Error Handling and Debugging in VB .NET

Debugging your code is something you will need to do. Unless you write perfect code every time, there's no getting away from it. In this section, we'll take a look at ways you can track down errors using VB.NET.


Types of Error

Programming errors are generally broken down into three types: Design-time, Runtime, and Logic errors.

A Design-time error is also known as a syntax error. These occur when the environment you're programming in doesn't understand your code. These are easy to track down in VB.NET, because you get a blue wiggly line pointing them out. If you try to run the programme, you'll get a dialogue box popping up telling you that there were Build errors.

Runtime errors are a lot harder to track down. As their name suggests, these errors occur when the programme is running. They happen when your programme tries to do something it shouldn't be doing. An example is trying to access a file that doesn't exist. Runtime errors usually cause your programme to crash. If and when that happens, you get the blame. After all, you're the programmer, and you should write code to trap runtime errors. If you're trying to open a database in a specific location, and the database has been moved, a Runtime error will occur. It's your job to predict a thing like this, and code accordingly.

Logic errors also occur when the programme is running. They happen when your code doesn't quite behave the way you thought it would. A classic example is creating an infinite loop of the type "Do While x is greater than 10". If x is always going to be greater than 10, then the loop has no way to exit, and just keeps going round and round. Logic errors tend not to crash your programme. But they will ensure that it doesn't work properly.

In the next few pages, we'll take a closer look at all three types of error.