Re: Throwing Constructor Exceptions and cleaning up

"Larry K. Wollensham" <>
Tue, 14 Apr 2009 02:41:15 -0400
Arne Vajh?j wrote:

Richard Maher wrote:

For me, the important bits were: - finalize() is really just
and not a destructor, everything is GC'ed at process exit,

Note that finalizers will not necessarily be run at JVM exit.

It will only be guaranteed if System runFinalizersOnExit is called.

And that method is deprecated in every sense of the word.

 > and you gotta

clean-up after yourself, there's no magic-wand or guaranteed


Try catch finally and do the right thing.

Remember that finally executes on any exit from the try block, including
success (fall out or return from inside it, or break or continue from
inside it to outside it).

Something like this will work:

public class MyClass {
     private final InputStream wrapped;

     public MyClass (int arg1) throws IOException {
         if (arg1 < 0) throw new IllegalArgumentException();
         boolean success = false;
         InputStream w = null;
         try {
             w = new FileInputStream(getFile(arg1));
             wrapped = w;
             success = true;
         } finally {
             if (w != null && !success) w.close();

     private static File getFile (int arg1) { ... }
     private static void someSetupStuffThatMayThrow ()
         throws IOException { ... }

The finally block cleans up by closing the InputStream only if a success
flag wasn't put up at the end of the try body (and only if the stream
itself was opened successfully).

If the input stream can b0rk and the object (or at least the stream) is
useless once this has occurred, every method that uses the stream may
wish to catch IOException, close the stream, and rethrow. The object
might wish to make all future operations (at least involving the stream)
fail fast with a non-checked exception after this; simply setting the
stream to null works (if it's not final; it is in the example above).

The constructor however has to deal with the possibility of any
exception at all, not just ones that invalidate the stream, because
unhandlable ones will invalidate the whole object. This includes OOME or
other Errors. Hence the need for a finally block that cleans up under
every circumstance other than a clear success. Maximum safety occurs if
putting the success flag up is the last thing done before the try body
exits, and nothing is done after the try body (and the finally body)
except to fall out of the constructor.

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