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WTF Solidity: 30. Try Catch

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try-catch is a standard way of handling exceptions that is almost ubiquitous in modern programming languages. Besides, it's added to solidity0.6.

In this chapter, we will introduce you how to use try-catch to handle exceptions in smart contracts.


In solidity, try-catch can only be used for external function or call constructor (considered external function) when creating contracts. The basic syntax is as follows:

        try externalContract.f() {
// if call succeeds, run some codes
} catch {
// if call fails, run some codes

externalContract.f() is function call of an external contract, try module runs if call succeeds, while catch module runs if call fails.

You can also use this.f() instead of externalContract.f(). this.f() is also considered as an external call, but can't be used in constructor because the contract has not been created at that time.

If the called function has a return value, then returns(returnType val) must be declared after try, and the returned variable can be used in try module. In the case of contract creation, the returned value is newly created contract variable.

        try externalContract.f() returns(returnType val){
// if call succeeds, run some codes
} catch {
// if call fails, run some codes

Besides, catch module supports catching special exception causes:

        try externalContract.f() returns(returnType){
// if call succeeds, run some codes
} catch Error(string memory /*reason*/) {
// catch revert("reasonString") and require(false, "reasonString")
} catch Panic(uint /*errorCode*/) {
// Catch errors caused by Panic, such as assert failures, overflows, division by zero, array access out of bounds
} catch (bytes memory /*lowLevelData*/) {
// If a revert occurs and the above two exception types fail to match, it will go into this branch
// such as revert(), require(false), revert a custom type error

try-catch actual combat


We create an external contract OnlyEven and use try-catch to handle exceptions:

contract OnlyEven{
constructor(uint a){
require(a != 0, "invalid number");
assert(a != 1);

function onlyEven(uint256 b) external pure returns(bool success){
// revert when an odd number is entered
require(b % 2 == 0, "Ups! Reverting");
success = true;

OnlyEven contract contains a constructor and an onlyEven function.

  • constructor has one argument a, when a=0, require will throw an exception; When a=1, assert will throw an exception. All other conditions are normal.
  • onlyEven function has one argument b, when b is odd, require will throw an exception.

Handle external function call exceptions

First, define some events and state variables in TryCatch contract:

    // success event
event SuccessEvent();

// failure event
event CatchEvent(string message);
event CatchByte(bytes data);

// declare OnlyEven contract variable
OnlyEven even;

constructor() {
even = new OnlyEven(2);

SuccessEvent is the event that will be released when call succeeds, while CatchEvent and CatchByte are the events that will be released when an exception is thrown, corresponding to require/revert and assert exceptions respectively. even is a state variable of OnlyEven contract type.

Then we use try-catch in execute function to handle exception in the call to external function onlyEven:

    // use try-catch in external call
function execute(uint amount) external returns (bool success) {
try even.onlyEven(amount) returns(bool _success){
// if call succeeds
emit SuccessEvent();
return _success;
} catch Error(string memory reason){
// if call fails
emit CatchEvent(reason);

verify on remix

When running execute(0), because 0 is even, satisfy require(b % 2 == 0, "Ups! Reverting");, so no exception is thrown. The call succeeds and SuccessEvent is released.

When running execute(1), because 1 is odd, doesn't satisfy require(b % 2 == 0, "Ups! Reverting");, so exception is thrown. The call fails and CatchEvent is released.

Handle contract creation exceptions

Here we use try-catch to handle exceptions when a contract is created. Just need to rewrite try module to the creation of OnlyEven contract

    // use try-catch when creating new contract(Contract creation is considered an external call)
// executeNew(0) will fail and emit `CatchEvent`
// executeNew(1) will fail and emit `CatchByte`
// executeNew(2) will succeed and emit `SuccessEvent`
function executeNew(uint a) external returns (bool success) {
try new OnlyEven(a) returns(OnlyEven _even){
// if call succeeds
emit SuccessEvent();
success = _even.onlyEven(a);
} catch Error(string memory reason) {
// catch revert("reasonString") and require(false, "reasonString")
emit CatchEvent(reason);
} catch (bytes memory reason) {
// catch assert() of failure, the error type of assert is Panic(uint256) instead of Error(string), so it will go into this branch
emit CatchByte(reason);

verify on remix

When running executeNew(0), because 0 doesn't satisfy require(a != 0, "invalid number");, the call will fail and CatchEvent is released.

When running executeNew(1), because 1 doesn't satisfy assert(a != 1);, the call will fail and CatchByte is released.

When running executeNew(2), because 2 satisfy require(a != 0, "invalid number"); and assert(a != 1);, the call succeeds and SuccessEvent is released.


In this chapter, we introduced how to use try-catch in solidity to handle exceptions in the operation of smart contracts.