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Error handling with callbacks is counterintuituve #72

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benilovj opened this Issue Feb 21, 2013 · 0 comments

2 participants

@benilovj

This is more a design issue rather than a specific bug, but I personally find having to handle API error cases with callbacks instead of exceptions bewildering (so much so that we've created our own wrapper for the zendesk_api gem). Here's an example from #71:

class SearchError < Exception; end

client.insert_callback do |env|
  if env[:status] == 500 && env[:url].request_uri =~ %r{/search}
    # Must not be a Faraday::Error::ClientError, but could be any standard ruby error
    raise SearchError
  end
end

This pattern forces each app that uses the zendesk_api gem to know intimate details of the Zendesk REST API (the error conditions for which aren't documented anywhere, to my knowledge). While I understand the perils of abstracting away the distributed nature of the API access completely, this feels like a very leaky abstraction - isn't the whole point of a wrapper to hide precisely these kinds of details from the application developer?

My proposed solution would be to raise (and document!) pre-defined exceptions for error cases known in advance (e.g. authentication error, validation errors, transient unavailability errors) by default, or alternatively follow the Rails method semantics and have methods ending with ! raise exceptions and methods without ! returning false or nil.

@steved steved closed this Jun 10, 2013
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