Cover by Mark Lutz

Safari, the world’s most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

Find the exact information you need to solve a problem on the fly, or go deeper to master the technologies and skills you need to succeed

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

O'Reilly logo

Chapter 34. Exception Objects

So far, I’ve been deliberately vague about what an exception actually is. As suggested in the prior chapter, in Python 2.6 and 3.0 both built-in and user-defined exceptions are identified by class instance objects. Although this means you must use object-oriented programming to define new exceptions in your programs, classes and OOP in general offer a number of benefits.

Here are some of the advantages of class-based exceptions:

  • They can be organized into categories. Exception classes support future changes by providing categories—adding new exceptions in the future won’t generally require changes in try statements.

  • They have attached state information. Exception classes provide a natural place for us to store context information for use in the try handler—they may have both attached state information and callable methods, accessible through instances.

  • They support inheritance. Class-based exceptions can participate in inheritance hierarchies to obtain and customize common behavior—inherited display methods, for example, can provide a common look and feel for error messages.

Because of these advantages, class-based exceptions support program evolution and larger systems well. In fact, all built-in exceptions are identified by classes and are organized into an inheritance tree, for the reasons just listed. You can do the same with user-defined exceptions of your own.

In Python 3.0, user-defined exceptions inherit from built-in exception superclasses. As we’ll ...

Find the exact information you need to solve a problem on the fly, or go deeper to master the technologies and skills you need to succeed

Start Free Trial

No credit card required