Rails offers multiple ways to deal with exceptions and depending on what you want to achieve you can pick either of those solutions. Let me walk you through the possibilities.
begin/rescue blocks are the standard ruby mechanism to deal with exceptions. It might look like this:
begin do_something rescue handle_exception end
This works nice for exceptions that might happen in your code. But what if you want to rescue every occurrence of a specific exception, say a NoPermissionError which might be raised from your security layer? Clearly you do not want to add a begin/rescue block in all your actions just to render an error message, right?
An around filter could be used to catch all those exceptions of a given class. Honestly I haven’t used a before filter for this, this idea came to my mind when writing this blog post.
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base around_action :handle_exceptions private def handle_exceptions begin yield rescue NoPermissionError redirect_to 'permission_error' end end end
rescue_from gives you the same possibilities as the around filter. It’s just shorter and easier to read and if the framework offers a convenient way, then why not use it. There are multiple ways to define a handler for an exception, for a short and sweet handler I prefer the block syntax:
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base rescue_from 'NoPermissionError' do |exception| redirect_to 'permission_error' end end
There is an additional feature (added in Rails 3.2) that allows to handle exceptions. You can specify an exceptions_app which is used to handle errors. You can use your own Rails app for this:
config.exceptions_app = self.routes
If you do so, then your routing must be configured to match error codes like so:
match '/404', to: 'exceptions#handle_404' ...
Alternatively you can specify a lambda which receives the whole Rack env:
config.exceptions_app = lambda do |env| # do something end
Do you wonder how you can call an arbitrary action when you have the env? It’s pretty easy:
action = ExceptionsController.action(:render_error) action.call(env)
In any case you want to set following configuration for exceptions_app to be used:
Rails.application.config.consider_all_requests_local = false Rails.application.config.action_dispatch.show_exceptions = true
But where is the exception you ask? It is stored in the Rack env:
env[<span class="pl-s1"><span class="pl-pds">'</span>action_dispatch.exception<span class="pl-pds">'</span></span>]
And as a bonus: here is how you can determine an appropriate status code for an exception:
wrapper = <span class="pl-s3">ActionDispatch</span>::<span class="pl-s3">ExceptionWrapper</span>.<span class="pl-k">new</span>(env, exception) wrapper.status_code
There is more information you can extract using the exception wrapper. Best you look it up in the API description.
Most of this code can be seen in action in our infrastructure gem which we use to add error pages to apps we build.