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From "mjh (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] Commented: (CONFIGURATION-384) ConfigurationException is a checked exception; should be unchecked (ie: subclass of RuntimeException)
Date Tue, 02 Jun 2009 17:08:07 GMT


mjh commented on CONFIGURATION-384:

It is buried as a nested exception inside the RuntimeException, when it is actually a configuration
exception that has occurred. There is no loss of information here but there is a loss of clarity.
Note that ConfigurationException is already itself nestable -- why add yet more clutter?

The point here is: the decision of whether config exceptions should be fatal, propagated,
etc should be in the hands of the programmer, with the default being the most easy to use.
The documentation already clearly lists all the places where ConfigurationExceptions are thrown.

Any serious application would be catching all exceptions whether they are checked or unchecked.
For a small-medium application, terminating with a ConfigurationException because a config
file can't be found is perfectly reasonable.

Requiring try/catch blocks for virtually every library access is also asking for the dreaded
try {} catch ( Exception ignore ) {} syndrome, especially when those calls are likely to be
perceived by users of your library as being trivial to the core functionality of the application.

> ConfigurationException is a checked exception; should be unchecked (ie: subclass of RuntimeException)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: CONFIGURATION-384
>                 URL:
>             Project: Commons Configuration
>          Issue Type: Bug
>          Components: Events & Notifications
>    Affects Versions: 1.6
>         Environment: N/A
>            Reporter: mjh
>   Original Estimate: 0.08h
>  Remaining Estimate: 0.08h
> There's a movement in the field to simplify Java development by using unchecked Exceptions
rather than checked Exceptions. Most notably this approach has been championed by Rod Johnson
(J2EE without EJB, Spring Framework) and Bruce Eckels (Thinking in Java). In the last 2 years,
popular libraries like Spring Framework and Hibernate 3.0 have used unchecked exceptions.
> Quote from the DeveloperWorks article listed below:
> "Some exceptions are basically secondary return codes (which generally signal violation
of business rules), and some are of the "something went horribly wrong" variety (such as failure
to make a database connection). Johnson advocates using checked exceptions for the first category
(alternative return codes), and runtime exceptions for the latter category. In the "something
went horribly wrong" category, the motivation is simply to recognize the fact that no caller
is going to effectively handle this exception, so it might as well get propagated all the
way up the stack with the minimum of impact on the intervening code (and minimize the chance
of exception swallowing)."
> I have listed this as a bug rather than an improvement as it is common for developers
to simply wrap configuration sections in a try { .. } catch ( ConfigurationException ignore
) {}, which inevitably leads to buggy code further down the line.Even if the ConfigurationException
is caught, it is likely to be wrapped in a RuntimeException subclass for reporting, which
is also unnecessarily obtuse.
> It makes sense for this Exception to be unchecked (RuntimeException subclass) so that
developers can decide whether the exception condition is worthy of catching or should be allowed
to propagate as best suits their application.

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