How to PROPERLY throw errors in JS? [SOLVED]


Written by - Olorunfemi Akinlua
Reviewed by - Deepak Prasad

JavaScript is a versatile programming language widely used in web development and beyond. As developers create increasingly complex applications, proper error handling becomes vital for maintaining application stability and providing a seamless user experience. One crucial aspect of error handling in JavaScript is the throw statement, which enables developers to signal errors or exceptional situations explicitly.

The throw statement, combined with JavaScript error handling mechanisms like try-catch blocks, allows for graceful recovery from unexpected scenarios, minimizing the impact of errors on users. Employing the JavaScript throw error mechanism ensures that applications can handle unexpected behavior, prevent data corruption, and mitigate security vulnerabilities. By interrupting the normal flow of the program and propagating an error object through the call stack, the throw statement helps create robust and maintainable JavaScript applications.

 

Different JavaScript Error Types

JavaScript has several built-in error types that can be used to represent and handle different kinds of errors. The main built-in error types are:

  1. Error: The base class for all other error types, representing a generic error.
  2. ReferenceError: Thrown when a non-existent variable is referenced.
  3. TypeError: Thrown when an operation is performed on an incompatible data type.
  4. RangeError: Thrown when a value is outside the allowable range (e.g., invalid array length).
  5. SyntaxError: Thrown when a syntax error is encountered while parsing JavaScript code.
  6. URIError: Thrown when an illegal URI is encountered, typically during encoding or decoding operations.
  7. EvalError: Thrown when an error occurs while using the eval() function, although this is rare in modern JavaScript.

You can create custom error types by extending the base Error object to handle specific error situations more precisely.

 

Using throw Statement

The throw statement in JavaScript is used to explicitly signal an error or an exceptional situation in the code. When a throw statement is encountered, the normal flow of the program is interrupted, and an error object is created. The general syntax for the throw

throw expression;

The expression can be an instance of any of the built-in error types or a custom error object. It's also possible to throw other types of objects (e.g., strings, numbers), but it's generally recommended to use error objects for better debugging and handling.

 

Using Try-Catch-Finally

The try-catch-finally block in JavaScript is used to handle exceptions or errors that may occur during the execution of a block of code. The block has the following structure:

try {
  // Code that may throw an error
} catch (error) {
  // Code to handle the error
} finally {
  // Code that will always run, regardless of whether an error occurred or not
}

Here,

  • Try: The try block contains the code that might throw an error. If an error is thrown within this block, the code execution is halted, and the control is passed to the catch block.
  • Catch: The catch block is used to handle the error thrown from the try block. The error object is passed to the catch block as a parameter, allowing you to access its properties and handle the error accordingly.
  • Finally: The finally block contains code that will always be executed, regardless of whether an error was thrown or not. This block is useful for cleanup tasks or restoring the application state after an error has been handled.

 

Practical use case of throwing errors in JavaScript

There are many situations where we may want to throw an error in JavaScript. Let's look at some examples of how we can use the throw keyword to throw both custom and built-in errors.

 

Throwing a Custom Error

We can throw custom errors in JavaScript by creating an instance of the Error object and passing a custom error message to the constructor.

Here's an example:

function divide(a, b) {
    if (b === 0) {
        throw new Error("Cannot divide by zero");
    }
    return a / b;
}

try {
    const result = divide(10, 0);
    console.log(result);
} catch (err) {
    console.log(err.message);
}

Output

Cannot divide by zero

In this example, we define a divide function that checks if the second argument is zero. If it is, we throw a custom Error object with the message "Cannot divide by zero". When we call the divide function with arguments 10 and 0, an error is thrown and caught by the catch block, which logs the error message to the console.

 

Throwing a Built-in Error

JavaScript also provides several built-in error types that we can throw, such as RangeError, ReferenceError, and TypeError.

Here's an illustration of how to build and throw a built-in error

function getFirstLetter(str) {
    if (typeof str !== "string") {
        throw new TypeError("Input must be a string");
    }
    if (str.length === 0) {
        throw new RangeError("Input string cannot be empty");
    }
    return str.charAt(0);
}

try {
    const letter = getFirstLetter(42);
    console.log(letter);
} catch (err) {
    console.log(err.message);
}

Output

Input must be a string

In this example, we define a getFirstLetter function that checks if the input is a string and has at least one character. If either of these conditions is not met, we throw a TypeError or RangeError, respectively. When we call the getFirstLetter function with the number 42, a TypeError is thrown and caught by the catch block, which logs the error message to the console.

 

Best Practices for Error Throwing in JavaScript

While throwing errors in JavaScript can be useful, it's important to follow some best practices to ensure that errors are handled correctly and do not cause unexpected behavior in our programs.

  • Providing Clear Error Messages: When throwing custom errors, it's important to provide clear and concise error messages that explain what went wrong and how to fix it. This can make it easier for developers to identify and address errors in their code, and can also make it easier for end-users to understand what went wrong if an error is displayed to them.
  • Handling Errors Gracefully: In addition to throwing errors, it's important to handle errors gracefully in our code. This means catching errors using try-catch statements and taking appropriate action based on the type of error that occurred. For example, we may want to log an error message to the console, display an error message to the user, or take some other action to address the error.

It's also important to avoid using try-catch blocks too liberally, as this can make it harder to identify and fix errors in our code. Instead, we should only catch errors that we can handle and let other errors propagate up the call stack to be caught by higher-level error handlers.

 

Summary

In this article, we've explored the concept of throwing errors in JavaScript, along with some examples and best practices. By understanding how to throw errors in JavaScript and following best practices for error handling, we can write more robust and reliable code that is better equipped to handle unexpected errors and edge cases.

Remember to always provide clear and concise error messages when throwing custom errors, and to handle errors gracefully using try-catch statements. With these best practices in mind, you can write JavaScript code that is more resilient and easier to maintain.

 

References

try...catch - JavaScript | MDN (mozilla.org)
throw - JavaScript | MDN (mozilla.org)

 

Olorunfemi Akinlua

He is boasting over five years of experience in JavaScript, specializing in technical content writing and UX design. With a keen focus on programming languages, he crafts compelling content and designs user-friendly interfaces to enhance digital experiences across various domains. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Can't find what you're searching for? Let us assist you.

Enter your query below, and we'll provide instant results tailored to your needs.

If my articles on GoLinuxCloud has helped you, kindly consider buying me a coffee as a token of appreciation.

Buy GoLinuxCloud a Coffee

For any other feedbacks or questions you can send mail to admin@golinuxcloud.com

Thank You for your support!!

Leave a Comment