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Is there a TRY CATCH command in Bash


Question

I'm writing a shell script and need to check that a terminal app has been installed. I want to use a TRY/CATCH command to do this unless there is a neater way.

2018/05/11
1
368
5/11/2018 5:12:10 PM

Accepted Answer

Is there a TRY CATCH command in Bash?

No.

Bash doesn't have as many luxuries as one can find in many programming languages.

There is no try/catch in bash; however, one can achieve similar behavior using && or ||.

Using ||:

if command1 fails then command2 runs as follows

command1 || command2

Similarly, using &&, command2 will run if command1 is successful

The closest approximation of try/catch is as follows

{ # try

    command1 &&
    #save your output

} || { # catch
    # save log for exception 
}

Also bash contains some error handling mechanisms, as well

set -e

it stops your script if any simple command fails.

And also why not if...else. It is your best friend.

2020/02/19
588
2/19/2020 5:20:51 AM

Based on some answers I found here, I made myself a small helper file to source for my projects:

trycatch.sh

#!/bin/bash

function try()
{
    [[ $- = *e* ]]; SAVED_OPT_E=$?
    set +e
}

function throw()
{
    exit $1
}

function catch()
{
    export ex_code=$?
    (( $SAVED_OPT_E )) && set +e
    return $ex_code
}

function throwErrors()
{
    set -e
}

function ignoreErrors()
{
    set +e
}

here is an example how it looks like in use:

#!/bin/bash
export AnException=100
export AnotherException=101

# start with a try
try
(   # open a subshell !!!
    echo "do something"
    [ someErrorCondition ] && throw $AnException

    echo "do something more"
    executeCommandThatMightFail || throw $AnotherException

    throwErrors # automaticatly end the try block, if command-result is non-null
    echo "now on to something completely different"
    executeCommandThatMightFail

    echo "it's a wonder we came so far"
    executeCommandThatFailsForSure || true # ignore a single failing command

    ignoreErrors # ignore failures of commands until further notice
    executeCommand1ThatFailsForSure
    local result = $(executeCommand2ThatFailsForSure)
    [ result != "expected error" ] && throw $AnException # ok, if it's not an expected error, we want to bail out!
    executeCommand3ThatFailsForSure

    echo "finished"
)
# directly after closing the subshell you need to connect a group to the catch using ||
catch || {
    # now you can handle
    case $ex_code in
        $AnException)
            echo "AnException was thrown"
        ;;
        $AnotherException)
            echo "AnotherException was thrown"
        ;;
        *)
            echo "An unexpected exception was thrown"
            throw $ex_code # you can rethrow the "exception" causing the script to exit if not caught
        ;;
    esac
}
2020/06/20

I've developed an almost flawless try & catch implementation in bash, that allows you to write code like:

try 
    echo 'Hello'
    false
    echo 'This will not be displayed'

catch 
    echo "Error in $__EXCEPTION_SOURCE__ at line: $__EXCEPTION_LINE__!"

You can even nest the try-catch blocks inside themselves!

try {
    echo 'Hello'

    try {
        echo 'Nested Hello'
        false
        echo 'This will not execute'
    } catch {
        echo "Nested Caught (@ $__EXCEPTION_LINE__)"
    }

    false
    echo 'This will not execute too'

} catch {
    echo "Error in $__EXCEPTION_SOURCE__ at line: $__EXCEPTION_LINE__!"
}

The code is a part of my bash boilerplate/framework. It further extends the idea of try & catch with things like error handling with backtrace and exceptions (plus some other nice features).

Here's the code that's responsible just for try & catch:

set -o pipefail
shopt -s expand_aliases
declare -ig __oo__insideTryCatch=0

# if try-catch is nested, then set +e before so the parent handler doesn't catch us
alias try="[[ \$__oo__insideTryCatch -gt 0 ]] && set +e;
           __oo__insideTryCatch+=1; ( set -e;
           trap \"Exception.Capture \${LINENO}; \" ERR;"
alias catch=" ); Exception.Extract \$? || "

Exception.Capture() {
    local script="${BASH_SOURCE[1]#./}"

    if [[ ! -f /tmp/stored_exception_source ]]; then
        echo "$script" > /tmp/stored_exception_source
    fi
    if [[ ! -f /tmp/stored_exception_line ]]; then
        echo "$1" > /tmp/stored_exception_line
    fi
    return 0
}

Exception.Extract() {
    if [[ $__oo__insideTryCatch -gt 1 ]]
    then
        set -e
    fi

    __oo__insideTryCatch+=-1

    __EXCEPTION_CATCH__=( $(Exception.GetLastException) )

    local retVal=$1
    if [[ $retVal -gt 0 ]]
    then
        # BACKWARDS COMPATIBILE WAY:
        # export __EXCEPTION_SOURCE__="${__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[(${#__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[@]}-1)]}"
        # export __EXCEPTION_LINE__="${__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[(${#__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[@]}-2)]}"
        export __EXCEPTION_SOURCE__="${__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[-1]}"
        export __EXCEPTION_LINE__="${__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[-2]}"
        export __EXCEPTION__="${__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[@]:0:(${#__EXCEPTION_CATCH__[@]} - 2)}"
        return 1 # so that we may continue with a "catch"
    fi
}

Exception.GetLastException() {
    if [[ -f /tmp/stored_exception ]] && [[ -f /tmp/stored_exception_line ]] && [[ -f /tmp/stored_exception_source ]]
    then
        cat /tmp/stored_exception
        cat /tmp/stored_exception_line
        cat /tmp/stored_exception_source
    else
        echo -e " \n${BASH_LINENO[1]}\n${BASH_SOURCE[2]#./}"
    fi

    rm -f /tmp/stored_exception /tmp/stored_exception_line /tmp/stored_exception_source
    return 0
}

Feel free to use, fork and contribute - it's on GitHub.

2015/05/03

You can use trap:

try { block A } catch { block B } finally { block C }

translates to:

(
  set -Ee
  function _catch {
    block B
    exit 0  # optional; use if you don't want to propagate (rethrow) error to outer shell
  }
  function _finally {
    block C
  }
  trap _catch ERR
  trap _finally EXIT
  block A
)
2017/06/23

There are so many similar solutions which probably work. Below is a simple and working way to accomplish try/catch, with explanation in the comments.

#!/bin/bash

function a() {
  # do some stuff here
}
function b() {
  # do more stuff here
}

# this subshell is a scope of try
# try
(
  # this flag will make to exit from current subshell on any error
  # inside it (all functions run inside will also break on any error)
  set -e
  a
  b
  # do more stuff here
)
# and here we catch errors
# catch
errorCode=$?
if [ $errorCode -ne 0 ]; then
  echo "We have an error"
  # We exit the all script with the same error, if you don't want to
  # exit it and continue, just delete this line.
  exit $errorCode
fi
2017/10/06

bash does not abort the running execution in case something detects an error state (unless you set the -e flag). Programming languages which offer try/catch do this in order to inhibit a "bailing out" because of this special situation (hence typically called "exception").

In the bash, instead, only the command in question will exit with an exit code greater than 0, indicating that error state. You can check for that of course, but since there is no automatic bailing out of anything, a try/catch does not make sense. It is just lacking that context.

You can, however, simulate a bailing out by using sub shells which can terminate at a point you decide:

(
  echo "Do one thing"
  echo "Do another thing"
  if some_condition
  then
    exit 3  # <-- this is our simulated bailing out
  fi
  echo "Do yet another thing"
  echo "And do a last thing"
)   # <-- here we arrive after the simulated bailing out, and $? will be 3 (exit code)
if [ $? = 3 ]
then
  echo "Bail out detected"
fi

Instead of that some_condition with an if you also can just try a command, and in case it fails (has an exit code greater than 0), bail out:

(
  echo "Do one thing"
  echo "Do another thing"
  some_command || exit 3
  echo "Do yet another thing"
  echo "And do a last thing"
)
...

Unfortunately, using this technique you are restricted to 255 different exit codes (1..255) and no decent exception objects can be used.

If you need more information to pass along with your simulated exception, you can use the stdout of the subshells, but that is a bit complicated and maybe another question ;-)

Using the above mentioned -e flag to the shell you can even strip that explicit exit statement:

(
  set -e
  echo "Do one thing"
  echo "Do another thing"
  some_command
  echo "Do yet another thing"
  echo "And do a last thing"
)
...
2020/02/17