Exception Handling

JavaScript has an Error class that you can use for exceptions. You throw an error with the throw keyword. You can catch it with a try / catch block pair e.g.

try {
  throw new Error('Something bad happened');
}
catch(e) {
  console.log(e);
}

Error Sub Types

Beyond the built in Error class there are a few additional built-in error classes that inherit from Error that the JavaScript runtime can throw:

RangeError

Creates an instance representing an error that occurs when a numeric variable or parameter is outside of its valid range.

// Call console with too many arguments
console.log.apply(console, new Array(1000000000)); // RangeError: Invalid array length

ReferenceError

Creates an instance representing an error that occurs when de-referencing an invalid reference. e.g.

'use strict';
console.log(notValidVar); // ReferenceError: notValidVar is not defined

SyntaxError

Creates an instance representing a syntax error that occurs while parsing code that isn't valid JavaScript.

1***3; // SyntaxError: Unexpectd token *

TypeError

Creates an instance representing an error that occurs when a variable or parameter is not of a valid type.

('1.2').toPrecision(1); // TypeError: '1.2'.toPrecision is not a function

URIError

Creates an instance representing an error that occurs when encodeURI() or decodeURI() are passed invalid parameters.

decodeURI('%'); // URIError: URI malformed

Always use Error

Beginner JavaScript developers sometimes just throw raw strings e.g.

try {
  throw 'Something bad happened';
}
catch(e) {
  console.log(e);
}

Don't do that. The fundamental benefit of Error objects is that they automatically keep track of where they were built and originated as the stack property.

Raw strings result in a very painful debugging experience and complicate error analysis from logs.

You don't have to throw an error

It is okay to pass an Error object around. This is conventional in NodeJS callback style code which take callbacks with the first argument as an error object.

function myFunction (callback: (e?: Error)) {
  doSomethingAsync(function () {
    if (somethingWrong) {
      callback(new Error('This is my error'))
    } else {
      callback();
    }
  });
}

Exceptional cases

Exceptions should be exceptional is a common saying in computer science. There are few resons why this is true for JavaScript (and TypeScript) as well.

Unclear where it is thrown

Consider the following piece of code:

try {
  const foo = runTask1();
  const bar = runTask2();
}
catch(e) {
  console.log('Error:', e);
}

The next developer cannot know which funtion might throw the error. The person reviewing the code cannot know without reading the code for task1 / task2 and other functions they might call etc.

Makes graceful handling hard

You can try to make it graceful with explicit catch around each thing that might throw:

try {
  const foo = runTask1();
}
catch(e) {
  console.log('Error:', e);
}
try {
  const bar = runTask2();
}
catch(e) {
  console.log('Error:', e);
}

But now if you need to pass stuff from the first task to the second one the code becomes messy: (notice foo mutation requiring let + explicit need for annotating it because it cannot be inferred from the return of runTask1):

let foo: number; // Notice use of `let` and explicit type annotation
try {
  foo = runTask1();
}
catch(e) {
  console.log('Error:', e);
}
try {
  const bar = runTask2(foo);
}
catch(e) {
  console.log('Error:', e);
}

Not well represented in the type system

Consider the function:

function validate(value: number) {
  if (value < 0 || value > 100) throw new Error('Invalid value');
}

Using Error for such cases is a bad idea as it is not represented in the type definition for the validate function (which is (value:number) => void). Instead a better way to create a validate method would be:

function validate(value: number): {error?: string} {
  if (value < 0 || value > 100) return {error:'Invalid value'};
}

And now its represented in the type system.

Unless you want to handle the error in a very generic (simple / catch-all etc) way, don't throw an error.

results matching ""

    No results matching ""