How to implement a RuntimeExceptionMapper for Dropwizard

October 23, 2012 | Comments
Tags: HowTo Design Dropwizard

One common problem that web developers face is the elegant handling of exceptions in their applications. You want to give the browser the correct response code (e.g. 404 or 500), but you also want to ensure that the user experience of that failure maintains the style of the overall site. The default Dropwizard behaviour is rather minimal in this area (by design) and so I thought I’d post up an implementation to act as a starting point for others to use:

import com.yammer.dropwizard.logging.Log;


 * <p>Provider to provide the following to Jersey framework:</p>
 * <ul>
 * <li>Provision of general runtime exception to response mapping</li>
 * </ul>
public class RuntimeExceptionMapper implements ExceptionMapper<RuntimeException> {

  private static final Log LOG = Log.forClass(RuntimeExceptionMapper.class);

  public Response toResponse(RuntimeException runtime) {

    // Build default response
    Response defaultResponse = Response
      .entity(new PublicFreemarkerView("error/500.ftl"))

    // Check for any specific handling
    if (runtime instanceof WebApplicationException) {

      return handleWebApplicationException(runtime, defaultResponse);

    // Use the default
    LOG.error(runtime, runtime.getMessage());
    return defaultResponse;


  private Response handleWebApplicationException(RuntimeException exception, Response defaultResponse) {
    WebApplicationException webAppException = (WebApplicationException) exception;

    // No logging
    if (webAppException.getResponse().getStatus() == 401) {
      return Response
        .entity(new PublicFreemarkerView("error/401.ftl"))
    if (webAppException.getResponse().getStatus() == 404) {
      return Response
        .entity(new PublicFreemarkerView("error/404.ftl"))

    // Debug logging

    // Warn logging

    // Error logging
    LOG.error(exception, exception.getMessage());

    return defaultResponse;


The response contains an entity (an instance of PublicFreemarkerView) which is simply a View that references a Freemarker template stored under src/main/resources/assets/views/ftl. The code is trivial, but I’ll include it here for completeness:

public class PublicFreemarkerView extends View {

  public PublicFreemarkerView(String templateName) {


By adding the above (or including it in the scan) as a provider during startup you can rely on all your accidental RuntimeExceptions getting a decent presentation.


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