Shang Wang Shang Wang - 1 month ago 15
Python Question

python: How do I know what type of exception occured?

I have a function called by the main program:

try:
someFunction()
except:
print "exception happened!"


but in the middle of the execution of the function it raises exception, so it jumps to the
except
part.

How can I see exactly what happened in the
someFunction()
that caused the exception to happen?

Answer

The other answers all point out that you should not catch generic exceptions, but no one seems to want to tell you why, which is essential to understanding when you can break the "rule". Here is an explanation. Basically, it's so that you don't hide

So as long as you take care to do none of those things, it's OK to catch the generic exception. For instance, you could provide information about the exception to the user another way, like:

  • Present exceptions as dialogs in a GUI
  • Transfer exceptions from a worker thread or process to the controlling thread or process in a multithreading or multiprocessing application

So how to catch the generic exception? There are several ways. If you just want the exception object, do it like this:

try:
    someFunction()
except Exception as ex:
    template = "An exception of type {0} occured. Arguments:\n{1!r}"
    message = template.format(type(ex).__name__, ex.args)
    print message

Make sure message is brought to the attention of the user in a hard-to-miss way! Printing it, as shown above, may not be enough if the message is buried in lots of other messages. Failing to get the users attention is tantamount to swallowing all exceptions, and if there's one impression you should have come away with after reading the answers on this page, it's that this is not a good thing. Ending the except block with a raise statement will remedy the problem by transparently reraising the exception that was caught.

The difference between the above and using just except: without any argument is twofold:

  • A bare except: doesn't give you the exception object to inspect
  • The exceptions SystemExit, KeyboardInterrupt and GeneratorExit aren't caught by the above code, which is generally what you want. See the exception hierarchy.

If you also want the same stacktrace you get if you do not catch the exception, you can get that like this (still inside the except clause):

    import traceback
    print traceback.format_exc()

If you use the logging module, you can print the exception to the log (along with a message) like this:

    import logging
    log = logging.getLogger()
    log.exception("Message for you, sir!")

If you want to dig deeper and examine the stack, look at variables etc., use the post_mortem function of the pdb module inside the except block:

    import pdb
    pdb.post_mortem()

I've found this last method to be invaluable when hunting down bugs.