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Error Cause in JavaScript

Say, you have a simple function to fetch data from an endPoint and has a catch block.

const fetchData = async () => {
  return await fetch('<SOME_URL>')
    .catch(err => {
       // What shall we do with the err?
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What can you do with the err that is captured in the catch block?

  • Throw a new Error:
 throw new Error('Failed to fetch the data: ' + err.message);
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  • Wrap and throw the error:
  const wrapErr = new Error('Download raw resource failed');
  wrapErr.cause = err;
  throw wrapErr;
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  • Throw a CustomError:
class CustomError {
    constructor(msg, cause) {
        this.cause = cause;
throw new CustomError('Download raw resource failed', err);
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Perhaps it would be helpful if the Error constructor took a cause property. In that case, the value of the cause would be assigned to the instance of that error. This would improve error chaining without requiring error wrapping.

This is what we get with the error-cause proposal now on stage-3. The proposal suggests a second argument to the Error constructor with which the casuse can be specified. So we could do something like this:

const fetchData = async (url) => {
  return await fetch(url)
    .catch(err => {
        // Notice the optional object with `cause`
        throw new Error(`Unable to fetchData from ${url}`, 
                        { cause: err });

(async () => {
  try {
    await fetchData("");
  } catch (e) {
    console.log('Caused by', e.cause);
  // Error: Unable to fetchData from
  // Caused by TypeError: Failed to fetch
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Hope you like this feature! 🤓

P.S: Error Cause is on stage 4, per 2021.10.26 TC39 meeting.


Top comments (4)

ecbrodie profile image
Evan Brodie

Heads up, you got a typo before the last code example. You may want to change casuse to cause 😉

hemanth profile image

If the error were thrown from deep internal methods, the thrown error may not be straightforward to debug, with the cause things like these and exceptions shall get easier to handle and trace.

hemanth profile image

With AggregateError, we get breadth. With the cause property, we get depth.

mciastek profile image
Mirek Ciastek

Great article! One thing I spotted - CustomError needs to extend Error class to make super() work.