51Degrees API Documentation  4.4

Error Handling


The Pipeline can contain and number or configuration of flow elements, including custom third-party ones. As such, it must have a robust and consistent error handling solution.

See the Specification for more technical details.


Almost all languages have try/catch constructs, so these are used by the Pipeline code when calling functions on flow elements.

If the flow element code raises an error, it will be handled by the catch statement.

Any error that occurs will be logged in the Errors section of the current flow data. The pipeline then proceeds to execution of the next flow element.

After all flow elements have completed, there are two possible scenarios, depending on Pipeline configuration:

  1. If the flow data contains any errors then an error will be raised using the standard language features.
  2. Execution will return to the caller of the Process function. Any errors will effectively be hidden/suppressed unless logging is configured or the Errors section of the flow data is checked by the caller.


Error handling is configured using the 'SuppressProcessExceptions' setting. If set to true, errors are hidden/suppressed. If false, an error will be raised at the end of Pipeline execution.

The default value is false. This is recommended for development/testing to highlight issues.

When running the Pipeline in production, we recommend setting this to true in order to prevent unexpected errors from crashing the application.

As with all configuration settings, this can be set in code or via a Pipeline configuration file (see .NET example).

Testing the unhappy path scenarios

In each integration there are dependencies that can fail, such as network connectivity, DNS, load balancers, web servers etc.

This is especially true for scenarios relying on 51Degrees Cloud Service. There are several steps you need to take to ensure your integration is safe against such failures and won't crash in production.

Simulating the failure

For Cloud integration there two ways to simulate a 51Degrees Cloud Service dependency failure:

  1. Specify a non-existent EndPoint in the CloudRequestEngine configuration in the configuration file. For example, set it to "http://nonexistent.domain/".
  2. Specify cloud.51degrees.com in the /etc/hosts file (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts on Windows).

Under any of these conditions your server app won't be able to talk to cloud.51degrees.com.


  1. Simulate the failure using one of the methods above.
  2. By default SuppressProcessExceptions is false, thus demanding you to first test the behaviors under this setting. Verify that you receive an exception originating in the 51D Pipeline code – it should state that cloud.51degrees.com is not reachable or similar.
  3. Next set SuppressProcessExceptions to true in the configuration and rerun the service. Verify that you don't get an exception from the 51D Pipeline code, but instead it now returns FlowData object with Errors. If you still get some exceptions, check the next step.
  4. Make sure you properly wrap getting the device data in your code from FlowData (FlowData.Get<IDeviceData>() in .NET) as this call may throw an exception (see .NET example). Also make sure that you wrap retrieving properties from device data, such as using a function that try-catch-wraps and null-checks the device data and its properties (see .NET example).
  5. Finally, undo the failure simulation (either remove the non-existent endpoint from the configuration or comment out the record in the hosts file), and observe the happy path scenario. All should work as expected.

Leave the SuppressProcessExceptions configuration set to true for the production setup, as it will protect the users from interruptions in case any of the dependencies fail.