Java Language submit() vs execute() exception handling differences


Example

Generally execute() command is used for fire and forget calls (without need of analyzing the result) and submit() command is used for analyzing the result of Future object.

We should be aware of key difference of Exception Handling mechanisms between these two commands.

Exceptions from submit() are swallowed by framework if you did not catch them.

Code example to understand the difference:

Case 1: submit the Runnable with execute() command, which reports the Exception.

import java.util.concurrent.*;
import java.util.*;

public class ExecuteSubmitDemo {
    public ExecuteSubmitDemo() {
        System.out.println("creating service");
        ExecutorService service = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(2);
        //ExtendedExecutor service = new ExtendedExecutor();
        for (int i = 0; i < 2; i++){
            service.execute(new Runnable(){
                 public void run(){
                    int a = 4, b = 0;
                    System.out.println("a and b=" + a + ":" + b);
                    System.out.println("a/b:" + (a / b));
                    System.out.println("Thread Name in Runnable after divide by zero:"+Thread.currentThread().getName());
                 }
            });
        }
        service.shutdown();
    }
    public static void main(String args[]){
        ExecuteSubmitDemo demo = new ExecuteSubmitDemo();
    }
}

class ExtendedExecutor extends ThreadPoolExecutor {

   public ExtendedExecutor() { 
       super(1, 1, 60, TimeUnit.SECONDS, new ArrayBlockingQueue<Runnable>(100));
   }
   // ...
   protected void afterExecute(Runnable r, Throwable t) {
     super.afterExecute(r, t);
     if (t == null && r instanceof Future<?>) {
       try {
         Object result = ((Future<?>) r).get();
       } catch (CancellationException ce) {
           t = ce;
       } catch (ExecutionException ee) {
           t = ee.getCause();
       } catch (InterruptedException ie) {
           Thread.currentThread().interrupt(); // ignore/reset
       }
     }
     if (t != null)
       System.out.println(t);
   }
 }

output:

creating service
a and b=4:0
a and b=4:0
Exception in thread "pool-1-thread-1" Exception in thread "pool-1-thread-2" java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero
        at ExecuteSubmitDemo$1.run(ExecuteSubmitDemo.java:15)
        at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:1145)
        at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$Worker.run(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:615)
        at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:744)
java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero
        at ExecuteSubmitDemo$1.run(ExecuteSubmitDemo.java:15)
        at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:1145)
        at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$Worker.run(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:615)
        at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:744)

Case 2: Replace execute() with submit() : service.submit(new Runnable(){ In this case, Exceptions are swallowed by framework since run() method did not catch them explicitly.

output:

creating service
a and b=4:0
a and b=4:0

Case 3: Change the newFixedThreadPool to ExtendedExecutor

//ExecutorService service = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(2);
 ExtendedExecutor service = new ExtendedExecutor(); 

output:

creating service
a and b=4:0
java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero
a and b=4:0
java.lang.ArithmeticException: / by zero

I have demonstrated this example to cover two topics : Use your custom ThreadPoolExecutor and handle Exectpion with custom ThreadPoolExecutor.

Other simple solution to above problem : When you are using normal ExecutorService & submit command, get the Future object from submit() command call get() API on Future. Catch the three exceptions, which have been quoted in afterExecute method implementation. Advantage of custom ThreadPoolExecutor over this approach : You have to handle Exception handling mechanism in only one place - Custom ThreadPoolExecutor.