RxJava: Recovery Operators

- 7 mins

Sometimes, intercepting exceptions before they get to the Observer and attempt some form of recovery is wanted. It’s not always possible to suppress the error and expect emissions to resume, but it’s possible to attempt re-subscribing or switch to an alternate source Observable.

Let’s take the following example:

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Error: java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero

Let’s try some recovering:

onErrorReturnItem()

Resorting to a default value when an exception occurs may be an option using onErrorReturnItem():

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .onErrorReturnItem(-1)
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: -1

Note that there is no more emission s after the error, the sequence is terminated!

onErrorReturn()

On error, the operator onErrorReturn() allow to return a value dynamically using a given function:

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .onErrorReturn { e -> e.hashCode() }
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: 1617791695

Just like onErrorReturnItem(), onErrorReturn() will terminate the sequence when an error occurs. A way to keep the sequence alive is by handling the error in the map() operator:

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> try { 10 / i } catch (e: Exception) { -1 } }
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: -1
Received: 2
Received: 3
Received: 1

OnErrorResumeNext()

This operator accepts an Observable as a parameter to emit potentially multiple values on error:

fun main() {
    val altObservable = Observable.just(-1).repeat(3)
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .onErrorResumeNext(altObservable)
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: -1
Received: -1
Received: -1

This operator can be used too to end gracefully emissions on error using Observable.empty():

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .onErrorResumeNext(Observable.empty())
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3

It’s possible too to provide a function to dynamically handle errors like the previous operators.

retry()

It’s possible to use the operator retry() to attempt recovery from an error.
A simple case is calling this operator without arguments. It will re-subscribe to the preceding Observable infinitely until no error occurs :

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .retry()
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
...

Passing a Long as argument to the retry() fixes the number of retries before it gives up and just emits the error to the Observer.

Providing a Predicate<Throwable> or BiPredicate<Integer,Throwable> conditionally controls when retry() is attempted:

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .retry (1) { e -> e is ArithmeticException }
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Error: java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero

retryUntil()

The retryUntil() operator will allow retries until a given BooleanSupplier lambda is true:

fun main() {
    var j = 0
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .retryUntil { j += 1; j == 2 }
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Error: java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero

retryWhen()

The retryWhen() operator supports advanced composition for tasks such as delaying retries:

fun main() {
    Observable.just(4, 1, 3, 0, 5, 3, 9)
        .map { i -> 10 / i }
        .retryWhen { Observable.timer(3, TimeUnit.SECONDS) }
        .subscribe(
            { println("Received: $it") },
            { println("Error: $it") }
        )

    TimeUnit.SECONDS.sleep(5)
}
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Received: 2
Received: 10
Received: 3
Mouaad Aallam

Mouaad Aallam

Computer Software Engineer

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