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Find your inner exception

, 12 Sep 2013 CPOL
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One approach to find a specific exception type inside the containing exception


We have some code that uses CSLA, and in the process of manipulating the database, an exception is being thrown that we handle via a custom exception. In some cases, CSLA leaves the thrown exception alone, but in others, it decorates the exceptions message something like this: "DataPortal_Fetch.Error blah blah blah:OUR INTENDED MESSAGE HERE: stack trace info". After spending 30 minutes trying (and failing) to finger out where this decoration was happening, I came up with the following solution.

The Code

I create this extension method for the Exception class:

public static class ExceptionExtension
    public static T FindInnerException<T>(this Exception ex) where T : Exception
        if (!ex.GetType().Equals(typeof(T)))
            Exception inner = ex.InnerException;
            if (inner == null)
                return null;
                if (inner.GetType().Equals(typeof(T)))
                    return (T)inner;
                    return inner.FindInnerException<T>();
            return (T)ex;

It's pretty simple really. The code is looking for the first exception in the chain for the specified exception type. If the end of the chain is reached before finding the desired type, the method returns null. If it finds the desired type, it returns the exception it found.

NOTE: Fred Flams posted a comment with a modification that makes the code a little more versatile. Make sure you check it out. What about chain of inheritance[^]


    // do something that could throw your custom exception
catch (Exception ex)
    MyCustomException myEx = ex.FindInnerException<MyCustomException>();
    if (myEx != null)
        // do something with the exception


  • Original Creation: 09/11/2013


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

John Simmons / outlaw programmer
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
I've been paid as a programmer since 1982 with experience in Pascal, and C++ (both self-taught), and began writing Windows programs in 1991 using Visual C++ and MFC. In the 2nd half of 2007, I started writing C# Windows Forms and ASP.Net applications, and have since done WPF, Silverlight, WCF, web services, and Windows services.
My weakest point is that my moments of clarity are too brief to hold a meaningful conversation that requires more than 30 seconds to complete. Thankfully, grunts of agreement are all that is required to conduct most discussions without committing to any particular belief system.

Comments and Discussions

QuestionWhat is the error? PinmemberAmmar Amros15-Sep-13 6:09 
AnswerRe: What is the error? PinprofessionalPIEBALDconsult15-Sep-13 6:54 
GeneralRe: What is the error? PinmemberAmmar Amros15-Sep-13 8:11 
AnswerRe: What is the error? PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer16-Sep-13 16:26 
SuggestionI like it ;) PinprofessionalPaw Jershauge12-Sep-13 23:19 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberjohannesnestler12-Sep-13 5:57 
QuestionWhat about chain of inheritance PinmemberFred Flams12-Sep-13 2:45 
AnswerRe: What about chain of inheritance Pinmemberjohannesnestler12-Sep-13 5:56 
Hi Fred,
I think your addition is good and usefull. I just wonder why not just use
if (inner is T)
- Looks more elegant and also returns true for subclasses. Or is there some problem I'm not aware of with the is operator in this case?
GeneralRe: What about chain of inheritance PinmemberFred Flams13-Sep-13 2:39 
GeneralRe: What about chain of inheritance PinprofessionalRichard Deeming18-Sep-13 6:06 
AnswerRe: What about chain of inheritance PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer12-Sep-13 8:18 
GeneralRe: What about chain of inheritance PinmemberFred Flams13-Sep-13 2:44 

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