Note: information on this page refers to Ceylon 1.1, not to the current release.

try statement

The try statement is used to execute a block of code that may result in an exception being thrown, providing additional blocks to handle the exceptional circumstances, and, optionally, another block to be executed in all circumstances.


An example of a basic try/catch/finally construct:

try {
    // some code
} catch (ReadException e) {
    // clean up code
} catch (WriteException e) {
    // clean up code
} finally {
    // clean up code

Or, with a resource expression:

try (Reader input = open('/etc/passwd')) {
    // ...


The try statment is used to handle exceptions thrown by the throw statement.

The try clause may optionally have a list of one or more resource expressions. If it does then both catch and finally clauses are optional, otherwise at least one other of those clauses is required. Each resource expressions must have either the type Destroyable or the type Obtainable.

The catch clause specifies the type of exception (which must be a subtype of Throwable) to be handled by the associated block. The block is executed only if an exception assignable to that type propagates out of the try block and the exception was not assignable to the type of any earlier catch clause.

The finally clause specifies a block to be executed whether or not an exception propogated out of the try block, and whether or not any matching catch clause was found.


  1. If there are any resource expressions they are evaluated and, if they are of type Obtainable, obtain() is invoked.
  2. Each of the statements in the try block is executed until either an exception propagates to the try block or all statements in the block have executed.
  3. Whether or not the try block executed normally, each of the resources acquired in 1 is handled in turn. If the resource is of type Destroyable then destroy() is invoked. If the resource is of type Obtainable then release() is invoked.
  4. If an exception propogated out of the try block, each of the catch clauses is considered in turn:
    1. If the propgated exception is a subtype of the exception type of the catch clause the corresponding block is executed.
  5. If there is a finally block, it is executed.

The finally guarantee

It's worth bearing in mind that the virtual machine could do things which prevent a finally clause from executing, or from executing in a timely fashion, even though the application may continue to execute. Such things may include:

  • Virtual machine exit
  • Termination or interruption of the application thread executing the finally block
  • Non-terminating ("infinite loop") code while evaluating a close() or executing a statement in a catch block.


Note that union type expressions can and should be used to avoid writing multiple catch blocks with the same logic to handle disparate exception types:

catch (ReadException|WriteException e) {
    // ...

See also