Ruby - Print the Backtrace of an Exception

1. Introduction

During the debugging process, understanding the source and context of an exception can be crucial. Ruby provides a way to obtain the entire call stack leading up to an exception using the backtrace method. This stack trace can be invaluable in locating the root cause of an error. In this article, we will explore how to print the backtrace of an exception in Ruby.

A backtrace is a list of lines showing where an exception originated in the code, as well as the call stack leading up to the point where the exception was raised. Each line in a backtrace typically includes the file name, line number, and method name.

2. Program Steps

1. Begin with a begin block to enclose the code that may raise an exception.

2. Within the begin block, execute the code that can potentially raise an exception.

3. Use the rescue block to catch the raised exception.

4. Inside the rescue block, call the backtrace method on the caught exception to get the array of the call stack.

5. Print each line of the backtrace.

6. Conclude with the end keyword.

3. Code Program

# Sample method to demonstrate an exception
def faulty_method
def another_faulty_method
  # This will raise a NoMethodError
# Begin the exception handling
# Rescue the exception and print the backtrace
rescue NoMethodError => e
  puts "An error occurred: #{e.message}"
  puts "Backtrace:"
  e.backtrace.each { |line| puts line }


An error occurred: undefined method `a_non_existent_method' for nil:NilClass
/path/to/file.rb:9:in `another_faulty_method'
/path/to/file.rb:3:in `faulty_method'


1. faulty_method and another_faulty_method: Two sample methods are defined. The latter contains a line that will raise a NoMethodError.

2. begin: This begins the block of code where we expect an exception might be raised.

3. faulty_method: We call the faulty_method, which in turn calls another_faulty_method leading to the NoMethodError.

4. rescue NoMethodError => e: We specifically rescue the NoMethodError exception and store it in the variable e.

5. puts "An error occurred: #{e.message}": We print the exception's message.

6. e.backtrace.each { |line| puts line }: We iterate over each line in the backtrace and print it, giving a detailed account of the call stack leading up to the exception.

The backtrace is an essential debugging tool, as it allows developers to trace the origin of an exception and the sequence of method calls that led to it.