JavaScript global event mechanism


I would like to catch every undefined function error thrown. Is there a global error handling facility in JavaScript? The use case is catching function calls from flash that are not defined.

Best Solution

How to Catch Unhandled Javascript Errors

Assign the window.onerror event to an event handler like:

<script type="text/javascript">
window.onerror = function(msg, url, line, col, error) {
   // Note that col & error are new to the HTML 5 spec and may not be 
   // supported in every browser.  It worked for me in Chrome.
   var extra = !col ? '' : '\ncolumn: ' + col;
   extra += !error ? '' : '\nerror: ' + error;

   // You can view the information in an alert to see things working like this:
   alert("Error: " + msg + "\nurl: " + url + "\nline: " + line + extra);

   // TODO: Report this error via ajax so you can keep track
   //       of what pages have JS issues

   var suppressErrorAlert = true;
   // If you return true, then error alerts (like in older versions of 
   // Internet Explorer) will be suppressed.
   return suppressErrorAlert;

As commented in the code, if the return value of window.onerror is true then the browser should suppress showing an alert dialog.

When does the window.onerror Event Fire?

In a nutshell, the event is raised when either 1.) there is an uncaught exception or 2.) a compile time error occurs.

uncaught exceptions

  • throw "some messages"
  • call_something_undefined();
  • cross_origin_iframe.contentWindow.document;, a security exception

compile error

  • <script>{</script>
  • <script>for(;)</script>
  • <script>"oops</script>
  • setTimeout("{", 10);, it will attempt to compile the first argument as a script

Browsers supporting window.onerror

  • Chrome 13+
  • Firefox 6.0+
  • Internet Explorer 5.5+
  • Opera 11.60+
  • Safari 5.1+


Example of the onerror code above in action after adding this to a test page:

<script type="text/javascript">

Javascript alert showing error information detailed by the window.onerror event

Example for AJAX error reporting

var error_data = {
    url: document.location.href,

if(error != null) {
    error_data['name'] =; // e.g. ReferenceError
    error_data['message'] = error.line;
    error_data['stack'] = error.stack;
} else {
    error_data['msg'] = msg;
    error_data['filename'] = filename;
    error_data['line'] = line;
    error_data['col'] = col;

var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();'POST', '/ajax/log_javascript_error');
xhr.setRequestHeader('X-Requested-With', 'XMLHttpRequest');
xhr.setRequestHeader('Content-Type', 'application/json');
xhr.onload = function() {
    if (xhr.status === 200) {
        console.log('JS error logged');
    } else if (xhr.status !== 200) {
        console.error('Failed to log JS error.');



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