Java Reference
In-Depth Information
Throwing an exception
Code 12.5 shows how an exception is thrown using a throw statement . Here, the getDetails
method is throwing an exception to indicate that passing a null value for the key does not
make sense because it is not a valid key.
Code 12.5
Throwing an exception
* Look up a name or phone number and return the
* corresponding contact details.
* @param key The name or number to be looked up.
* @return The details corresponding to the key,
* or null if there are none matching.
* @throws IllegalArgumentException if the key is invalid.
public ContactDetails getDetails(String key)
if (key == null ){
throw new IllegalArgumentException(
"null key in getDetails" );
return book.get(key);
There are two stages to throwing an exception. First, an exception object is created using the
new keyword (in this case, an IllegalArgumentException object); then the exception
object is thrown using the throw keyword. These two stages are almost invariably combined in
a single statement:
An exception is
an object repre-
senting details of
a program failure.
An exception is
thrown to indicate
that a failure has
throw new ExceptionType (" optional-diagnostic-string ");
When an exception object is created, a diagnostic string may be passed to its constructor.
This string is later available to the receiver of the exception via the exception object's get-
Message and toString methods. The string is also shown to the user if the exception is not
handled and leads to the termination of the program. The exception type we have used here,
IllegalArgumentException , is defined in the java.lang package and is regularly used to
indicate that an inappropriate actual parameter value has been passed to a method or constructor.
Code 12.5 also illustrates that the javadoc documentation for a method can be expanded to
include details of any exceptions it throws, using the @throws tag.
Checked and unchecked exceptions
An exception object is always an instance of a class from a special inheritance hierarchy. We
can create new exception types by creating subclasses in this hierarchy (Figure 12.1). Strictly
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