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From "Ralph Goers (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] Commented: (CONFIGURATION-384) ConfigurationException is a checked exception; should be unchecked (ie: subclass of RuntimeException)
Date Tue, 02 Jun 2009 13:55:07 GMT

    [ https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/CONFIGURATION-384?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=12715533#action_12715533
] 

Ralph Goers commented on CONFIGURATION-384:
-------------------------------------------

I have two comments on this.
1. The general rule on exceptions is to use checked exceptions for those exceptions that the
caller can possibly handle and use unchecked (runtime) exceptions for those they normally
can't. It is not always easy to determine what an application will be able to handle or not,
but it is likely that at least some of the exceptions generated by Commons Configuration can
be handled.
2. Commons Configuration already has two exceptions that it throws; ConfigurationException
and ConfigurationRuntimeException. As one would imagine, ConfigurationException is a checked
exception and ConfigurationRuntimeException is unchecked.

This issue is opened as a fairly general "request" to change all ConfigurationExceptions to
ConfigurationRuntimeExceptions. I would be opposed to that. However, there are probably cases
where this should be done, so this issue will be left open until we can inspect the code and
insure that exceptions are being thrown properly.

It would be helpful to point out just where a runtime exception makes more sense than a checked
exception.

> ConfigurationException is a checked exception; should be unchecked (ie: subclass of RuntimeException)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>                 Key: CONFIGURATION-384
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/CONFIGURATION-384
>             Project: Commons Configuration
>          Issue Type: Bug
>          Components: Events & Notifications
>    Affects Versions: 1.6
>         Environment: N/A
>            Reporter: private
>   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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