Vue.js Error Handling with Renderless Components

Solid error handling is one those things which can make the difference between a good application and a great application. In todays article we’ll take a look at how we can build renderless components to help us capture errors in our Vue.js applications. We’ll build a generic error handling component which we can use to wrap other components to catch errors and notify the user that something went wrong. Furthermore, we will explore how we can use our generic renderless error component to create a more specific component that displays a toast popup each time an error occurs.

If you’re interested in the complete code featured in this article you can checkout the CodeSandbox where you can also see a live demo.

How to capture errors in Vue.js

Since version 2.5.0 Vue.js has support for the errorCaptured hook which can be used to capture errors of child components. Initially the errorCaptured hook was not able to capture errors in custom methods but this has been fixed with Vue.js 2.6.0.

<template>
  <div class="MyComponent">
    <ComponentWithErrors/>
  </div>
</template>

<script>
import ComponentWithErrors from './ComponentWithErrors.vue';

exports default {
  name: 'MyComponent',
  components: {
    ComponentWithErrors,
  },
  errorCaptured(error) {
    console.log('An error has occurred!', error);
  },
};
</script>

In the code snippet above you can see a very simple example of how the errorCaptured hook can be used to capture errors of child components. Keep in mind though that errorCapture does not really capture errors unless you return false in order to prevent the error from propagating further.

Building an error handler component

Now that we know the basics of how the errorCaptured hook works let’s build our own generic error handler component.

// src/components/FrameError.js
export default {
  props: {
    capture: {
      default: false,
      type: Boolean,
    },
  },
  data() {
    return {
      error: null,
    };
  },
  methods: {
    reset() {
      this.error = null;
      this.$emit('reset');
    },
  },
  errorCaptured(error) {
    this.error = error;
    this.$emit('error', error);
    // Optionally capture errors.
    if (this.capture) return false;
  },
  render() {
    return this.$scopedSlots.default({
      error: this.error,
      reset: this.reset,
    });
  },
};

The renderless component you can see above takes one property capture to determine if the errorCaptured hook should return false to stop error propagation. Additionally you can see that we set an error variable as soon as an error is captured and we’re also emitting a corresponding error event. The error and a reset() method are passed as props to the child component via the default scoped slot.

<template>
  <FrameError @error="showSnackbar">
    <div class="GenericDemo">
      <ErrorThrowerButton/>
      <UiSnackbarContainer
        ref="snackbar"
        :duration="6000"
      />
    </div>
  </FrameError>
</template>

<script>
import { UiSnackbarContainer } from 'keen-ui';

import ErrorThrowerButton from './ErrorThrowerButton';
import FrameError from './FrameError';

export default {
  components: {
    ErrorThrowerButton,
    FrameError,
    UiSnackbarContainer,
  },
  methods: {
    showSnackbar(error) {
      // Trigger a Keen UI snackbar to open.
      this.$refs.snackbar.createSnackbar({
        message: error.message
      });
    },
  },
};
</script>

Above you can see an example of how we can use the generic FrameError renderless component to trigger some action like showing a snackbar containing the error message.


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Making a snackbar error capturing component

Let’s take the code from above and create a more specific and easily reusable CaptureErrorSnackbar component.

<template>
  <FrameError @error="showSnackbar">
    <div class="CaptureErrorSnackbar">
      <slot/>
      <UiSnackbarContainer ref="snackbar" :duration="6000"/>
    </div>
  </FrameError>
</template>

<script>
import { UiSnackbarContainer } from 'keen-ui';

import FrameError from './FrameError';

export default {
  components: {
    FrameError,
    UiSnackbarContainer,
  },
  methods: {
    showSnackbar(error) {
      this.$refs.snackbar.createSnackbar({
        message: error.message,
      });
    },
  },
};
</script>

As you can see above we replaced the direct usage of the child component <ErrorThrowerButton/> with a generic <slot/>. This makes it possible to reuse this component whenever you need to catch errors.

<template>
  <div class="MyContainerComponent">
    <CaptureErrorSnackbar>
      <ErrorThrowerButton/>
    </CaptureErrorSnackbar>
  </div>
</template>

Wrapping it up

When building modern, API powered single page applications, it is important to plan for errors. HTTP requests can fail and they occasionally will fail. We always have to keep that in mind and build our code in a way that it fails gracefully.

As developers we should always try to make our code as simple as possible. By utilizing the power of generic error handling wrapper components, we’re able to build resilient applications without having to repeat the same error handling logic again and again in different components.

References


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