Discussion: what is the proper way to handle error's

Posted on 2008-10-23
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
Hi I am having a discussion what the best way is to handle error's,

Method 1
if SaveChanges(param1,param2) then
   msgbox("Saving succesfulll")
   msgbox("Something went wrong")

Method 2
   msgbox("Saving succesfulll")
   msgbox("Something went wrong")
end try

private sub SaveChanges()  (with try - catch and  throw error)    
private function SaveChanges as boolean   (with try - catch and return value)

It is also possible that one method isn't better than the other, just different way of handeling things.
Question by:dgb

Expert Comment

Comment Utility
Is SaveChanges a public method, if so then throw the error, otherwise you probably want to handle it.
LVL 48

Accepted Solution

jpaulino earned 170 total points
Comment Utility
It's the same, but the Try ... Catch ... End Try method can handle some unexpected errors that you may have.
I use bought methods and only depends of the place. For example in your second example if you want to write code after the SaveChanges() function and just display a waning message, it would be prefer to use the first one.
Bought are valid methods.

Author Comment

Comment Utility
SaveChanges is a private function within a form
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LVL 13

Assisted Solution

TechTiger007 earned 165 total points
Comment Utility

You can catch the exception and first log the exception message and stack trace to a log file. Then return false or throw a new exception with user readable message . In the calling function you can display this message to the user or do anything else. It is always better to handle exceptions in same function where ever possible, one method should not expect its calling method to handle the exception, that will improve re usability. So I would suggest you to return boolean


Assisted Solution

mkosbie earned 165 total points
Comment Utility
It depends on what you need the error checking for.  Throwing/handling an exception is FAR more versatile:
  - You can handle multiple error types (eg out of memory, invalid argument)
  - You can attach a message to the error
  - You have access to a stack trace
  - You can catch/handle errors you didn't anticipate (eg null pointer)
  - You can normally interpret and attempt to correct the error in code (rather than relying on the user)

A boolean return provides none of those.  The added functionality doesn't always mean you should jump to throwing/handling errors.  If in your method you only care about whether or not the changes worked, and don't care why, a boolean is a better option.  The boolean is generally faster and easier to code with.

Author Closing Comment

Comment Utility
Thanks everybody

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