The Callback Problem in Exception Handling

Ploski, Jan and Hasselbring, Wilhelm (2005) The Callback Problem in Exception Handling [Paper] In: Proceedings of ECOOP 2005 Workshop on Exception Handling in Object Oriented Systems .


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Procedures invoked across program modules to notify about event occurences rather than to request concrete services are termed callbacks. They are frequently used to decouple program modules. However, their use complicates exception handling, turning default exception propagation with the established termination model unsatisfactory. Existing advice on handling exceptions in callbacks either requires implementors to provide a no-throw guarantee or to propagate a generic exception from a callback to its invoker. We demonstrate that neither approach supports adequate exception handling in practice. To aid programmers, we propose a tactic which mimics default propagation in the callback-less context: If possible, handle an exception locally; otherwise, propagate it to the invoked callback’s clients, that is, modules affected by the callback’s failure. We suggest early explicit specification as a means to locate such modules.

Document Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Software Engineering
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2012 06:05
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2012 10:13

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