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Documentation for Ice 3.5. The latest release is Ice 3.7. Refer to the space directory for other releases.

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This page describes the Objective-C mapping for exceptions.

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Exception Inheritance Hierarchy in Objective-C

Here again is a fragment of the Slice definition for our world time server:

Slice
exception GenericError {
    string reason;
};
exception BadTimeVal extends GenericError {};
exception BadZoneName extends GenericError {};

These exception definitions map as follows:

Objective-C
@interface EXGenericError : ICEUserException
{
@private
    NSString *reason_;
}

@property(nonatomic, retain) NSString *reason_;

// ...
@end

@interface EXBadTimeVal : EXGenericError
// ...
@end

@interface EXBadZoneName : EXGenericError
// ...
@end

Each Slice exception is mapped to an Objective-C class. For each exception member, the corresponding class contains a private instance variable and a property. (Obviously, because BadTimeVal and BadZoneName do not have members, the generated classes for these exceptions also do not have members.)

The inheritance structure of the Slice exceptions is preserved for the generated classes, so EXBadTimeVal and EXBadZoneName inherit from EXGenericError.

In turn, EXGenericError derives from ICEUserException:

Objective-C
@interface ICEException : NSException
-(NSString* *)ice_name;
@end

@interface ICEUserException : ICEException
// ...
@end

@interface ICELocalException : ICEException
// ...
@end

Note that ICEUserException itself derives from ICEException, which derives from NSException. Similarly, run-time exceptions derive from a common base class ICELocalException that derives from ICEException, so we have the inheritance structure shown below:


Inheritance structure for exceptions.

ICEException provides a single method, ice_name, that returns the Slice type ID of the exception with the leading :: omitted. For example, the return value of ice_name for our Slice GenericError is Example::GenericError.

Mapping for Exception Data Members in Objective-C

As we mentioned earlier, each data member of a Slice exception generates a corresponding Objective-C property. Here is an example that extends our GenericError with yet another exception:

Slice
exception GenericError {
    string reason;
};

exception FileError extends GenericError {
    string name;
    int errorCode;
};

The generated properties for these exceptions are as follows:

Objective-C
@interface EXGenericError : ICEUserException
{
@private
    NSString *reason_;
}

@property(nonatomic, retain) NSString *reason_;

// ...
@end

@interface EXFileError : EXGenericError
{
@private
    NSString *name_;
    ICEInt errorCode;
}

@property(nonatomic, retain) NSString *name_;
@property(nonatomic, assign) ICEInt errorCode;

// ...
@end

This is exactly the same mapping as for structure members, with one difference: the name and reason members map to name_ and reason_ properties, whereas — as for structures — errorCode maps to errorCode. The trailing underscore for reason_ and name_ prevents a name collision with the name and reason methods that are defined by NSException: if you call the name method, you receive the name that is stored by NSException; if you call the name_ method, you receive the value of the name_ instance variable of EXFileError:

Objective-C
@try {
    // Do something that can throw ExFileError...
}
@catch(EXFileError *ex)
{
    // Print the value of the Slice reason, name,
    // and errorCode members.
    printf("reason: %s, name: %s, errorCode: %d\n",
            [ex.reason_ UTF8String],
            [ex.name_ UTF8String],
            ex.errorCode);

    // Print the NSException name.
    printf("NSException name: %s\n", [[ex name] UTF8String]);
}

The same escape mechanism applies if you define exception data members named callStackReturnAddresses, raise, or userInfo.

Objective-C Mapping for User Exceptions

Initialization of exceptions follows the same pattern as for structures: each exception (apart from the inherited no-argument init method) provides an init method that accepts one argument for each data member of the exception, and two convenience constructors. For example, the generated methods for our EXGenericError exception look as follows:

Objective-C
@interface EXGenericError : ICEUserException
// ...

-(id) init:(NSString *)reason;
+(id) genericError;
+(id) genericError:(NSString *)reason;
@endif

If a user exception has no data members (and its base exceptions do not have data members either), only the inherited init method and the no-argument convenience constructor are generated.

If you declare default values in your Slice definition, the inherited init method and the no-argument convenience constructor initialize each data member with its declared value.

If an exception has a base exception with data members, its init method and convenience constructor accept one argument for each Slice data member, in base-to-derived order. For example, here are the methods for the FileError exception we defined above:

Objective-C
@interface EXFileError : EXGenericError
// ...

-(id) init:(NSString *)reason name_:(NSString *)name
                              errorCode:(ICEInt)errorCode;
+(id) fileError;
+(id) fileError:(NSString *)reason name_:(NSString *)name
                                   errorCode:(ICEInt)errorCode;
@end

Note that init and the second convenience constructor accept three arguments; the first initializes the EXGenericError base, and the remaining two initialize the instance variables of EXFileError.

Objective-C Mapping for Run-Time Exceptions

The Ice run time throws run-time exceptions for a number of pre-defined error conditions. All run-time exceptions directly or indirectly derive from ICELocalException which, in turn, derives from ICEException. (See the above illustration for an example of an inheritance diagram.)

By catching exceptions at the appropriate point in the hierarchy, you can handle exceptions according to the category of error they indicate:

  • NSException
    This is the root of the complete inheritance tree. Catching NSException catches all exceptions, whether they relate to Ice or the Cocoa framework.
  • ICEException
    Catching ICEException catches both user and run-time exceptions.
  • ICEUserException
    This is the root exception for all user exceptions. Catching ICEUserException catches all user exceptions (but not run-time exceptions).
  • ICELocalException
    This is the root exception for all run-time exceptions. Catching ICELocalException catches all run-time exceptions (but not user exceptions).
  • ICETimeoutException
    This is the base exception for both operation-invocation and connection-establishment timeouts.
  • ICEConnectTimeoutException
    This exception is raised when the initial attempt to establish a connection to a server times out.

For example, an ICEConnectTimeoutException can be handled as ICEConnectTimeoutException, ICETimeoutException, ICELocalException, ICEException, or NSException.

You will probably have little need to catch run-time exceptions as their most-derived type and instead catch them as ICELocalException; the fine-grained error handling offered by the remainder of the hierarchy is of interest mainly in the implementation of the Ice run time. Exceptions to this rule are the exceptions related to facet and object life cycles, which you may want to catch explicitly. These exceptions are ICEFacetNotExistException and ICEObjectNotExistException, respectively.

Creating and Initializing Run-Time Exceptions in Objective-C

ICELocalException provides two properties that return the file name and line number at which an exception was raised:

Objective-C
@interface ICELocalException : ICEException
{
// ...

@property(nonatomic, readonly) NSString* file;
@property(nonatomic, readonly) int line;

-(id)init:(const char*)file line:(int)line;
+(id)localException:(const char*)file line:(int)line;
@end

The init method and the convenience constructor accept the file name and line number as arguments.

Concrete run-time exceptions that derived from ICEException provide a corresponding init method and convenience constructor. For example, here is the Slice definition of ObjectNotExistException:

Slice
local exception RequestFailedException {
    Identity id;
    string facet;
    string operation;
};

local exception ObjectNotExistException extends RequestFailedException {};

The Objective-C mapping for ObjectNotExistException is:

Objective-C
@interface ICEObjectNotExistException : ICERequestFailedException
// ...
-(id) init:(const char*)file__p line:(int)line__p;
-(id) init:(const char*)file__p
           line:(int)line__p
           id_:(ICEIdentity *)id_
           facet:(NSString *)facet
           operation:(NSString *)operation;
+(id) objectNotExistException:(const char*)file__p
                              line:(int)line__p;
+(id) objectNotExistException:(const char*)file__p
                              line:(int)line__p
                              id_:(ICEIdentity *)id_
                              facet:(NSString *)facet
                              operation:(NSString *)operation;
@end

In other words, as for user exceptions, run-time exceptions provide init methods and convenience constructors that accept arguments in base-to-derived order. This means that all run-time exceptions require a file name and line number when they are instantiated. For example, you can throw an ICEObjectNotExistException as follows:

Objective-C
@throw [ICEObjectNotExistException objectNotExistException:__FILE__ line:__LINE__];

If you throw this exception in the context of an executing operation on the server side, the id_, facet, and operation instance variables are automatically initialized by the Ice run time.

When you instantiate a run-time exception, the base NSException is initialized such that its name method returns the same string as ice_name; the reason and userInfo methods return nil.

Copying and Deallocating Exceptions in Objective-C

User exceptions and run-time exceptions implement the NSCopying protocol, so you can copy them. The semantics are the same as for structures.

Similarly, like structures, exceptions implement a dealloc method that takes care of deallocating the instance variables when an exception is released.

Exception Comparison and Hashing in Objective-C

Exceptions do not override isEqual or hash, so these methods have the behavior inherited from NSObject.

See Also
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