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C++ Programming Tutorials

Exceptions provide a way to react to exceptional circumstances (like runtime errors) in our program by transferring control to special functions called handlers.

To catch exceptions we must place a portion of code under exception inspection. This is done by enclosing that portion of code in a try block. When an exceptional circumstance arises within that block, an exception is thrown that transfers the control to the exception handler. If no exception is thrown, the code continues normally and all handlers are ignored.

A exception is thrown by using the throw keyword from inside the try block. Exception handlers are declared with the keyword catch, which must be placed immediately after the try block:

// exceptions
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

int main () {
throw 20;
catch (int e)
cout << "An exception occurred. Exception Nr. " << e << endl;
return 0;
An exception occurred. Exception Nr. 20

The code under exception handling is enclosed in a try block. In this example this code simply throws an exception:

throw 20;

A throw expression accepts one parameter (in this case the integer value 20), which is passed as an argument to the exception handler.

The exception handler is declared with the catch keyword. As you can see, it follows immediately the closing brace of the try block. The catch format is similar to a regular function that always has at least one parameter. The type of this parameter is very important, since the type of the argument passed by the throw expression is checked against it, and only in the case they match, the exception is caught.

We can chain multiple handlers (catch expressions), each one with a different parameter type. Only the handler that matches its type with the argument specified in the throw statement is executed.

If we use an ellipsis (...) as the parameter of catch, that handler will catch any exception no matter what the type of the throw exception is. This can be used as a default handler that catches all exceptions not caught by other handlers if it is specified at last:

try {
// code here
catch (int param) { cout << "int exception"; }
catch (char param) { cout << "char exception"; }
catch (...) { cout << "default exception"; }

In this case the last handler would catch any exception thrown with any parameter that is neither an int nor a char.

After an exception has been handled the program execution resumes after the try-catch block, not after the throw statement!.

It is also possible to nest try-catch blocks within more external try blocks. In these cases, we have the possibility that an internal catch block forwards the exception to its external level. This is done with the expression throw; with no arguments. For example:

try {
try {
// code here
catch (int n) {
catch (...) {
cout << "Exception occurred";

NEXT >> Exception Specifications

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