PEAR_Exception - PHP 5 and versions above

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PEAR_Exception is the recommended error handling solution for PHP 5-based packages in PEAR. PEAR_Exception is a lightweight wrapper above the built-in Exception class in PHP 5 that provides the ability to specify causes for errors, register observers, and many more features.

Exceptions in general should be used only for exceptional circumstances - for error conditions that require termination of execution. PEAR_Exception should mainly be used for transmitting error information outside the existing package, and not for normal flow control. Use Control Structures in favor of exceptions wherever possible.

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Last updated: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 — Download Documentation
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There is a simple workaround for full PHP5 applications to convert "creating a PEAR_Error" to "throwing PEAR_Exception":

function PEAR_ErrorToPEAR_Exception($err)
    if (
$err->getCode()) {
        throw new 
PEAR_Exception($err->getMessage(), $err->getCode());
    throw new 

This way, each time a PEAR_Error is created in an old
PEAR package it is immediately converted and thrown as
a PEAR_Exception.

This is particularly useful for several old PEAR packages, and notably important ones such as MDB2, which still use PEAR_Error reporting and will continue to do so in order to maintain PHP4 compatibility.