Exception Handling in Multi-Layered Systems

This is the first blog post here which is completely in English. And of course there is a reason for that. I currently don’t plan to do this regularly (maybe I should? I don’t know.). Anyway, here is the reason: Next week I’ll give a talk for the Australian Delphi User Group in Sydney. The talk will be a webcast, which means, I’ll stay here in Germany while the audience will be sitting on the other side of the globe. ADUG members who cannot be in Sydney can also attend using the web streaming system.

What am I talking about? If you are reading my blog, you should recognise the topic:

Title: Exception Handling in Multi-Layered Systems
Abstract (or maybe I should rather say „teaser“ or something):
How do you structure software properly? Why should we think about the structure of a software? And how? How to handle exceptional cases? Is the Exception language feature always the best way? This talk has roughly two parts. In the first part we will have a look at architecture, layers and tiers. The second part deals with exceptions and how to use them properly. In the end we will see what the one has to do with the other.


  • There is a typo on slide 17: it should read „defines“ instead of „defined“.
  • Slide 22 is not translated (sorry for that). The note there means „Weak layering: Layer 3 may directly access Layer 1.“

This is basically the same talk I gave at the Delphi-Tage this year in Heidelberg. After my presentation in Heidelberg, Mathias Burbach, the president of the ADUG, approached me and asked if I could also give this talk in English. And so I do. The contents will be basically the same, although there are some minor changes.

Again there are slides and more elaborate talk notes:

Exception Handling in Multi-Layered Systems (Slides) (1723 Downloads)
Exception Handling in Multi-Layered Systems (talk notes) (2875 Downloads)

I haven’t had the time to translate everything, so the German talk notes are still more detailed (roughly eight pages more).

While translating, I also realised that by now I’m already more used to American English than the British one. In school I mainly learned the British version but in university I almost exclusively hear, talk, read and write AE. Wikipedia says Australian English is pretty much like BE, so I’ll try to get used to that variant again. Let’s see how good that works.

As always I’m highly interested in feedback of any kind. Tell me what you like but especially also what you didn’t like. I can only get better when I know where to improve. Don’t hesitate to mention even spelling mistakes or the like. I’m happy to hear about everything I can do better.

Update (24th November): Maybe I should share my impressions of the talk. I like giving talks and giving this one in English via a web stream was a quite interesting experience. The English talks I gave until now where about half an hour, so this one lasting 55 minutes (+discussion) was quite a bit longer. Nevertheless it proved to be not much of a difference. As far as I remember I haven’t been looking for words, etc. So I’m quite satisfied with the language although German is still a bit more comfortable for me.

Due to some technical problems, I had to interrupt my talk to wait for a part of the audience rejoining. This made me hurry up a bit to keep the time frame. I tried to do this in those parts of the talk the audience most likely was already familiar with. But I’m afraid I was a bit fast anyway.

Web streaming the talk in my eyes had two effects: a positive one and a negative one. The negative one is that I could not see the audience and thus could not react to whether they looked bored or confused or rejecting or whatever. Normally a good presenter should keep an eye on how the audience reacts. Here I didn’t have the opportunity to do so. The second effect I believe to have encountered was that not seeing the audience made me avoid saying „erm„. Normally I use this „erm“ a lot (and I try to stop that). During the talk I found myself rather making an actual pause or speaking slower instead. This is good. My guess is that not seeing the audience makes me less feel the need to make this sound as it normally just works as a signal which says „Don’t interrupt me, I haven’t finished talking yet.“ But maybe I also just have a wrong impression. I didn’t concentrate on this aspect as language was more important.

At the end there was the opportunity for discussion but there was only one question. Unfortunately in my eyes I didn’t answer this question well. It was actually pretty bad. So after the break I tried to give a better answer.

Like so often, feedback is scarce. It’s a pity. I’d love to hear some comments on my presentation style, my English, the topic, etc. Even negative comments. The above is just my impression and maybe it’s wrong. Most likely there are also aspects I don’t realise, so feedback is always good if you want to improve.

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