Friday, June 06, 2008

Exception stack trace for final users

In Matrex, like in other programs, it is not always possible to show a simple message box when an error occurred.
Sometimes what I have is an exception occurred deep down in the code, may be in a library.
Nevertheless something has to be shown to the user to let him understand that an error has occurred and give him all the available information to decide what to do.
A classic exception stack trace is not an option: together with the exception text it contains a lot of information to localize the code that generated the exception.
This information, that is precious for the developer, is probably unuseful and confusing for the final user.
For this reason I wrote a small function that transform the exception in a string that contains only the texts of the exception and of all contained (cause) exceptions. Here is the code:

public static String flatException(Throwable e)
StringBuilder b = new StringBuilder();
while(e != null)
e = e.getCause();
return b.toString();

Even if the number of contained exception is large, the message is generally simple and gives immediately an idea of what happened.
This is not intended as a substitute of the classic stack trace, which is written in the application log file so that if needed it can be examined by the developer.

No comments: