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Java Exception handling questions

What is Exception in Java?

Exception is an error event that can happen during the execution of a program and disrupts it’s normal flow. Exception can arise from different kind of situations such as wrong data entered by user, hardware failure, network connection failure etc.

Whenever any error occurs while executing a java statement, an exception object is created and then JRE tries to find exception handler to handle the exception. If suitable exception handler is found then the exception object is passed to the handler code to process the exception, known as catching the exception. If no handler is found then application throws the exception to runtime environment and JRE terminates the program.

Java Exception handling framework is used to handle runtime errors only, compile time errors are not handled by exception handling framework.


What are the Exception Handling Keywords in Java?

There are four keywords used in java exception handling.

throw: Sometimes we explicitly want to create exception object and then throw it to halt the normal processing of the program. throw keyword is used to throw exception to the runtime to handle it.

throws: When we are throwing any checked exception in a method and not handling it, then we need to use throws keyword in method signature to let caller program know the exceptions that might be thrown by the method. The caller method might handle these exceptions or propagate it to it’s caller method using throws keyword. We can provide multiple exceptions in the throws clause and it can be used with main() method also.

try-catch: We use try-catch block for exception handling in our code. try is the start of the block and catch is at the end of try block to handle the exceptions. We can have multiple catch blocks with a try and try-catch block can be nested also. catch block requires a parameter that should be of type Exception.

finally: finally block is optional and can be used only with try-catch block. Since exception halts the process of execution, we might have some resources open that will not get closed, so we can use finally block. finally block gets executed always, whether exception occurrs or not.


Explain Java Exception Hierarchy?


Errors are exceptional scenarios that are out of scope of application and it’s not possible to anticipate and recover from them, for example hardware failure, JVM crash or out of memory error.

Checked Exceptions are exceptional scenarios that we can anticipate in a program and try to recover from it, for example FileNotFoundException. We should catch this exception and provide useful message to user and log it properly for debugging purpose. Exception is the parent class of all Checked Exceptions.

Runtime Exceptions are caused by bad programming, for example trying to retrieve an element from the Array. We should check the length of array first before trying to retrieve the element otherwise it might throw ArrayIndexOutOfBoundException at runtime. RuntimeException is the parent class of all runtime exceptions.

What is the difference between error and exception in java?

Errors are mainly caused by the environment in which an application is running. For example, OutOfMemoryError happens when JVM runs out of memory. Whereas exceptions are mainly caused by the application itself. For example, NullPointerException occurs when an application tries to access null object.


What is difference between Checked and Unchecked Exception in Java?

  • Checked Exceptions should be handled in the code using try-catch block or else main() method should use throws keyword to let JRE know about these exception that might be thrown from the program. Unchecked Exceptions are not required to be handled in the program or to mention them in throws clause.
  • Exception is the super class of all checked exceptions whereas RuntimeException is the super class of all unchecked exceptions.
  • Checked exceptions are error scenarios that are not caused by program, for example FileNotFoundException in reading a file that is not present, whereas Unchecked exceptions are mostly caused by poor programming, for example NullPointerException when invoking a method on an object reference without making sure that it’s not null.


What is difference between throw and throws keyword in Java?

throws keyword is used with method signature to declare the exceptions that the method might throw whereas throw keyword is used to disrupt the flow of program and handing over the exception object to runtime to handle it.


How to write custom exception in Java?

We can extend Exception class or any of its subclasses to create our custom exception class. The custom exception class can have its own variables and methods that we can use to pass error codes or other exception related information to the exception handler.


What is OutOfMemoryError in Java?

OutOfMemoryError in Java is a subclass of java.lang.VirtualMachineError and its thrown by JVM when it ran out of heap memory. We can fix this error by providing more memory to run the java application through java options.

$>java TestJavaProgram -Xms1024m -Xmx1024m -XX:PermSize=64M -XX:MaxPermSize=256006D


What is difference between final, finally and finalize in Java?

final and finally are keywords in java whereas finalize is a method.

final keyword can be used with class variables so that they can’t be reassigned, with class to avoid extending by classes and with methods to avoid overriding by subclasses, finally keyword is used with try-catch block to provide statements that will always gets executed even if some exception arises, usually finally is used to close resources. finalize() method is executed by Garbage Collector before the object is destroyed, it’s great way to make sure all the global resources are closed.


What happens when exception is thrown by main method?

When exception is thrown by main() method, Java Runtime terminates the program and print the exception message and stack trace in system console.



Can we have an empty catch block?

We can have an empty catch block but it’s the example of worst programming. We should never have empty catch block because if the exception is caught by that block, we will have no information about the exception and it wil be a nightmare to debug it. There should be at least a logging statement to log the exception details in console or log files.


Can we write only try block without catch and finally blocks?

No, it shows compilation error. The try block must be followed by either catch or finally block. You can remove either catch block or finally block but not both.


What are run time exceptions in java. Give example?

The exceptions which occur at run time are called as run time exceptions. These exceptions are unknown to compiler. All sub classes of java.lang.RunTimeException and java.lang.Error are run time exceptions. These exceptions are unchecked type of exceptions. For example, NumberFormatException, NullPointerException, ClassCastException, ArrayIndexOutOfBoundException, StackOverflowError etc.


Does finally block get executed If either try or catch blocks are returning the control?

Yes, finally block will be always executed no matter whether try or catch blocks are returning the control or not.


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