error in except

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Mon Feb 4 23:21:20 CET 2013

Rodrick Brown wrote:

> For the life of me I cant figure out why this exception is being thrown.
> How could I use pdb to debug this?
> $ python server
>   File "", line 36
>     except:
>          ^
> SyntaxError: invalid syntax

You can't use pdb to debug it, because you can't run the code until you fix
the syntax error. You use your text editor to debug it.

Sometimes if you have a missing bracket (round, square or curly), Python
reports the syntax error on the line *after* where it expected the closing

I've also seen unexpected syntax errors if the source code contains binary
characters such as DOS end-of-file ^Z. Try opening the file in a hex editor
and looking for anything that shouldn't be there.

But the most likely problem is that you are mixing tabs and spaces, and
consequently have inadvertently become confused about the indent level. You
think that the "except" clause is indented level with a try, but it
actually is indented level with something else. Using spaces for indents is
good; using tabs for indents is also good; using both at the same time is a
nightmare. (Python 3 prohibits this.)

I recommend running TabNanny over the file:

python -m tabnanny <file-or-directory>

A couple of comments on your code:

> try:
>     data = s.recv(MAX)
> except socket.timeout:
>     delay *= 2
>     if delay > 2.0:
>         raise RuntimeError('I think the server is down')

Five attempts and a total of 3.1 seconds (0.1 + 0.2 + 0.4 + 0.8 + 1.6) is
rather short to conclude that a server is down, although it depends on what
sort of server and where it is. I would have thought 30 seconds is more
appropriate. (By default, wget doesn't time out for 3 minutes, which is
possibly overkill.)

But either way, I don't think RuntimeError is the right exception to use. I
expect that a socket error would be more relevant.

> except:
>     raise

What this does is:

"Unconditionally catch anything. Then raise it again."

Don't do this. The right thing to do here is, just delete it and don't catch
it at all.


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