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Including the Location of Your Error in Your Error Message

A user calls you to complain that your code has thrown an exception. You ask the user to read the message to you … and you realize that you have no idea where that error comes from. You would know if you'd included the Exception object's TargetSite property in your error message because that property reports on the method that had the problem.

The TargetSite property returns a MethodBase object (part of .NET's Reflection infrastructure) which has a ton of properties telling you everything you'd ever want to know about the method. However, all you probably want in your error message is the method's full name, including the name of the class. To get that, just call the TargetSite's ToString method:

  ' ... potential exception
Catch ex As Exception
  Throw New Exception("Something has gone horribly wrong at " & ex.TargetSite.ToString)
End Try

One caveat: If you're still embedding class and method names in your ASP.NET MVC routing rules then the class name/method name is information you probably don't want to share with your users (though you still might want to write those names to some log). Fortunately, I discussed how to avoid embedding controller and method names in your UI in my previous tip which makes that problem go away.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 07/22/2016 at 9:49 AM

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