Error.prototype.stack

Non-standard
This feature is non-standard and is not on a standards track. Do not use it on production sites facing the Web: it will not work for every user. There may also be large incompatibilities between implementations and the behavior may change in the future.

Summary

The non-standard stack property of Error objects offer a trace of which functions were called, in what order, from which line and file, and with what arguments. The stack string proceeds from the most recent calls to earlier ones, leading back to the original global scope call.

Description

Each step will be separated by a newline, with the first part of the line being the function name (if not a call from the global scope), then by an at (@) sign, the file location (except when the function is the error constructor as the error is being thrown), a colon, and, if there is a file location, the line number. (Note that the Error object also possesses the fileName, lineNumber and columnNumber properties for retrieving these from the error thrown (but only the error, and not its trace).)

Note that this is the format used by Firefox. There is no standard formatting. However, Safari 6+ and Opera 12- uses a very similar format. Browsers using the V8 JavaScript engine (such as Chrome, Opera 15+, Android Browser) and IE10+, on the other hand, uses a different format (see these MSDN error.stack docs).

Argument values in the stack: Prior to Firefox 14 (bug 744842), the function name would be followed by the argument values converted to string in parentheses immediately before the at (@) sign. While an object (or array, etc.) would appear in the converted form "[object Object]", and as such could not be evaluated back into the actual objects, scalar values could be retrieved (though it may be — it is still possible in Firefox 14 — easier to use arguments.callee.caller.arguments, as could the function name be retrieved by arguments.callee.caller.name). "undefined" is listed as "(void 0)". Note that if string arguments were passed in with values such as "@", "(", ")" (or if in file names), you could not easily rely on these for breaking the line into its component parts. Thus, in Firefox 14 and later this is less of an issue.

Example

The following HTML markup demonstrates the use of stack property.

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<title>Stack Trace Example</title>
<body>
    <script>
        function trace() {
            try {
                throw new Error("myError");
            }
            catch(e) {
                alert(e.stack);
            }
        }
        function b() {
            trace();
        }
        function a() {
            b(3, 4, "\n\n", undefined, {});
        }
        a("first call, firstarg");
    </script>

Assuming the above markup is saved as C:\example.html on a Windows file system and opened in Firefox 14 or later it produces an alert message box with the following text:

trace@file:///C:/example.html:9
b@file:///C:/example.html:16
a@file:///C:/example.html:19
@file:///C:/example.html:21

Firefox 13 and earlier would instead produce the following text:

Error("myError")@:0
trace()@file:///C:/example.html:9
b(3,4,"\n\n",(void 0),[object Object])@file:///C:/example.html:16
a("first call, firstarg")@file:///C:/example.html:19
@file:///C:/example.html:21

Specifications

Not part of any specification. Non-standard.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) IE10 (Yes) Safari 6
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support Android 4 (perhaps Android 3, but not Android 2) ? ? ? ? Safari 6

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: evilpie, Sheppy, fscholz, lydell, Nickolay, Brettz9, user01, paul.irish
Last updated by: fscholz,