10 Custom Error Codes Best Practices

Error codes are an important part of any API. Here are 10 best practices for custom error codes that you should follow.

Custom error codes are an important part of any application. They provide a way for developers to quickly identify and address errors that occur in their code. But custom error codes can also be confusing and difficult to debug. That’s why it’s important to follow best practices when creating custom error codes.

In this article, we’ll discuss 10 best practices for creating custom error codes. We’ll cover topics such as how to name your codes, how to structure them, and how to use them to provide meaningful feedback to users. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your custom error codes are easy to understand and debug.

1. Use standard HTTP status codes

Standard HTTP status codes are widely recognized and understood by developers, making it easier for them to identify the cause of an error. Additionally, they provide a consistent way to communicate errors across different systems. This makes debugging much simpler since developers don’t have to spend time trying to figure out what each custom code means.

Finally, using standard HTTP status codes helps ensure that your API is compatible with other APIs. This allows you to easily integrate with third-party services without having to worry about compatibility issues.

2. Provide a link to documentation

When a user encounters an error code, they may not know what it means or how to fix the issue. Providing a link to documentation gives them access to more information about the error and potential solutions. This can help reduce frustration and confusion for users, as well as save time for customer service teams who would otherwise have to answer questions about the same errors over and over again.

Additionally, providing links to documentation helps ensure that users are getting accurate information about the error codes. Without this resource, users may turn to unreliable sources such as forums or social media, which could lead to incorrect advice being given.

3. Add error details in the response body

When an error occurs, it’s important to provide the user with as much information as possible about what went wrong. This helps them understand why the error occurred and how they can fix it. Adding detailed error messages in the response body allows users to quickly identify the source of the problem and take action accordingly.

It also makes debugging easier for developers since they don’t have to guess at what might be causing the issue. By providing detailed error messages, developers can quickly pinpoint the root cause of the problem and get to work on a solution.

4. Include an error code with each type of error

Error codes are a great way to quickly identify the source of an error and provide more detailed information about what went wrong.

Error codes should be unique for each type of error, so that they can easily be identified in logs or other debugging tools. Additionally, it’s important to include a brief description of the error with each code, so that developers can quickly understand what went wrong without having to look up the code. This will help them debug issues faster and improve their overall productivity.

5. Log errors and monitor them

Logging errors helps you identify and diagnose problems quickly, so that you can take corrective action. It also allows you to track trends in your application’s performance over time, which can help you anticipate potential issues before they become major problems.

Finally, logging errors gives you the ability to analyze user behavior and pinpoint areas of improvement. This is especially important if you’re developing a web or mobile app, as it will allow you to optimize the user experience and ensure that users are able to complete their tasks without any hiccups.

6. Don’t expose sensitive information

When an application throws a custom error code, it’s usually accompanied by some sort of message that explains the issue. If this message contains sensitive information such as passwords or API keys, then anyone who can access the error code will be able to see this data. This could lead to security issues and potential breaches.

To avoid this, make sure your messages are generic and don’t contain any sensitive information. Instead, use generic terms like “invalid credentials” or “unauthorized request”. This way, you can still provide useful feedback without exposing any confidential data.

7. Test your API for different types of errors

When you test your API for different types of errors, you can ensure that the custom error codes are being returned correctly. This helps to make sure that any issues with the API are quickly identified and addressed. Additionally, it allows developers to easily debug their code when they encounter an unexpected response from the API.

Finally, testing your API for different types of errors also ensures that the custom error codes are meaningful and descriptive. This makes it easier for developers to understand what went wrong and how to fix it.

8. Create custom error pages

Custom error pages allow you to provide a more user-friendly experience for your visitors when they encounter an error. Instead of just displaying a generic error message, custom error pages can include helpful information about the issue and how to resolve it.

Custom error pages also help with SEO by providing search engines with additional context about the page that is being displayed. This helps ensure that the correct page is indexed in search engine results, which can improve visibility and traffic. Finally, custom error pages are great for branding as they give you an opportunity to showcase your company’s logo or other visuals.

9. Keep it simple

Custom error codes should be easy to understand and interpret. If they are too complex, it can be difficult for developers to debug the issue quickly. Additionally, if the code is too complicated, it may not provide enough information to accurately diagnose the problem.

Therefore, when creating custom error codes, make sure that they are concise and descriptive. This will help ensure that developers can easily identify and resolve any issues that arise.

10. Consider using JSON-API format

JSON-API is a standard format for structuring error messages, which makes it easier to parse and interpret. It also allows you to include additional information in the response, such as an explanation of the error or a link to documentation that can help the user resolve the issue. This helps ensure that users have all the necessary information they need to understand and address the problem quickly. Additionally, using JSON-API ensures consistency across your application’s responses, making it easier to debug issues.


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