Rethinking the SlingException

Created: 23. December 2007
Author: fmeschbe

Inspired by Barry Ruzek's article Effective Java Exceptions, I went out to revisit the exceptions we have defined in the Sling API. This is what I came out with:

  • We have 4 Exceptions, all of which are checked exceptions
  • The SlingException is a base exception and is declared almost everywhere
  • The HttpStatusCodeException is an IOException not a SlingException and is not declared to be thrown anywhere
  • We have two documented possibilities of throwing a runtime exception: The AccessControlException possibly thrown when accessing a resource through the ResourceResolver.

Thinking about these (checked) Exceptions, I propose to change the Sling API as follows:

  1. The SlingException is a RuntimeException and is used as the base exception for all exceptions defined by the Sling API.
  2. The HttpStatusCodeException is removed. Status codes are better reported back to the client using HttpServletResponse.sendError().
  3. Add ResourceNotFoundException which may be used by scripts and servlets to report a missing resource.
  4. Add QuerySyntaxException thrown from the ReourceResolver.findResources and ResourceResolver.queryResources methods.
  5. Add ScriptEvaluationException thrown by SlingScript.eval wrapping and further failure cause.
  6. Drop ServiceNotAvailableException and the respective ServiceLocator.getRequiredService: The method and thus the exception are probably not very usefull. Rather the ServiceLocator.getService method should be used and the result checked for null.
  7. Add SlingIOException and SlingServletException both extending SlingException. These exceptions are used to wrap IOException and ServletException instances to be able to forward them as runtime exceptions to the appropriate error handling.

This change also has an influence on the implementation of the Sling API:

  1. The main point is the handling of the SlingException in the Sling main servlet.
  2. Other locations catching Exception should be revisited to make sure no SlingException is swallowed and not treated correctly.

Another point with the Sling main servlet is, that it is important to not call error handling servlets from included requests but only from the topmost request.

The proposed API changes can be evaluated in the Sling whiteboard at

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