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An Introduction to Python
by Guido van Rossum and Fred L. Drake, Jr.
Paperback (6"x9"), 124 pages
ISBN 0954161769
RRP £12.95 ($19.95)

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8.2 Exceptions

Even if a statement or expression is syntactically correct, it may cause an error when an attempt is made to execute it. Errors detected during execution are called exceptions and are not unconditionally fatal: you will soon learn how to handle them in Python programs. Most exceptions are not handled by programs, however, and result in error messages as shown here:

    >>> 10 * (1/0)
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
    ZeroDivisionError: integer division or modulo by zero
    >>> 4 + spam*3
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
    NameError: name 'spam' is not defined
    >>> '2' + 2
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
    TypeError: cannot concatenate 'str' and 'int' objects

The last line of the error message indicates what happened. Exceptions come in different types, and the type is printed as part of the message: the types in the example are ZeroDivisionError, NameError and TypeError. The string printed as the exception type is the name of the built-in exception that occurred. This is true for all built-in exceptions, but need not be true for user-defined exceptions (although it is a useful convention). Standard exception names are built-in identifiers (not reserved keywords).

The rest of the line provides detail based on the type of exception and what caused it.

The preceding part of the error message shows the context where the exception happened, in the form of a stack traceback. In general it contains a stack traceback listing source lines; however, it will not display lines read from standard input.

The Python Library Reference Manual lists the built-in exceptions and their meanings.

ISBN 0954161769An Introduction to PythonSee the print edition