UberJumper UberJumper - 2 months ago 13
Python Question

Best Practices for Python Exceptions?

What are the best practices for creating exceptions? I just saw this, and I don't know if I should be horrified, or like it. I read several times in books that exceptions should never ever hold a string, because strings themselves can throw exceptions. Any real truth to this?

Basically from my understanding from the scripts is that this was done so all the inhouse Python libraries will have a common error message format (something that is desperately needed) so I can understand why putting the error message string is a good idea. (Almost every method throws exceptions due to the utter need for nothing invalid getting through).

The code in question is the following:

"""
Base Exception, Error
"""
class Error(Exception):
def __init__(self, message):
self.message = message

def __str__(self):
return "[ERROR] %s\n" % str(self.message)

def log(self):
ret = "%s" % str(self.message)
if(hasattr(self, "reason")):
return "".join([ret, "\n==> %s" % str(self.reason)])
return ret

class PCSException(Error):
def __init__(self, message, reason = None):
self.message = message
self.reason = reason
def __str__(self):
ret = "[PCS_ERROR] %s\n" % str(self.message)
if(self.reason != None):
ret += "[REASON] %s\n" % str(self.reason)
return ret


This is just the tip of the iceberg, but can someone give me some insight in what makes this a terrible idea? Or if there is a much better exception coding process/style.

Answer

I read several times in books that exceptions should never ever hold a string, because strings themselves can throw exceptions. Any real truth to this?

What?

Please provide a reference or a link to this. It's totally untrue.

Since all objects can throw exceptions, no object could be contained in an exception by that logic.

No, the "no strings" is simply crazy in a Python context. Perhaps you read it in a C++ context.


Edit

Once upon a time (back in the olden days) you could raise a Python exception by name instead of by the actual class.

raise "SomeNameOfAnExceptionClass"

This is bad. But this is not including a string inside an exception. This is naming the exception with a string instead of the actual class object. In 2.5, this can still work, but gets a deprecation warning.

Perhaps this is what you read "Do not raise an exception with a string name"