The Right Approach to Exceptions

Jim Hewes jimhewes at
Sun Feb 19 15:18:57 PST 2012

On 2/19/2012 10:48 AM, address_is at invalid.invalid wrote:

> I guess "transient" is more descriptive.
> Andrei

I suppose “transient” mingles with recoverability and may get confused 
with it. But the interrelated issue that comes to mind for me is whether 
a “failure” is a common and typical result of the particular operation 
or not.

I'm thinking of the example of acquiring a mutex. Because the nature of 
a mutex is to prevent two parties from using a resource at the same 
time, getting a result of “mutex already in use” is a normal and 
expected result and probably should not throw an exception. It's 
transient in that you can try again and it might work. But this behavior 
is already built in because you can provide a timeout argument which 
means, “keep trying until this much time elapses, then give up”.

Perhaps a network connection would be different because when you send a 
packet, you expect it to get where it's going. That would be normal 
program flow. Otherwise it's an error and an exception.


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