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From "Ethan Wallwork" <>
Subject Error handling with RequestDispatcher
Date Mon, 02 Oct 2000 20:30:38 GMT


A servlet handles a request from the client.  Depending on the parameters given by the client
and the phase of the moon, a
particular JSP file is chosen.  The output of the JSP is included in the output of the servlet
using the include() method of


If my JSP throws a ServletException, the servlet including it does not receive the exception.
 Instead, the exception gets "handled"
by Tomcat.


My interpretation of the servlet 2.2 spec is such that exceptions from included servlets (and
JSPs) should be propagated to the
calling servlet.  Here is the relevant passage (section 8.5):


Only runtime exceptions and checked exceptions of type ServletException or IOException should
be propagated to the calling servlet
if thrown by the target of a request dispatcher.  All other exceptions should be wrapped as
a ServletException and the root cause of
the exception set to the original exception.

While this passage does not explicitly state that exception should be propagated, it strongly
implies it.

Am I wrong in my understanding of the spec or of what Tomcat is doing, or is this really a
violation of the spec?


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