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structured_20exception_20handling

Structured Exception Handling

by Richard Russell, April 2008

Several modern programming languages (e.g. C++, Java and Visual Basic) provide a Structured Exception Handling capability. Typically this uses a syntax similar to the following:

  try
    {
      // Code you want to execute, which might result in an error
    }
  catch
    {
      // Code to execute if an error occurred in the 'try' clause
    }

The try clause contains the code you want to execute, which may consist of any number of statements and may optionally call subroutines. This is the code that you anticipate might result in an error being generated. The catch clause contains the code you want to be executed if an error occurs whilst executing the try clause. Whether or not an error occurs, execution continues normally after the catch clause.

BBC BASIC does not natively provide such a facility, but in BBC BASIC for Windows you can emulate the behaviour quite easily as follows:

        ON ERROR LOCAL IF FALSE THEN
          REM. 'Try' clause:
          REM. Code you want to execute, which might result in an error
        ELSE
          REM. 'Catch' clause:
          REM. Code to execute if an error occurred in the 'try' clause
        ENDIF : RESTORE ERROR

Note particularly the unusual compound statement “ON ERROR LOCAL IF FALSE THEN” and the “RESTORE ERROR” on the last line.

If you want to deal with different errors in different ways you can easily do that as follows:

        ON ERROR LOCAL IF FALSE THEN
          REM. 'Try' clause:
          INPUT expr$
          PRINT EVAL(expr$)
        ELSE
          REM. 'Catch' clause:
          CASE ERR OF
            WHEN 18: PRINT "Division by zero exception"
            WHEN 20: PRINT "Number too big exception"
            OTHERWISE RESTORE ERROR : ERROR ERR, REPORT$
          ENDCASE
        ENDIF : RESTORE ERROR

In this example the user can enter an expression, which is evaluated by BASIC and the result printed. If an expected error occurs during the evaluation of the expression (for example if the user entered 1/0) then a message appropriate to the error is printed. If an unexpected error occurs it is 'passed down' to the exception handler at the next lower level (if any).

Languages that provide Structured Exception Handling generally also provide a mechanism for causing a specific error to occur, typically by means of a throw statement:

  {
    throw new StrangeException("Oh dear");
  }

In BBC BASIC you can of course emulate this directly:

        ON ERROR LOCAL IF FALSE THEN
          REM. 'Try' clause:
          INPUT expr$
          IF expr$="" ERROR 100, "Empty string entered" : REM 'Throw'
          PRINT EVAL(expr$)
        ELSE
          REM. 'Catch' clause:
          CASE ERR OF
            WHEN 18: PRINT "Division by zero exception"
            WHEN 20: PRINT "Number too big exception"
            WHEN 100: PRINT "Nothing was entered"
            OTHERWISE RESTORE ERROR : ERROR ERR, REPORT$
          ENDCASE
        ENDIF : RESTORE ERROR

Here an error is generated if the user enters nothing, and this is handled by the catch clause.

If the code contained in the try clause includes a function or procedure call, and if an error occurs in that function or procedure (or any that it calls), then any formal parameters and LOCAL variables will not be automatically restored to the values they had before the call. If this is a problem RESTORE LOCAL can be used within the function or procedure (see Cascaded error handling):

        DEF PROCmightfail(parameters)
        LOCAL list_of_locals
        PRIVATE list_of_privates
        ON ERROR LOCAL RESTORE LOCAL:ERROR ERR,REPORT$
        REM. Code which might result in an error
        ENDPROC
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structured_20exception_20handling.txt · Last modified: 2018/04/17 19:00 by tbest3112