RE: Throwing exceptions vs error codes in Java – which is better?

I'm confused about whether I should throw exceptions or return error codes in Java. What are the pros and cons of both methods? In what scenarios should I prefer one over the other?

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Throwing exceptions and returning error codes both have their place in Java, depending on the context: 1. Throwing exceptions is generally preferred in Java due to several reasons. a. Clarity: Exceptions separate error handling code from regular code, making it easier to read and maintain. b. Providing Details: Exceptions can carry detailed information about the problem occurred, as they can hold various types of data. c. Propagation: Exceptions can be propagated up the call stack (re-thrown multiple times), allowing higher levels of your application to handle them if necessary. Error codes just return to the immediate caller. d. Standardization: Exceptions are part of the Java core library, it is a common and universally understood way to deal with errors. 2. Returning Error codes is generally less preferred but can be effective in certain scenarios: a. Performance overhead: If you're in a performance-critical section of code and an 'error' is anticipated as a part of normal flow, return codes could avoid the overhead of exceptions handling mechanism. b. Expected Errors: When errors are expected outcome (like validations), returning error codes can be seen as returning valid result of an operation rather than an exception. Remember this though, overuse of either can lead to "exception hell" or "error code hell". It's all about balancing and understanding the needs of your application. Design with the caller in mind, if an error scenario is an "exceptional situation", throw exception. If not, return a suitable error code.
Answered on July 17, 2023.
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