e1); } catch (MalformedURLException e2) { handleMalformedURL(e2); }
  19. 19. 19 Extra: Catching multiple exceptions • Another use of catching multiple exception is a “catch-all” statement (like default in the switch statement) where later “catch” statements handle more general exceptions (ie. Superclass) try { func(); } catch (KnownException e) { handleKnown(); } catch (Exception e) { // Because Exception is the // super-class of all other // exceptions, this will catch // -all and simply print. System.out.println(e); }
  20. 20. 20 Exception handling: catching • There are some functions that are part of the classes that are handy for catching and processing exceptions. Object Exception +Exception() +Exception(:String) Throwable -detailedMessage:String +Throwable() +Throwable(:String) +getMessage():String +printStackTrace() +toString():String …
  21. 21. 21 Exception handling: catching • Example : printStackTrace() can be used by any exception to display the chain of active method calls that have been made to reach the current point in the program. – Especially useful when you don’t know how to handle an exception but realize that execution cannot properly continue. catch (Exception e) { e.printStackTrace( ); System.exit( -1); }
  22. 22. 22 Exception handling: not catching • Alternatively, the calling method may decide not to catch any exception thrown. • In this case, the exception is passed upwards to the caller of this method… and so on up the chain of method calls, until – Some method does catch it – It reaches the main() method and the default handler catches it, throws the exception and terminates the program. • This is called exception propagation.
  23. 23. 23 Exception handling: not catching • If a calling method decides to propagate a checked exception, then it must advertise it: void foo(Stack s) throws EmptyStackException { … s.pop() /* I know this might * throw an exception * but I don’t want to * handle it */ } Runtime Exceptions do not need to be advertised, even if they are propagated.
  24. 24. 24 Extra: the “finally” clause • an optional part of a try statement • contains code that is always executed; e.g., – after the try block is executed without throwing an exception – after the statements in a catch clause are executed to handle an exception try { f() } catch { g() } finally { h() } // do h() no matter what
  25. 25. 25 • There are many exceptions and you should get to know them Throwing Your Own Exceptions Exception ClassNotFound* ClassNotFound* IndexOutOfBounds* NullPointer* CloneNotSupported* IO* EOF* FileNotFound* MalformedURL* Instantiation* NoSuchMethod* Runtime* UTFDataFormat* Security* Arithmetic* ClassCast* IllegalArgument* * = Exception
  26. 26. 26 Throwing Your Own Exceptions • What do you do if none of them fit your needs ? • Alternative 1 : Throw a general exception • Good for one-time occurrences where a simple message tells all and where no generality is gained by subclassing if ( somethingBad ) { throw new Exception( “Descriptive message” + localVariable.toString() ); } • No need to keep reference to the exception object here. • Try to be informative.
  27. 27. 27 Throwing Your Own Exceptions • Alternative 2 : Simple subclass • Behaviour of class Exception is enough but you want a type by which you can identify your exception (eg. instanceOf MyException) • General method : 1. Define your class as a subclass of Exception. • Other exception classes may be subclass’ed but it is not usual • By convention, the name of your class should end with “Exception” 2. Provide constructors corresponding to Exception’s 2 constructor, simply invoking super(..) in each case • Advantage : Your Exception subclass can now be tested for in catch statements (or instanceOf) catch (MyException e) { } – Changes the handling of this exception from “ad hoc” to systematic so that clients of your classes can properly handle those exceptions possible from your class’s services.
  28. 28. 28 Throwing Your Own Exceptions • Example of a Simple Exception Subclass : Program has reached the limit on some resource. • For instance, in a Graph ADT class, an exception shall be thrown when an attempt is made to add a vertex to the graph when its capacity is reached. public class GraphFullException extends Exception { public GraphFullException() { super( ); } public GraphFullException (String msg) { super(msg); } }
  29. 29. 29 Throwing Your Own Exceptions • On the throwing side public class Graph { public addVertex (Vertex aVertex) throws GraphFullException { if (full) { throw new GraphFullException(); } } • On the catching side : try { aGraph.addVertex( aVertex ); } catch (GraphFullException e ) { };
  30. 30. 30 Throwing Your Own Exceptions • Alternative 3 : Full-blown subclass • Add either state or behaviour in order to help handle exception or for debug information. • Example : In a Graph ADT class, one of the common (internal) operations is to check whether a given vertex is present. Prepare an exception class that provides a default error string, and an accessor method to return the sought-for vertex when the exception is handled. class VertexNotFoundException extends Exception { public VertexNotFoundException( Vertex aVertex) { super(“Search for vertex failed”); vertex = aVertex; } public Vertex getVertex() { return vertex; } private Vertex vertex; }
  31. 31. 31 Tips (from Core Java Vol I) • Exception Handling is not supposed to replace a simple test – Exceptions take longer than test clauses • do not micromanage exceptions by putting try/catch blocks around each “throwable” statement. – Put try/catch statements around blocks of code that collectively perform one higher-level operation or activity. – Exceptions are meant to separate normal processing from error-handling • do not squelch exceptions – – If the compiler complains that you haven’t advertised an exception, fix it. • propagating exceptions is not a sign of shame – Decide where (at what level) it is most pertinent to handle an exception.
  32. 32. 32 JavadocTags You must document every exception thrown by every methods – Along with @param and @returns @exception : For runtime exceptions @exception IllegalArgumentException if the specified initial capacity @throws : For checkede exceptions @throws StackException if popping from empty stack