Ajax Error Handling

In Order to return an Ajax error from the server, you need to set the response status to 500, For example if you are working with Java Servlets, your Java Servlet will return the error as follows:

public class AjaxServlet extends HttpServlet {

	protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request,
			HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
		try {
			// Do whatever you want to do
		} catch (Exception exception) {
		} finally {
			// Clean up ...

In the client side, you can get the server error message (after checking that the readyState of the XML HTTP Request (XHR) is 4, and the status of the XHR object is 500) from the responseText of the XHR object.

If you are using a JavaScript framework (the Dojo for example): In the Dojo xhrPost API, in order to get the error message, you can get it from the ioArgs parameter of the error callback as follows:

dojo.xhrPost( {
	url: 'service URL',
	content: {},
	handleAs: 'text',
	load: function(response, ioArgs) {
		// Do something
	error: function(response, ioArgs) {
		alert("Failed while doing the operation: " + ioArgs.xhr.response);

Using the ioArgs.xhr.response, you can get the full error message from the server response, you can also get the status code from the ioArgs.xhr.status.

I wish that this advice can be useful for you in order to make Ajax error handling correctly.

This entry was posted in Ajax, JavaScript, Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , , , by Hazem Saleh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Hazem Saleh

Hazem Saleh has more than eleven years of experience in Cloud, Mobile and Open Source technologies. He worked as a software engineer, technical leader, application architect, and technical consultant for many clients around the world. He is an Apache PMC (Project Management Committee) member and a person who spent many years of his life writing open source software. Beside being the author of the "JavaScript Unit Testing" book, "JavaScript Mobile Application Development" book, "Pro JSF and HTML5" book and the co-author of the "Definitive guide to Apache MyFaces" book, Hazem is also an author of many technical articles, a developerWorks contributing author and a technical speaker in both local and international conferences such as ApacheCon North America, Geecon, JavaLand, JSFDays, CON-FESS Vienna and JavaOne. Hazem is an XIBMer, he worked in IBM for ten years. Now, He is working for Nickelodeon New York as a Mobile Architect. He is also an OpenGroup Master Certified Specialist.