Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Exception_notification plugin for automated exception emailing

I found a really useful plugin called exception_notification that I've been using on my servers for several months now. It will send emails to addresses that you configure any time an exception is generated on your server, if the server is in production mode. The email contains the full details of the exception, including the call stack. It's almost as useful as the error page that gets displayed for exceptions in development mode.

The plugin has helped me discover and fix a whole bunch of obscure errors that I never would have discovered on my own or through users complaining.

This may not be appropriate for a server where you have a large volume of users. You probably wouldn't want to get thousands of emails of the exact same error a day especially if it's a bug that you already know about. But it works great for servers with a low volume of users, or for internal test servers. For a test server, your testers won't need to record the details of the error and send it to you separately, it will automatically be sent to you!

To get started, run
script/plugin install exception_notification

Then edit your config/environment.rb file to include the following line, specifying the email addresses to send exceptions to:
ExceptionNotifier.exception_recipients = %w(

Another useful option you can add to environment.rb specifies who the sender of the exception should appear as:
ExceptionNotifier.sender_address = "\"App Error\" <>"

Then add this to your application controller if you want all actions in your application to generate exception emails.
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
include ExceptionNotifiable 

You can also include this only on the controllers that you want to generate exception emails.

The full source for this is at Read the README file there for more detailed information on configuring it.

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