What is a checked exception? Basic Concepts of Error Handling in Program Development

Explanation of IT Terms

What is a Checked Exception?

In the realm of software development, error handling is a crucial aspect that can greatly affect the reliability and stability of a program. One common type of error in many programming languages is an exception, which is an unexpected event that disrupts the normal flow of program execution.

In Java, exceptions are categorized into two main types: checked exceptions and unchecked exceptions. In this blog post, we will focus on understanding what checked exceptions are and how they are used in error handling.

Definition and Purpose

A checked exception is an exception that a programmer must explicitly acknowledge and handle in their code, either by using a try-catch block or by declaring the exception in the method signature using the “throws” keyword. The Java compiler enforces this requirement, hence the name “checked” exception.

The purpose of checked exceptions is to ensure that potential error conditions are explicitly dealt with, preventing them from being overlooked or ignored. By forcing developers to handle these exceptions, Java promotes better error handling practices and can lead to more robust and reliable code.

Examples of Checked Exceptions

Several common examples of checked exceptions in Java are related to IO operations, such as reading or writing files. For instance, the java.io.IOException is a checked exception that can be thrown when there are issues with input or output streams. Other examples include java.sql.SQLException (related to database operations) and java.text.ParseException (related to parsing strings).

When a method is declared to throw a checked exception, any code that calls that method must either handle the exception themselves or declare it to be thrown as well. This ensures that the exception doesn’t go unnoticed and can be properly addressed.

Handling Checked Exceptions

To handle a checked exception, developers must enclose the code that could potentially throw the exception within a try block. If an exception occurs within the try block, the corresponding catch block is executed to handle the exception.

Here’s an example of handling a checked exception:

try {
FileReader fileReader = new FileReader(“file.txt”);
// Code for reading the file
} catch (IOException e) {
// Exception handling code

In the above example, if there is an issue with opening or reading the file, the IOException will be caught and the specified exception handling code will be executed.

It’s important to note that checked exceptions must either be caught or explicitly declared in the method signature using the “throws” keyword. Failure to do so will result in a compilation error.


In summary, checked exceptions are a mechanism in Java that ensures potential error conditions are explicitly handled by forcing developers to acknowledge and handle them in their code. They play a significant role in promoting better error handling practices, leading to more reliable and robust software.

Understanding the concept of checked exceptions and knowing how to handle them is a fundamental skill for any Java developer, as it contributes to the overall quality and robustness of their code.

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