Should methods return null or throw an exception?

As API authors, one thing we have to think about is, what happens when a method cannot fulfill its contract? Should it return null or throw and exception? Sometimes we write both the API and its consumer. Our job—especially if your API will be used by developers that aren’t us—is to make that API as easy to use and understand as possible. While you might have heard the phrase, “use exceptions only for exceptional conditions”1, if done correctly, throwing and catching exceptions can ensure a level of correctness in our programs.

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