Tag Archive for: error handling

There has not been alot of troubleshooting discussed in the adventures series.  Just like with most coding languages, you can gracefully handle errors resulting from actions (like divide by 0) and return descriptive information to the users and administrators in the job console.  There are several benefits that I see.

  • As previously stated, since the error is accounted for, the user doesn’t get a message that shows a failure with no context.
  • The error object will provide more information about what happened and what should be done to fix it in the future.
  • Predefined actions can take place since the error doesn’t interrupt the script, like returning an error message that tells the user to contact the administrator with an action

Error Handling Introduction

Try / catch / finally is a concept most development languages have.  Conceptually, you “try” some group of commands and “catch” any errors that might happen.  If you “catch” an error, you account for it by doing something.  “Finally,” you perform any closing actions.

try {
  def arr = 1/0
} catch(Exception ex) {
  println ex.toString()
  println ex.getMessage()
  println ex.getStackTrace()
}finally {
   println "The final block"

In this case, ex.toString() prints

java.lang.ArithmeticException: Division by zero

ex.getMessage() prints

Division by zero

and ex.getStackTrace()

[java.math.BigDecimal.divide(Unknown Source), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.typehandling.BigDecimalMath.divideImpl(BigDecimalMath.java:68), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.typehandling.IntegerMath.divideImpl(IntegerMath.java:49), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.dgmimpl.NumberNumberDiv$NumberNumber.invoke(NumberNumberDiv.java:323), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.callsite.PojoMetaMethodSite.call(PojoMetaMethodSite.java:56), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.callsite.CallSiteArray.defaultCall(CallSiteArray.java:48), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.callsite.AbstractCallSite.call(AbstractCallSite.java:113), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.callsite.AbstractCallSite.call(AbstractCallSite.java:125), ConsoleScript11.run(ConsoleScript11:2), groovy.lang.GroovyShell.runScriptOrMainOrTestOrRunnable(GroovyShell.java:263), groovy.lang.GroovyShell.run(GroovyShell.java:387), groovy.lang.GroovyShell.run(GroovyShell.java:366), groovy.lang.GroovyShell.run(GroovyShell.java:170), groovy.lang.GroovyShell$run$0.call(Unknown Source), groovy.ui.Console$_runScriptImpl_closure18.doCall(Console.groovy:1123), groovy.ui.Console$_runScriptImpl_closure18.doCall(Console.groovy), sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke0(Native Method), sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(Unknown Source), sun.reflect.DelegatingMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(Unknown Source), java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke(Unknown Source), org.codehaus.groovy.reflection.CachedMethod.invoke(CachedMethod.java:98), groovy.lang.MetaMethod.doMethodInvoke(MetaMethod.java:325), org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.metaclass.ClosureMetaClass.invokeMethod(ClosureMetaClass.java:294), groovy.lang.MetaClassImpl.invokeMethod(MetaClassImpl.java:989), groovy.lang.Closure.call(Closure.java:415), groovy.lang.Closure.call(Closure.java:409), groovy.lang.Closure.run(Closure.java:496), java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)]

The script in the final block is also written out.  It is intended for cleanup and tasks that run at the end of a script regardless of whether there is an error or not.

Handling Errors Uniquely

The catch command can be replicated to handle errors uniquely.  Let’s expand on the example above.  Assume the variable is coming from an RTP or cell value.  The following has a catch for a specific error.  The java.lang.ArithmeticException is equal to the output of ex.toString().  There are probably thousands of errors, if not more.  The easiest way for me to grab these is to use the ex.toString() and see what it produces.  I have no desire to remember or learn them all!

The following will do something different for the divide by zero error than all other errors.

  def denominator = 0
  println 1/denominator
catch(java.lang.ArithmeticException ex) 
  println ex.getMessage()
  println "an action should be taken to account for the error"
catch(Exception ex) 
  println ex.toString()
  println ex.getMessage()
  println ex.getStackTrace()
  println "The final block"

Finishing Up

This requires a little more effort, but once you get used to doing this, it can be reused.  I hear the argument that if you account for every possible situation, you don’t need to error trap.  That is true, and if you are smart enough to account for everything that can go wrong, don’t include this in your Groovy calculation.  I would argue that simple calculations probably don’t need this level of error handling, but more complex logic might be a candidate.  The example above could obviously be handled with an if statement, but put it in context.  It is used to illustrate the concept of try / catch / finally.


Working with people new to Essbase every three to six months, I am always looking for ways to show users their hierarchies effectively. Many of them don’t have access to Essbase administration services or EPMA.  So, I always fall back to excel as a distribution method, as well as documentation, to show hierarchies.

Expanding hierarchies to all descendants is a great way to show small hierarchies, but, I am always asked to make it a collapsible hierarchy using the Excel grouping feature. The challenge of doing this manually to a hierarchy with thousands of members is that it is extremely time consuming and very error prone.

The following script can be added to any workbook to automate this effort.

Sub CreateOutline()
    Dim cell As Range
    Dim iCount As Integer
    For Each cell In Selection
        'Check the number of spaces in front of the member name 
        'and divide by 5 (one level)
        iCount = (Len(cell.Value) - Len(Trim(cell.Value))) / 5
        'Only execute if the row is indented
        If iCount <> 0 Then cell.EntireRow.OutlineLevel = iCount
    Next cell
    MsgBox "Completed"
End Sub


First, this sub routine has to be added to a workbook.  Open up the visual basic editor. Right click on the workbook in the project explorer window and add a new module. Paste the code above in the new module.  The editor is in different places in different version.  In Excel 2007 and 2010, the Developer ribbon is not visible by default.  To make it visible, go to the navigator wheel and click Excel Options.  There is a checkbox named Show Developer Ribbon that will make this developer ribbon viewable.

How To Use

First, open the member selection option in the Essbase add-in or smart view and select the parent.  Add all its descendants.  Alternately, change the drill type to all descendants and zoom in on the member of the hierarchy.

Retrieve, or refresh, the data, and make sure the indent is set so the children are indented.  Now, highlight the range of cells that has the hierarchy/dimension that the grouping should be applied. This should include cells in one column of the worksheet.  Open the code editor and place the cursor inside the sub routine you added from above and click the green play triangle in the toolbar to execute the script.  When this is finished, go back to the worksheet with the hierarchy and it will have the hierarchy grouped.

Excel limits the level of groupings to eight. If the hierarchy has more than eight levels, they will be ignored. Now, the hierarchy can be expanded and collapsed for viewing.

Shortcut keys or toolbar buttons can be assigned to execute this function if it is used frequently. If you are interested in doing this, there are a plethora of how-to articles on this topic.  This Google search will get you started if you choose to go down that path.

So, the next time you need to explain a hierarchy in Essbase, or distribute it in a common format, hopefully this script will help.