Error Handling

What Does Error Handling Mean?

Error handling refers to the response and recovery procedures from error conditions present in a software application. In other words, it is the process comprised of anticipation, detection and resolution of application errors, programming errors or communication errors. Error handling helps in maintaining the normal flow of program execution. In fact, many applications face numerous design challenges when considering error-handling techniques.


Techopedia Explains Error Handling

Error handling helps in handling both hardware and software errors gracefully and helps execution to resume when interrupted. When it comes to error handling in software, either the programmer develops the necessary codes to handle errors or makes use of software tools to handle the errors. In cases where errors cannot be classified, error handling is usually done with returning special error codes. Special applications known as error handlers are available for certain applications to help in error handling. These applications can anticipate errors, thereby helping in recovering without actual termination of application.

There are four main categories of errors:

  • Logical errors
  • Generated errors
  • Compile-time errors
  • Runtime errors

Error-handling techniques for development errors include rigorous proofreading. Error-handling techniques for logic errors or bugs is usually by meticulous application debugging or troubleshooting. Error-handling applications can resolve runtime errors or have their impact minimized by adopting reasonable countermeasures depending on the environment. Most hardware applications include an error-handling mechanism which allows them to recover gracefully from unexpected errors.

As errors could be fatal, error handling is one of the crucial areas for application designers and developers, regardless of the application developed or programming languages used. In worst-case scenarios, the error handling mechanisms force the application to log the user off and shut down the system.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.