JavaScript global error handling

JavaScript global error handling

I would like to catch every undefined function error thrown. Is there a global error handling facility in JavaScript? The use case is catching function calls from flash that are not defined.

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

Does this help you:

<script type="text/javascript">
window.onerror = function() {
    alert("Error caught");
};

xxx();
</script>

I’m not sure how it handles Flash errors though…

Update: it doesn’t work in Opera, but I’m hacking Dragonfly right now to see what it gets. Suggestion about hacking Dragonfly came from this question:

Mimic Window. onerror in Opera using javascript

Solution 2:

How to Catch Unhandled Javascript Errors

Assign the window.onerror event to an event handler like:

<script type="text/javascript">
window.onerror = function(msg, url, line, col, error) {
   // Note that col & error are new to the HTML 5 spec and may not be 
   // supported in every browser.  It worked for me in Chrome.
   var extra = !col ? '' : '\ncolumn: ' + col;
   extra += !error ? '' : '\nerror: ' + error;

   // You can view the information in an alert to see things working like this:
   alert("Error: " + msg + "\nurl: " + url + "\nline: " + line + extra);

   // TODO: Report this error via ajax so you can keep track
   //       of what pages have JS issues

   var suppressErrorAlert = true;
   // If you return true, then error alerts (like in older versions of 
   // Internet Explorer) will be suppressed.
   return suppressErrorAlert;
};
</script>

As commented in the code, if the return value of window.onerror is true then the browser should suppress showing an alert dialog.

When does the window.onerror Event Fire?

In a nutshell, the event is raised when either 1.) there is an uncaught exception or 2.) a compile time error occurs.

uncaught exceptions

  • throw “some messages”
  • call_something_undefined();
  • cross_origin_iframe.contentWindow.document;, a security exception

compile error

  • <script>{</script>
  • <script>for(;)</script>
  • <script>"oops</script>
  • setTimeout("{", 10);, it will attempt to compile the first argument as
    a script

Browsers supporting window.onerror

  • Chrome 13+
  • Firefox 6.0+
  • Internet Explorer 5.5+
  • Opera 11.60+
  • Safari 5.1+

Screenshot:

Example of the onerror code above in action after adding this to a test page:

<script type="text/javascript">
call_something_undefined();
</script>

Javascript alert showing error information detailed by the window.onerror event

JSFiddle:

https://jsfiddle.net/nzfvm44d/

References:

Solution 3:

sophisticated error handling

If your error handling is very sophisticated and therefore might throw an error itself, it is useful to add a flag indicating if you are already in “errorHandling-Mode”. Like so:

var appIsHandlingError = false;

window.onerror = function() {
    if (!appIsHandlingError) {
        appIsHandlingError = true;
        handleError();
    }
};

function handleError() {
    // graceful error handling
    // if successful: appIsHandlingError = false;
}

Otherwise you could find yourself in an infinite loop.

Solution 4:

Try Atatus which provides Advanced Error Tracking and Real User Monitoring for modern web apps.

https://www.atatus.com/

Let me explain how to get stacktraces that are reasonably complete in all browsers.

Error handling in JavaScript

Modern Chrome and Opera fully support the HTML 5 draft spec for ErrorEvent and window.onerror. In both of these browsers you can either use window.onerror, or bind to the ‘error’ event properly:

// Only Chrome & Opera pass the error object.
window.onerror = function (message, file, line, col, error) {
    console.log(message, "from", error.stack);
    // You can send data to your server
    // sendError(data);
};
// Only Chrome & Opera have an error attribute on the event.
window.addEventListener("error", function (e) {
    console.log(e.error.message, "from", e.error.stack);
    // You can send data to your server
    // sendError(data);
})

Unfortunately Firefox, Safari and IE are still around and we have to support them too. As the stacktrace is not available in window.onerror we have to do a little bit more work.

It turns out that the only thing we can do to get stacktraces from errors is to wrap all of our code in a try{ }catch(e){ } block and then look at e.stack. We can make the process somewhat easier with a function called wrap that takes a function and returns a new function with good error handling.

function wrap(func) {
    // Ensure we only wrap the function once.
    if (!func._wrapped) {
        func._wrapped = function () {
            try{
                func.apply(this, arguments);
            } catch(e) {
                console.log(e.message, "from", e.stack);
                // You can send data to your server
                // sendError(data);
                throw e;
            }
        }
    }
    return func._wrapped;
};

This works. Any function that you wrap manually will have good error handling, but it turns out that we can actually do it for you automatically in most cases.

By changing the global definition of addEventListener so that it automatically wraps the callback we can automatically insert try{ }catch(e){ } around most code. This lets existing code continue to work, but adds high-quality exception tracking.

var addEventListener = window.EventTarget.prototype.addEventListener;
window.EventTarget.prototype.addEventListener = function (event, callback, bubble) {
    addEventListener.call(this, event, wrap(callback), bubble);
}

We also need to make sure that removeEventListener keeps working. At the moment it won’t because the argument to addEventListener is changed. Again we only need to fix this on the prototype object:

var removeEventListener = window.EventTarget.prototype.removeEventListener;
window.EventTarget.prototype.removeEventListener = function (event, callback, bubble) {
    removeEventListener.call(this, event, callback._wrapped || callback, bubble);
}

Transmit error data to your backend

You can send error data using image tag as follows

function sendError(data) {
    var img = newImage(),
        src = 'http://yourserver.com/jserror&data=' + encodeURIComponent(JSON.stringify(data));

    img.crossOrigin = 'anonymous';
    img.onload = function success() {
        console.log('success', data);
    };
    img.onerror = img.onabort = function failure() {
        console.error('failure', data);
    };
    img.src = src;
}

Disclaimer: I am a web developer at https://www.atatus.com/.

Solution 5:

It seems that window.onerror doesn’t provide access to all possible errors. Specifically it ignores:

  1. <img> loading errors (response >= 400).
  2. <script> loading errors (response >= 400).
  3. global errors if you have many other libraries in your app also manipulating window.onerror in an unknown way (jquery, angular, etc.).
  4. probably many cases I haven’t run into after exploring this now (iframes, stack overflow, etc.).

Here is the start of a script that catches many of these errors, so that you may add more robust debugging to your app during development.

(function(){

/**
 * Capture error data for debugging in web console.
 */

var captures = [];

/**
 * Wait until `window.onload`, so any external scripts
 * you might load have a chance to set their own error handlers,
 * which we don't want to override.
 */

window.addEventListener('load', onload);

/**
 * Custom global function to standardize 
 * window.onerror so it works like you'd think.
 *
 * @see http://www.quirksmode.org/dom/events/error.html
 */

window.onanyerror = window.onanyerror || onanyerrorx;

/**
 * Hook up all error handlers after window loads.
 */

function onload() {
  handleGlobal();
  handleXMLHttp();
  handleImage();
  handleScript();
  handleEvents();
}

/**
 * Handle global window events.
 */

function handleGlobal() {
  var onerrorx = window.onerror;
  window.addEventListener('error', onerror);

  function onerror(msg, url, line, col, error) {
    window.onanyerror.apply(this, arguments);
    if (onerrorx) return onerrorx.apply(null, arguments);
  }
}

/**
 * Handle ajax request errors.
 */

function handleXMLHttp() {
  var sendx = XMLHttpRequest.prototype.send;
  window.XMLHttpRequest.prototype.send = function(){
    handleAsync(this);
    return sendx.apply(this, arguments);
  };
}

/**
 * Handle image errors.
 */

function handleImage() {
  var ImageOriginal = window.Image;
  window.Image = ImageOverride;

  /**
   * New `Image` constructor. Might cause some problems,
   * but not sure yet. This is at least a start, and works on chrome.
   */

  function ImageOverride() {
    var img = new ImageOriginal;
    onnext(function(){ handleAsync(img); });
    return img;
  }
}

/**
 * Handle script errors.
 */

function handleScript() {
  var HTMLScriptElementOriginal = window.HTMLScriptElement;
  window.HTMLScriptElement = HTMLScriptElementOverride;

  /**
   * New `HTMLScriptElement` constructor.
   *
   * Allows us to globally override onload.
   * Not ideal to override stuff, but it helps with debugging.
   */

  function HTMLScriptElementOverride() {
    var script = new HTMLScriptElement;
    onnext(function(){ handleAsync(script); });
    return script;
  }
}

/**
 * Handle errors in events.
 *
 * @see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/951791/javascript-global-error-handling/31750604#31750604
 */

function handleEvents() {
  var addEventListenerx = window.EventTarget.prototype.addEventListener;
  window.EventTarget.prototype.addEventListener = addEventListener;
  var removeEventListenerx = window.EventTarget.prototype.removeEventListener;
  window.EventTarget.prototype.removeEventListener = removeEventListener;

  function addEventListener(event, handler, bubble) {
    var handlerx = wrap(handler);
    return addEventListenerx.call(this, event, handlerx, bubble);
  }

  function removeEventListener(event, handler, bubble) {
    handler = handler._witherror || handler;
    removeEventListenerx.call(this, event, handler, bubble);
  }

  function wrap(fn) {
    fn._witherror = witherror;

    function witherror() {
      try {
        fn.apply(this, arguments);
      } catch(e) {
        window.onanyerror.apply(this, e);
        throw e;
      }
    }
    return fn;
  }
}

/**
 * Handle image/ajax request errors generically.
 */

function handleAsync(obj) {
  var onerrorx = obj.onerror;
  obj.onerror = onerror;
  var onabortx = obj.onabort;
  obj.onabort = onabort;
  var onloadx = obj.onload;
  obj.onload = onload;

  /**
   * Handle `onerror`.
   */

  function onerror(error) {
    window.onanyerror.call(this, error);
    if (onerrorx) return onerrorx.apply(this, arguments);
  };

  /**
   * Handle `onabort`.
   */

  function onabort(error) {
    window.onanyerror.call(this, error);
    if (onabortx) return onabortx.apply(this, arguments);
  };

  /**
   * Handle `onload`.
   *
   * For images, you can get a 403 response error,
   * but this isn't triggered as a global on error.
   * This sort of standardizes it.
   *
   * "there is no way to get the HTTP status from a 
   * request made by an img tag in JavaScript."
   * @see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8108636/how-to-get-http-status-code-of-img-tags/8108646#8108646
   */

  function onload(request) {
    if (request.status && request.status >= 400) {
      window.onanyerror.call(this, request);
    }
    if (onloadx) return onloadx.apply(this, arguments);
  }
}

/**
 * Generic error handler.
 *
 * This shows the basic implementation, 
 * which you could override in your app.
 */

function onanyerrorx(entity) {
  var display = entity;

  // ajax request
  if (entity instanceof XMLHttpRequest) {
    // 400: http://example.com/image.png
    display = entity.status + ' ' + entity.responseURL;
  } else if (entity instanceof Event) {
    // global window events, or image events
    var target = entity.currentTarget;
    display = target;
  } else {
    // not sure if there are others
  }

  capture(entity);
  console.log('[onanyerror]', display, entity);
}

/**
 * Capture stuff for debugging purposes.
 *
 * Keep them in memory so you can reference them
 * in the chrome debugger as `onanyerror0` up to `onanyerror99`.
 */

function capture(entity) {
  captures.push(entity);
  if (captures.length > 100) captures.unshift();

  // keep the last ones around
  var i = captures.length;
  while (--i) {
    var x = captures[i];
    window['onanyerror' + i] = x;
  }
}

/**
 * Wait til next code execution cycle as fast as possible.
 */

function onnext(fn) {
  setTimeout(fn, 0);
}

})();

It could be used like this:

window.onanyerror = function(entity){
  console.log('some error', entity);
};

The full script has a default implementation that tries to print out a semi-readable “display” version of the entity/error that it receives. Can be used for inspiration for an app-specific error handler. The default implementation also keeps a reference to the last 100 error entities, so you can inspect them in the web console after they occur like:

window.onanyerror0
window.onanyerror1
...
window.onanyerror99

Note: This works by overriding methods on several browser/native constructors. This can have unintended side-effects. However, it has been useful to use during development, to figure out where errors are occurring, to send logs to services like NewRelic or Sentry during development so we can measure errors during development, and on staging so we can debug what is going on at a deeper level. It can then be turned off in production.

Hope this helps.

Solution 6:

// display error messages for a page, but never more than 3 errors
window.onerror = function(msg, url, line) {
if (onerror.num++ < onerror.max) {
alert("ERROR: " + msg + "\n" + url + ":" + line);
return true;
}
}
onerror.max = 3;
onerror.num = 0;