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Excel Services Alerts

Excel Web Services exposes alerts for errors that occur within the Web service, and errors that are returned by Excel Calculation Services.

Errors are exposed to a developer's application in three ways:

  • Excel calculation errors are returned similarly to how they are shown in Excel—that is, as cell error values, such as #VALUE!. When you call the GetCell or GetRange methods and ask for formatted values, you'll get the # style error string. If you ask for unformatted values, you'll get an enumerated error code. For more information, see the "Error Codes" section later in this topic.

  • When an error occurs during the processing of one of the Web service methods, preventing the method from finishing successfully, the error is exposed as a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) exception. You can and should catch this error in your code. These types of errors are also known as "stop" alerts.

  • Errors that do not prevent the method from returning normal results are returned as part of the method arguments, specifically as an output argument. These types of errors are considered noncritical errors. The reason the errors are returned as an output argument instead of an exception is because throwing an exception would divert the code from its normal execution path, which is not desirable with noncritical errors. Checking for these errors is optional. These types of errors are also known as "continue" alerts.

Types of Alerts

There are two types of alerts: "stop" and "continue."

"stop" alerts

"stop" alerts cause the current operation to stop. This means the workbook will be rolled back to its state prior to any execution taking place for the current operation. The "stop" alerts are exposed as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) exceptions.

"continue" alerts

"continue" alerts are typically warnings or noncritical errors. When Excel Calculation Services throws a "continue" alert, the operation continues. These alerts are returned as out arguments—a struct with the various alert fields. For more information, see the Status class reference topics in the Microsoft.Office.Excel.Server.WebServices namespace.

Exceptions to Catch

You should catch errors specific to Excel Calculation Services that you know the user might cause. For example, if your application asks the user to type the path to a workbook, the user might type the wrong path or select a workbook that doesn't exist. As the developer, you cannot control what the user types, but you can control the user experience when a user accidentally misspells a workbook file name.

You should catch the SOAP exceptions (that is, the "stop" alerts) in your code. For "continue" alerts, the calling code may choose to ignore or review the alert information.

Error Codes

To make it easier for the developer to catch specific error conditions, an Excel Calculation Services alert has an associated error code. The Web service then returns the error using properties from the SoapException class.

For more information, see the "SoapException Class" topic in the Microsoft .NET Framework SDK documentation.

Exception Handling

If your application (that is, your SOAP client) sends a request to a Web service that the service is unable to process, the service returns a SOAP exception to the client. Handling exceptions thrown by Excel Web Services is an important part of the applications that you develop, because you can return specific information to users when errors occur. Exception handling can also help to make the user experience better when something unexpected happens in your application.

For general information about exception handling, see "Handling and Throwing Exceptions" in the Microsoft .NET Framework SDK documentation.

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