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The Java Development Kit 1.7 (JDK 1.7) introduced the try-with-resources statement (see the JLS, §14.20.3, "try-with-resources" [JLS 2013]),  which simplifies correct use of resources that implement the java.lang.AutoCloseable interface, including those that implement the java.io.Closeable interface.

Using the try-with-resources statement avoids problems that can arise when closing resources with an ordinary try-catch-finally block, such as failing to close a resource because an exception is thrown as a result of closing another resource, or masking an important exception when a resource is closed.    

Use of the try-with-resources statement is also illustrated in ERR05-J. Do not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block, FIO03-J. Remove temporary files before termination, and FIO04-J. Release resources when they are no longer needed.

Noncompliant Code Example

This noncompliant code example uses an ordinary try-catch-finally block in an attempt to close two resources.  

public void processFile(String inPath, String outPath) 
    throws IOException{
  BufferedReader br = null;
  BufferedWriter bw = null;
  try {
    br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(inPath));
    bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(outPath));
    // Process the input and produce the output
  } finally {
    try {
      if (br != null) {
       	br.close();
      }
      if (bw != null) {
       	bw.close();
      }
    } catch (IOException x) {
      // Handle error
    }
  }
}

However, if an exception is thrown when the BufferedReader br is closed, then the BufferedWriter bw will not be closed.

Compliant Solution (finally block)

This compliant solution uses a second finally block to guarantee that bw is properly closed even when an exception is thrown while closing br.

public void processFile(String inPath, String outPath)
    throws IOException {
  BufferedReader br = null;
  BufferedWriter bw = null;
  try {
    br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(inPath));
    bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(outPath));
    // Process the input and produce the output
  } finally {
    if (br != null) {
      try {
        br.close();
      } catch (IOException x) {
        // Handle error
      } finally {
        if (bw != null) {
          try {
            bw.close();
          } catch (IOException x) {
            // Handle error
          }
        }
      }
    }
  }
}

Compliant Solution (try-with-resources)

This compliant solution uses a try-with-resources statement to manage both br and bw.  

public void processFile(String inPath, String outPath)
   throws IOException{
  try (BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(inPath));
       BufferedWriter bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(outPath))) {
    // Process the input and produce the output
  } catch (IOException ex) {
    System.err.println("thrown exception: " + ex.toString());
    Throwable[] suppressed = ex.getSuppressed();
    for (int i = 0; i < suppressed.length; i++) {
      System.err.println("suppressed exception: " + suppressed[i].toString());
    }
  }
}

This solution preserves any exceptions thrown during the processing of the input while still guaranteeing that both br and bw are properly closed, regardless of what exceptions occur. Finally, this code demonstrates how to access every exception that may be produced from the try-with-resources block.

If only one exception is thrown, either during opening, processing, or closing of the files, the exception will be printed after "thrown exception:". If an exception is thrown during processing, and a second exception is thrown while trying to close either file, the first exception will be printed after "thrown exception:", and the second exception will be printed after "suppressed exception:".

Applicability

Failing to correctly handle all failure cases when working with closeable resources may result in some resources not being closed or in important exceptions being masked, possibly resulting in a denial of service. Note that failure to use a try-with-resources statement cannot be considered a security vulnerability in and of itself because it is possible to write a correctly structured group of nested try-catch-finally blocks guarding the resources that are in use (see ERR05-J. Do not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block). That said, failure to correctly handle such error cases is a common source of vulnerabilities. Use of a try-with-resources statement mitigates this issue by guaranteeing that the resources are managed correctly and that exceptions are never masked.

Automated Detection

ToolVersionCheckerDescription
SonarQube6.7S2093 

 

Bibliography

 


4 Comments

  1. Our Java standard contains try-with-resources code examples in FIO04-J. Release resources when they are no longer needed and in ERR05-J. Do not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block. It also appears in a few other Java rules in passing. There are a few compliant solutions that could use try-with-resources but don't. Do we want to include those in this code sample? Such code would wrap the close() operation in its own try/catch block.

  2. The issue described in the first NCE seems to be a duplicate. See ERR05-J. Do not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block

  3. The way suppressed exceptions are handled isn’t described correctly after the second compliant solution (try-with-resources):

    If an exception is thrown during processing, and a second exception is thrown while trying to close either file, the second exception will be printed after "thrown exception:", and the first exception will be printed after "suppressed exception:".

    It should be the other way round: If an exception is thrown during processing, and a second exception is thrown while trying to close either file, the first exception will be printed after "thrown exception:", and the second exception will be printed after "suppressed exception:".

    See also JLS § 14.20.3.1.

    In a basic try-with-resources statement that manages multiple resources: If the initialization of all resources completes normally, and the try block completes abruptly because of a throw of a value V, then: [...] If the automatic closings of one or more initialized resources complete abruptly because of throws of values V1...Vn, then the try-with-resources statement completes abruptly because of a throw of the value V with any remaining values V1...Vn added to the suppressed exception list of V.

    1. You're right...fixed.