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Mistakes to Avoid When Handling Java Exceptions | @CloudExpo #Java #Cloud #Analytics
You either need to specify or handle a checked exception

Seven Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Handling Java Exceptions
By Thorben Janssen

Handling an exception is one of the most common but not necessarily one of the easiest tasks. It is still one of the frequently discussed topics in experienced teams, and there are several best practices and common mistakes you should be aware of.

Here are a few things you should avoid when handling exceptions in your application.

Mistake 1: Specify a java.lang.Exception or java.lang.Throwable
As I explained in one of my previous posts, you either need to specify or handle a checked exception. But checked exceptions are not the only ones you can specify. You can use any subclass of java.lang.Throwable in a throws clause. So, instead of specifying the two different exceptions that are thrown by the following code snippet, you could just use the java.lang.Exception in the throws clause.

But that doesn't mean that you should do that. Specifying an Exception or Throwable makes it almost impossible to handle them properly when calling your method.

The only information the caller of your method gets is that something might go wrong. But you don't share any information about the kind of exceptional events that might occur. You're hiding this information behind an unspecific throws clause.

It gets even worse when your application changes over time. The unspecific throws clause hides all changes to the exceptions that a caller has to expect and handle. That might cause several unexpected errors that you need to find by a test case instead of a compiler error.

Use specific classes
It's, therefore, much better to specify the most specific exception classes even if you have to use multiple of them. That tells the caller of your method which exceptional events need to be handled. It also allows you to update the throws clause when your method throws an additional exception. So your clients are aware of the change and even get an error if you change your throws clause. That is much easier to find and handle than an exception that only shows up when you run a particular test case.

Mistake 2: Catch unspecific exceptions
The severity of this mistake depends on the kind of software component you're implementing and where you catch the exception. It might be ok to catch a java.lang.Exception in the main method of your Java SE application. But you should prefer to catch specific exceptions, if you're implementing a library or if you're working on deeper layers of your application.

That provides several benefits. It allows you to handle each exception class differently and it prevents you from catching exceptions you didn't expect.

But keep in mind that the first catch block that handles the exception class or one of its superclasses will catch it. So, make sure to catch the most specific class first. Otherwise, your IDEs will show an error or warning message telling you about an unreachable code block.

Mistake 3: Log and throw an Exception
That is one of the most popular mistakes when handling Java exceptions. It might seem logical to log the exception where it was thrown and then rethrow it to the caller who can implement a use case specific handling. But you should not do it for the following three reasons:

  1. You don't have enough information about the use case the caller of your method wants to implement. The exception might be part of the expected behavior and handled by the client. In this case, there might be no need to log it. That would only add a false error message to your log file which needs to be filtered by your operations team.
  2. The log message doesn't provide any information that isn't already part of the exception itself. Its message and stack trace should provide all relevant information about the exceptional event. The message describes it, and the stack trace contains detailed information about the class, method, and line in which it occurred.
  3. You might log the same exception multiple times when you log it in every catch block that catches it. That messes up the statistics in your monitoring tool and makes the log file harder to read for your operations and development team.

Log it when you handle it
So, better only log the exception when you handle it. Like in the following code snippet. The doSomething method throws the exception. The doMore method just specifies it because the developer doesn't have enough information to handle it. And it then gets handled in the doEvenMore method which also writes a log message.

Mistake 4: Use exceptions to control the flow
Using exceptions to control the flow of your application is considered an anti-pattern for two main reasons:

  1. They basically work like a Go To statement because they cancel the execution of a code block and jump to the first catch block that handles the exception. That makes the code very hard to read.
  2. They are not as efficient as Java's common control structures. As their name indicates, you should only use them for exceptional events, and the JVM doesn't optimize them in the same way as the other code.

So, better use proper conditions to break your loops or if-else-statements to decide which code blocks should be executed.

Mistake 5: Remove original cause of the exception
You sometimes might want to wrap an exception in a different one. Maybe your team decided to use a custom business exception with error codes and a unified handling. There's nothing wrong with this approach as long as you don't remove the cause.

When you instantiate a new exception, you should always set the caught exception as its cause. Otherwise, you lose the message and stack trace that describe the exceptional event that caused your exception. The Exception class and all its subclasses provide several constructor methods which accept the original exception as a parameter and set it as the cause.

Mistake 6: Generalize exceptions
When you generalize an exception, you catch a specific one, like a NumberFormatException, and throw an unspecific java.lang.Exception instead. That is similar to but even worse than the first mistake I described in this post. It not only hides the information about the specific error case on your API, but it also makes it difficult to access.

As you can see in the following code snippet, even if you know which exceptions the method might throw, you can't simply catch them. You need to catch the generic Exception class and then check the type of its cause. This code is not only cumbersome to implement, but it's also hard to read. It get's even worse if you combine this approach with mistake 5. That removes all information about the exceptional event.

So, what's the better approach?

Be specific and keep the cause
That's easy to answer. The exceptions that you throw should always be as specific as possible. And if you wrap an exception, you should also set the original one as the cause so that you don't lose the stack trace and other information that describe the exceptional event.

Mistake 7: Add unnecessary exception transformations
As I explained earlier, it can be useful to wrap exceptions into custom ones as long as you set the original exception as its cause. But some architects overdo it and introduce a custom exception class for each architectural layer. So, they catch an exception in the persistence layer and wrap it into a MyPersistenceException. The business layer catches and wraps it in a MyBusinessException, and this continues until it reaches the API layer or gets handled.

It's easy to see that these additional exception classes don't provide any benefits. They just introduce additional layers that wrap the exception. And while it might be fun to wrap a present in a lot of colorful paper, it's not a good approach in software development.

Make sure to add information
Just think about the code that needs to handle the exception or yourself when you need to find the problem that caused the exception. You first need to dig through several layers of exceptions to find the original cause. And until today, I've never seen an application that used this approach and added useful information with each exception layer. They either generalize the error message and code, or they provide redundant information.

So, be careful with the number of custom exception classes you introduce. You should always ask yourself if the new exception class provides any additional information or other benefits. In most cases, you don't need more than one layer of custom exceptions to achieve that.

More about Java Exceptions
As you've seen, there are several common mistakes you should try to avoid when you handle Java exceptions. That helps you to avoid common bugs and to implement applications that are easy to maintain and to monitor in production.

If this quick list of common mistakes was useful, you should also take a look at my best practices post. It provides you with a list of recommendations that are used by most software development teams to implement their exception handling and to avoid problems like the ones described in this post.

When using Retrace APM with code profiling, you can collect exceptions directly from Java, without any code changes!

The post 7 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Handling Java Exceptions appeared first on Stackify.

Read the original blog entry...

About Stackify Blog
Stackify offers the only developers-friendly solution that fully integrates error and log management with application performance monitoring and management. Allowing you to easily isolate issues, identify what needs to be fixed quicker and focus your efforts – Support less, Code more. Stackify provides software developers, operations and support managers with an innovative cloud based solution that gives them DevOps insight and allows them to monitor, detect and resolve application issues before they affect the business to ensure a better end user experience. Start your free trial now stackify.com

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Testimonials
This week I had the pleasure of delivering the opening keynote at Cloud Expo New York. It was amazing to be back in the great city of New York with thousands of cloud enthusiasts eager to learn about the next step on their journey to embracing a cloud-first worldl."
@SteveMar_Msft
General Manager of Window Azure
 
How does Cloud Expo do it every year? Another INCREDIBLE show - our heads are spinning - so fun and informative."
@SOASoftwareInc
 
Thank you @ThingsExpo for such a great event. All of the people we met over the past three days makes us confident IoT has a bright future."
Yasser Khan
CEO of @Cnnct2me
 
One of the best conferences we have attended in a while. Great job, Cloud Expo team! Keep it going."

@Peak_Ten


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@CloudExpo Blogs
While Artificial Intelligence (AI) may not be a new concept, its contribution to automation may just change the face of business. AI's conception dates as far back as 1950, when Alan Turing proposed the Turing test in order to evaluate a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior. Fast-forward a couple of decades and research led to the creation of well-known theoretical tools such as Fuzzy Logic, Bayesian Networks, Markov Models and Neural Networks. Concurrently, new types of programming languages such as Prolog, LISP and Smalltalk set the scene for most of the modern interpreted langu...
Blockchain offers impeccable security with its cryptography-based decentralized system as well as the plethora of possible uses retailers could exploit in the near future. In a world of increasing cyberattacks, internet fraud and online hacking, blockchain comes as a breath of fresh air. With its encrypted data and decentralized network system, it's a thorn in every hacker's side. Generally being associated with the finance sector, blockchain is now taking retail by storm. It's on a course that will change the retail industry as we know it. But how exactly is it going to achieve such a feat?
The “Internet of Things” is an exciting area of tech, one in which industry experts estimate there will be more than 30 billion connected IoT devices by 2020. IoT is the inter-networking and instrumentation of physical devices – everything from streets, cars, factories, power grids, ice caps, satellites, and clothing to phones, microwaves, milk containers, planets, human bodies, etc. IoT creates an opportunity to measure, collect and analyze an ever-increasing variety of behavioral statistics. That being said, data, and more importantly insight into the data, is key for enhanced business val...
In an attempt to put the patient first in healthcare, Congress and President Obama in 2015 approved a bipartisan bill for United States healthcare reform. The bill is known as “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015,” or MACRA. Among the major provisions of MACRA is the Quality Payment Program. Under the Quality Payment Program, physicians and nurses receive positive, neutral or negative Medicare payment adjustments based upon a “Patient Satisfaction Score,” that is, patient satisfaction scores have a direct impact on how physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and hospital’s g...
The high barrier to entry prevents many companies from tapping into the full potential of machine learning. But what if you could make it more accessible? We’re in the midst of a data explosion, with today’s enterprises amassing goldmines of information (25 quintillion bytes of data every day, according to some reports). But what exactly are they doing with this data? Considering the volume of data being collected is quickly becoming unmanageable, now is a good time to shift from manual machine learning to a cognitive approach. This enables businesses to better capitalize on their data and fa...
Our work, both with clients and with tools, has lead us to wonder how it is that organizations are handling compliance issues in the cloud. The big cloud vendors offer compliance for their infrastructure, but the shared responsibility model requires that you take certain steps to meet compliance requirements. Which lead us to start poking around a little more. We wanted to get a picture of what was available, and how it was being used. There is a lot of fluidity in this space, as in all things cloud. The fact that DevOps Security plays into the cloud compliance model – particularly in dynamic ...
Gaining visibility in today’s sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Microservices Reference Architecture that highlights various sub systems needed to support Microservic...
The notion of improving operational efficiency is conspicuously absent from the healthcare debate - neither Obamacare nor the newly proposed GOP plan discusses the impact that a step-function improvement in efficiency could have on access to healthcare (through more capacity), quality of healthcare services (through reduced wait times for patients) or cost (through better utilization of scarce, expensive assets).
Most of us understand that artificial intelligence (AI) offers opportunities for productivity improvements in the form of speed, automation, standardized actions and responses, plus the opportunity for continuous improvements via machine learning. These opportunities are enabled by data inputs that are analyzed and processed through AI algorithms that execute a desired decision and action. For all of the great capabilities and benefits that AI can provide, there is also a potential dark side. AI solutions can easily codify our prejudices, bias, gender stereotypes and promote injustices intenti...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday priorities of the business world. However, with the passage of time, this scenario is much more democr...
It’s conference season and, as you might expect, Jason and I have been on the road covering a bunch of them. It’s always great to see what the disruptive players in the market are doing — and this year did not disappoint. But there is one thing that repeatedly happens that just gets under my skin: transformation-washing. As Jason explained in a Forbes article over a year ago, ‘washing’ is when a vendor (or pundit) applies a buzzword loosely in an overt attempt to attach themselves to its buzz. And transformation-washing is rampant.
Networks have become large, complex entities that are increasingly difficult to manage and control. Security, audit, risk and compliance professionals know that their organizations rely on them for effective risk management, control and governance processes that are essential to the safety of their network environment. Yet compliance and security are more challenging than ever before as additional layers are added to this environment. One of the challenges lies in the fact that there is an ongoing, huge access gap in network security and compliance – and it has been residing within the enviro...
Some journey to cloud on a mission, others, a deadline. Change management is useful when migrating to public, private or hybrid cloud environments in either case. For most, stakeholder engagement peaks during the planning and post migration phases of a project. Legacy engagements are fairly direct: projects follow a linear progression of activities (the “waterfall” approach) – change managers and application coders work from the same functional and technical requirements. Enablement and development mirror one another, progressing from proof-of-concept planning to final product delivery. Exce...
Fingerspitzengefühl: A German word used to describe the ability to maintain attention to detail in an ever-changing operational and tactical environment by maintaining real-time situational awareness. The term is synonymous with the English expression of "keeping one's finger on the pulse". The problem with fingerspitzengefühl traditionally, in addition to pronouncing it, has been it is hard for an individual to scale up. Today that is changing. In a world of sensors, AI and mobile devices, having real-time situational awareness is far easier than ever before. In fact, today the challenge i...
Making informed network investment decisions about emerging technologies such as network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help evolve the network to keep pace with the innovations of the devices and people it’s connecting. As you work with business leaders to make decisions about upgrading your infrastructure with these networking developments, it’s important to understand the similarities, differences, and benefits of dual NFV and SDN implementation. With their ability to offer a new way to design, deploy, and manage the network and its services, NFV a...
For DevOps teams, the concepts behind service-oriented architecture (SOA) are nothing new. A style of software design initially made popular in the 1990s, SOA was an alternative to a monolithic application; essentially a collection of coarse-grained components that communicated with each other. Communication would involve either simple data passing or two or more services coordinating some activity. SOA served as a valid approach to solving many architectural problems faced by businesses, as applications could be developed by more teams working in parallel and more productively by reusing orig...
Many IT organizations have come to learn that leveraging cloud infrastructure is not just unavoidable, it’s one of the most effective paths for IT organizations to become more responsive to business needs. Yet with the cloud comes new challenges, including minimizing downtime, decreasing the cost of operations, and preventing employee burnout to name a few. As companies migrate their processes and procedures to their new reality of a cloud-based infrastructure, an incident management solution can and should be adopted to help overcome these challenges. This is particularly true when larger ...
We’re seeing an emerging trend in the cloud computing world. I’ve been referring to it as cloud fatigue, but it’s more commonly known as repatriation, or moving workloads from the cloud back to on-prem locations. According to a recent 451 Research report, over 21 percent of organizations have plans to pull back from the cloud and return to an on-prem infrastructure in 2017. Considering the vast growth of cloud adoption over the last several years, what’s behind this trend?