exception handling : Java Glossary


frog  exception handling

Exceptions let you handle unusual error conditions without cluttering your code with nested ifs after every method call. You can use a single piece of code at a higher level to deal with all the exceptions triggered at a lower level. You can handle some of the exceptions at lower levels and others at a higher level and others you don’t handle at all, just let them terminate your program. There are two kinds of Exceptions, checked and unchecked. You don’t need to declare unchecked Exceptions, those that derive from java.lang.Error and java.lang.RuntimeException, in your throws clauses. Checked Exceptions usually derive from java.lang.Exception.

For unchecked Exceptions ( i.e. Errors and RuntimeExceptions such as IllegalArgumentException) the throws clause is optional. I find them useful documentation since they show up in the Javadoc.

Compile Time Error Messages Roll Your Own Exception
Run Time Error Messages Status Code or Exception?
Sample Code Books
Types of Exception Learning More
Table of Specific Exceptions Links
Missing BadDataFormatException

Sample Code

The basic syntax to handle an Exception looks like this: The
String trickyMethod() throws IOException
   int result = readAnotherChar();
   if ( result < 0 ) throw new IOException( "bad data" );
   return result;

Types of Exception

Exception come is several flavours: RuntimeExceptions, Errors, Checked and Unchecked.
Type codes used in describing Exceptions
Letter Type Parent Class Checked?
(declare throws?)
R Runtime java.lang.RuntimeException Error that can occur in almost any code e.g. NullPointerException.
E Error java.lang.Error Serious error you really should not try to catch, e.g. OutOfMemoryError.
C Checked java.lang.Exception Likely exceptional condition that can only occur in specific places in the code e.g. EOFException.
Collectively, RuntimeException, Error and Exception are derived from Throwable. RuntimeException is derived from Exception, which is derived from Throwable. Error is derived directly from Throwable.

If you catch RuntimeException you will catch all manner of run time Exceptions (type R).
If you catch Error you will catch all manner of errors (type E).
If you catch Exception you will catch all manner of checked Exceptions and run time Exceptions (type R+C).
If you catch Throwable, you will catch everything, (Type R+E+C );

If the Exception is checked, you must either fob it off on the caller, with the throws clause or catch it yourself. Unchecked Exceptions are ones like running out of RAM (Random Access Memory) that, in general you can’t do much about, or that are not associated with specific problematic code, or that are very common such as IllegalArgumentException or NullPointerException. You don’t have to catch unchecked Exceptions or explicitly fob them off on the caller with throws. The classification of an Exception is not an exact science. It is a little bit like the arbitrary assignment of gender in French or German to objects. You just have to look it up. There is a major clue, Error Exceptions end in the string Error while checked Exceptions and RuntimeExceptions end in the string Exception.

Table of Specific Exceptions

Specific Exceptions
Exception Name Type Package Notes
AbstractMethodError E java.lang  
AccessControlException R java.security This is an exception that is thrown whenever a reference is made to a non-existent ACL (Access Control List) (Access Control List). notes.
AccessException C java.rmi Thrown by certain methods of the java.rmi.Naming class.
AclNotFoundException C java.security.acl Thrown whenever a reference is made to a non-existent ACL (Access Control List).
ActivateFailedException C java.rmi.activation thrown by the RMI (Remote Method Invocation) runtime when activation fails during a remote call to an activatable object.
ActivationException C java.rmi.activation  
AlreadyBoundException C javax.naming  
ApplicationException C org.omg.CORBA.portable Used for reporting application level exceptions between ORBs (Object Request Brokers) and stubs
ArithmeticException R java.lang Most commonly a divide by zero. notes.
ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException R java.lang Can be handled more generically with IndexOutOfBoundsException. notes.
ArrayStoreException R java.lang Thrown to indicate that an attempt has been made to store the wrong type of object into an array of objects. notes.
AttributeInUseException C javax.naming.directory  
AttributeModificationException C javax.naming.directory  
AuthenticationException C javax.naming  
AuthenticationNotSupportedException C javax.naming  
AWTError E java.awt  
AWTError E java/awt  
AWTException C java.awt  
BadLocationException C javax.swing.text This exception is to report bad locations within a document model.
BatchUpdateException C java.sql  
BindException C java.net Signals that an error occurred while attempting to bind a socket to a local address and port
CannotProceedException C javax.naming  
CannotRedoException R javax.swing.undo  
CannotUndoException R javax.swing.undo  
CertificateEncodingException C java.security.cert  
CertificateException C java.security.cert  
CertificateExpiredException C java.security.cert  
CertificateNotYetValidException C java.security.cert  
CertificateParsingException C java.security.cert  
ChangedCharSetException C javax.swing.text  
CharConversionException C java.io  
ClassCastException R java.lang notes.
ClassCircularityError E java.lang  
ClassFormatError E java.lang notes.
ClassNotFoundException C java.lang notes.
CloneNotSupportedException C java.lang  
CMMException R java.awt.color  
CommunicationException C javax.naming  
ConcurrentModificationException R java.util This exception may be thrown by methods that have detected concurrent modification of a backing object when such modification is not permissible, e. g. two threads modifying a HashMap simultaneously. notes.
ConfigurationException C javax.naming  
ConnectException C java.rmi  
ConnectIOException C java.rmi  
ContextNotEmptyException C javax.naming  
CRLException C java.security.cert CRL (Certificate Revocation List) (Certificate Revocation List) Exception.
DataFormatException C java.util.zip  
DigestException C java.security  
EmptyStackException R java.util Thrown by methods in the Stack class to indicate that the stack is empty. Does not refer to the system stack.
EOFException C java.io notes.
Error E java.lang Catches any serious error such as OutOfMemoryError that you unlikely can recover from.
Exception C java.lang generic. Catches any specify Exception plus general Runtime exceptions, but not Errors.
ExceptionInInitializerError E java.lang notes.
ExceptionInInitializerError E java.lang  
ExpandVetoException C javax.swing.tree  
ExportException C java.rmi.server  
FileNotFoundException C java.io  
FontFormatException C java.awt  
GeneralSecurityException C java.security  
IllegalAccessError E java.lang notes.
IllegalAccessException C java.lang Thrown when an application tries to load in a class, but the currently executing method does not have access to the definition of the specified class, because the class is not public and in another package.
IllegalArgumentException R java.lang Most common exception to reject a bad parameter to a method.
IllegalComponentStateException R java.awt  
IllegalMonitorStateException R java.lang  
IllegalPathStateException R java.awt.geom  
IllegalStateException R java.lang Signals that a method has been invoked at an illegal or inappropriate time.
IllegalThreadStateException R java.lang  
ImagingOpException R java.awt.image  
IncompatibleClassChangeError E java.lang notes.
IndexOutOfBoundsException R java.lang Similar to ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException for ArrayList.
IndirectionException R org.omg.CORBA.portable  
InstantiationError E java.lang  
InstantiationException C java.lang  
InsufficientResourcesException C javax.naming  
InternalError E java.lang  
InterruptedException C java.lang Thrown when a thread is waiting, sleeping, or otherwise paused for a long time and another thread interrupts it using the interrupt method in class Thread.
InterruptedIOException C java.io  
InterruptedNamingException C javax.naming  
IntrospectionException C java.beans  
InvalidAlgorithmParameterException C java.security This is a GeneralSecurityException. See IllegalArgumentException.
InvalidAttributeIdentifierException C javax.naming.directory  
InvalidAttributesException C javax.naming.directory  
InvalidAttributeValueException C javax.naming.directory  
InvalidClassException C java.io notes.
InvalidDnDOperationException R java.awt.dnd  
InvalidKeyException C java.security  
InvalidKeySpecException C java.security.spec  
InvalidMidiDataException C javax.sound.midi  
InvalidNameException C javax.naming  
InvalidObjectException C java.io  
InvalidParameterException R java.security  
InvalidParameterSpecException C java.security.spec  
InvalidSearchControlsException C javax.naming.directory  
InvalidSearchFilterException C javax.naming.directory  
InvalidTransactionException C javax.transaction  
InvocationTargetException C java.lang.reflect  
IOException C java.io  
JarException C java.util.jar  
KeyException C java.security  
KeyManagementException C java.security  
KeyStoreException C java.security  
LastOwnerException C java.security.acl  
LdapReferralException C javax.naming.ldap  
LimitExceededException C javax.naming  
LineUnavailableException C javax.sound.sampled  
LinkageError E java.lang  
LinkException C javax.naming  
LinkLoopException C javax.naming  
MalformedLinkException C javax.naming  
MalformedURLException C java.net  
MarshalException C java.rmi  
MidiUnavailableException C javax.sound.midi  
MimeTypeParseException C java.awt.datatransfer  
MissingResourceException R java.util  
NameAlreadyBoundException C javax.naming  
NameNotFoundException C javax.naming  
NamingException C javax.naming  
NamingSecurityException C javax.naming  
NegativeArraySizeException R java.lang  
NoClassDefFoundError E java.lang notes.
NoInitialContextException C javax.naming  
NoninvertibleTransformException C java.awt.geom  
NoPermissionException C javax.naming  
NoRouteToHostException C java.net  
NoSuchAlgorithmException C java.security  
NoSuchAttributeException C javax.naming.directory  
NoSuchElementException R java.util  
NoSuchFieldError E java.lang  
NoSuchFieldException C java.lang  
NoSuchMethodError E java.lang notes.
NoSuchMethodException C java.lang  
NoSuchObjectException C java.rmi  
NoSuchProviderException C java.security notes.
NotActiveException C java.io Thrown when serialization or deserialization is not active
NotBoundException C java.rmi  
NotContextException C javax.naming  
NotOwnerException C java.security.acl  
NotSerializableException C java.io notes.
NullPointerException R java.lang Actually a null reference exception. notes.
NumberFormatException R java.lang Commonly thrown when a String is converted to internal binary numeric format. notes.
ObjectStreamException C java.io  
OperationNotSupportedException C javax.naming  
OptionalDataException C java.io Unexpected data appeared in an ObjectInputStream trying to read an Object. Occurs when the stream contains primitive data instead of the object that is expected by readObject. The EOF (End Of File) flag in the exception is true indicating that no more primitive data is available. The count field contains the number of bytes available to read.
OutOfMemoryError E java.lang By the time this happens it is almost too late. gc has already done what it could. Possibly some process has just started gobbling RAM, or perhaps the problem you are trying to solve is just too big for the size of the allotted virtual ram. You can control that with the java.exe command line switches.
ParseException C java.text  
PartialResultException C javax.naming  
PolicyError E org.omg.CORBA  
PrinterAbortException C java.awt.print  
PrinterException C java.awt.print  
PrinterIOException C java.awt.print  
PrivilegedActionException C java.security  
ProfileDataException R java.awt.color  
PropertyVetoException C java.beans  
ProtocolException C java.net  
ProviderException R java.security  
RasterFormatException R java.awt.image  
ReferralException C javax.naming  
RemarshalException C org.omg.CORBA.portable  
RemoteException C java.rmi  
RMISecurityException C java.rmi  
RuntimeException R java.lang Error that can occur in almost any code e.g. NullPointerException. Use this when to catch general errors when no specific exception is being thrown.
SchemaViolationException C javax.naming.directory  
SecurityException R java.lang  
ServerCloneException C java.rmi.server  
ServerError E java.rmi  
ServerException C java.rmi  
ServerNotActiveException C java.rmi.server  
ServerRuntimeException C java.rmi  
ServiceUnavailableException C javax.naming  
SignatureException C java.security  
SizeLimitExceededException C javax.naming  
SkeletonMismatchException C java.rmi.server  
SkeletonNotFoundException C java.rmi.server  
SocketException C java.net  
SocketSecurityException C java.rmi.server  
SQLException C java.sql  
StackOverflowError E java.lang notes.
StreamCorruptedException C java.io ObjectStream data are scrambled. notes.
StringIndexOutOfBoundsException R java.lang Can be handled more generically with IndexOutOfBoundsException. notes.
StubNotFoundException C java.rmi  
SyncFailedException C java.io  
SystemException R org.omg.CORBA  
TimeLimitExceededException C javax.naming  
TooManyListenersException C java.util  
TransactionRequiredException C javax.transaction  
TransactionRolledbackException C javax.transaction  
UndeclaredThrowableException R java.lang.reflect  
UnexpectedException R java.rmi  
UnknownError E java.lang  
UnknownException R org.omg.CORBA.portable  
UnknownGroupException C java.rmi.activation  
UnknownHostException C java.rmi  
UnknownHostException C java.net  
UnknownObjectException C java.rmi.activation  
UnknownServiceException C java.net  
UnknownUserException C org.omg.CORBA  
UnmarshalException C java.rmi notes.
UnrecoverableKeyException C java.security  
UnsatisfiedLinkError E java.lang notes.
UnsupportedAudioFileException C javax.sound.sampled  
UnsupportedClassVersionError E java.lang notes.
UnsupportedDataTypeException C java.io undocumented. notes.
UnsupportedEncodingException C java.io  
UnsupportedFlavorException C java.awt.datatransfer  
UnsupportedLookAndFeelException C javax.swing  
UnsupportedOperationException R java.lang Use for code not yet implemented, or that you deliberately did not implement.
UserException C org.omg.CORBA  
UTFDataFormatException C java.io  
VerifyError E java.lang notes.
VirtualMachineError E java.lang  
WriteAbortedException C java.io  
ZipException C java.util.zip notes.

Missing BadDataFormatException

There is no BadDataFormatException to complain about badly formatted data files. You would expect there to be one either derived from IllegalArgumentException like NumberFormatException or from IOException like UTFDataFormatException. You can either reuse IllegalArgumentException or IOException, or roll your own BadDataFormatException.

Roll Your Own Exception

Rolling your own Exception is easy:

Status Code or Exception?

Should you report problems with a status code returned from a method or with an Exception? The C-style is to use status codes.


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Learning More

Oracle’s Javadoc on RuntimeException class : available:
Oracle’s Javadoc on Error class : available:
Oracle’s Javadoc on Exception class : available:

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