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Last updated on 5/4/22

Manage errors and exceptions within your program

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Three kinds of error

In JavaScript, as with many other programming languages, you generally differentiate between three types of error.

Manage errors!
Manage errors!

Syntax errors

Syntax errors (or parsing errors) happen when you have miswritten something in your code. It could be a forgotten bracket or curly brace (or one too many!), or a misspelled  else or switch, for example. These are generally relatively easy to fix (although you may spend a long time chasing the odd missing parentheses!), and many text editors or IDEs automatically highlight syntax errors.

Here are a few examples of syntax errors — can you spot them?:

if (seatsRemaining) {
while (seatsRemaining > 0 {
if (seatsRemaining > 0) {
} else {
passengersStillToBoard = 0;

Logic errors

Logic errors are a bit more vicious. They arise when you have mistakes in your program logic. Here are a few examples:

  • Assigning the wrong value to a variable.

  • Mixing up conditions in if statements.

  • Writing lines or blocks of code in the wrong order.

The best-case scenario with logic errors is that your program has some unexpected behavior; the worst case is that it crashes completely! Logic errors are also harder to find and fix because the code isn't wrong, it simply doesn't do what you want it to!

Runtime errors

Runtime errors are a bit different. They tend to arise when something unexpected happens in your app, often related to outside resources (network connections, physical devices, etc.) or human input/error. However, there are situations where you know, in advance, where this kind of error is likely to occur. In these situations, you can implement code for error handling — this way, an error will not crash your program, and can be corrected for.

One way of handling potential errors is to use an  if /else statement to check for valid data:

if (dataExists && dataIsValid) {
// use data here
} else {
// handle error here

You can also use  try /catch  blocks to try code that might potentially throw an error, and catch any error that occurs:

try {
// error-prone code here
} catch (error) {
// react to error here

As you gain experience in JavaScript development, you will learn where errors can occur, and how to prepare for and handle them properly.

Let's recap!

In this chapter, you learned the three different types of programming error:

  • Syntax errors — errors in the usage of JavaScript: typos, missing brackets, wrong number of quotes, etc.

  • Logic errors — mistakes in the application of program flow, like erroneous conditions in  if  statements or forgetting to increment the index in a loop, potentially leading to an infinite loop.

  • Runtime errors — errors which are often caused by outside resources like networks, databases, or users; they can be handled by being aware of where they may occur, and using error handling techniques like  try /catch blocks.

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement