TypeScript icon, indicating that this package has built-in type declarations

1.0.6 • Public • Published


TL/DR: An extendable error class that actually works with TypeScript and ES6 support compatible with all environments, even very old browsers.

This package provides an extendable error class, ExtendableError for JavaScript / TypeScript. There exist a number of similar packages on NPM, but they all have shortcomings, like not supporting TypeScript, being awkward to use with TypeScript 2, not being compatible with old browsers, not printing the stack trace when used with console.log or similar functions or not having all features I wanted. So I decided to write my own.

Obviously, it's not all 100% written from scratch, but rather I collected the good parts from various existing open source error packages and some StackOverflow answers, fixed various errors, wrote some tests and put it together in one package.

The purpose of extendable errors classes is to be able to throw error objects that are subclasses of the built-in JavaScript Error class, which has a number of gotchas, and to then filter them with the instanceof operator in the catch clause of a try/catch block as well as potentially adding additional variables to the error object.

This ExtendableError class will:

  • subclass the built-in Error class. Subclasses created from ExtendableError will subclass Error, ExtendableError and any other classes in the inheritance chain.
  • have a name attribute equal to the class name
  • have a string representation with toString() that includes the name and message properties of the error object. This is also fixed for all versions of IE, where the error object usually does not print error objects like this.
  • include all non-standard properties that default Error objects provide in different browsers
  • provide a stack trace, if default Error objects have the stack property or the Error.captureStackTrace exists (on V8, so in Chrome and node.js). Additionally, on V8, the stack trace will not include the constructor functions of the error subclasses.
  • have a stack trace with the actual error name instead of Error
  • display the stack trace (or the toString() representation, if the stack trace does not exist), including the error name at the beginning, when printed with console.log(e) (except for Chrome, where this does not work, even though the stack property includes the actual name. I don't think it is possible to fix this, but if anyone knows a way, let me know!)

It is compatible with node.js, provides an old-style CommonJS module and a new-style ES6 module as well as a TypeScript definition file. It is extensively tested and works in node.js and all browsers I have tested (including IE6 and various old browsers as well as mobile browsers).

It's also really small, with less than 200 lines of code, and it has no production dependencies.


You can install the ts-error package from NPM with the command:

# If you use yarn 
yarn add ts-error
# If you use NPM 
npm install ts-error


Simply import the package and optionally subclass ExtendableError and create a new error object. The message property that should be passed to the object will is optional and will default to an empty string. If undefined is passed, this is also turned into an empty string.

For compatiblity, the package requires various methods, that are not defined in old browsers. The CommonJs version (only!) includes polyfills for these functions without polluting the global namespace, if the required functions are not defined. If you want to use your own polyfills, load them before loading this package.

In TypeScript:

import { ExtendableError } from "ts-error";
class CustomError extends ExtendableError {}
try {
  throw new CustomError("Optional Error message");
} catch (e) {
  if (e instanceof CustomError) {
    // ...
  } else {
    // ...

In ES6 / esnext:

import { ExtendableError } from "ts-error";
class CustomError extends ExtendableError {}
try {
  throw new CustomError("Optional Error message");
} catch (e) {
  if (instanceof CustomError) {
    // ...
  } else {
    // ...

In ES5:

var ExtendableError = require("ts-error").ExtendableError;
// This is taken from TypeScript compiler output, because it works quite reliably.
// There are various other methods though, so use whatever you like, if you have to use ES5.
var __extends =
  (this && this.__extends) ||
  (function() {
    var extendStatics =
      Object.setPrototypeOf ||
      ({ __proto__: [] } instanceof Array &&
        function(d, b) {
          d.__proto__ = b;
        }) ||
      function(d, b) {
        for (var p in b) if (b.hasOwnProperty(p)) d[p] = b[p];
    return function(d, b) {
      extendStatics(d, b);
      function __() {
        this.constructor = d;
      d.prototype =
        b === null
          ? Object.create(b)
          : ((__.prototype = b.prototype), new __());
var CustomError = /** @class */ (function(_super) {
  __extends(CustomError, _super);
  function CustomError() {
    return (_super !== null && _super.apply(this, arguments)) || this;
  return CustomError;
try {
  throw new CustomError("Optional Error message");
} catch (e) {
  if (instanceof CustomError) {
    // ...
  } else {
    // ...

Please note that error names will not be displayed correctly if the error class definitions get uglified, because the display of error messages relies on Function.prototype.name to infer the correct error message. You can configure any uglifier to ignore certain function or class names, either via a source code annotation or using a regex configuration parameter to decide which properties to mangle.


The module is extensively tested in JavaScript, ES6+ and TypeScript and works in node.js as well as all browsers I have tested: All versions of Chrome 15+, Firefox 3+, Safari 4+, Edge 14+, IE6+, Opera 10.6+, Yandex 14.12, various iOS browsers down to the iPhone 3GS running iOS3 and the Android browser down to Android 4. Note that I haven't test all versions of these browsers (except for IE and Edge due to their notorious buggyness), but rather the oldest few and more recent ones, because I would assume if they work in either of these, they will work in all versions.

If you encounter any issues, please file an issue and I will investigate and fix it.

You can run all tests together with npm run test, which will build all browser tests and then execute the node and browser tests sequentially. All tests are written in TypeScript and compiled to various targets to ensure compatibility. All build configuration is in tests/build.

If you choose to build and run tests manually / individually, you first need to run npm run pretest:create-lib-symlinks, which creates symlinks of the TypeScript definition file in the lib directory.

node.js tests

The node.js tests use mocha and chai together with ts-node. The test source code is in tests/node. For node.js testing, the following commands exist:

  • npm run test:node:cjs: Test the CommonJs module lib/cjs.js with the compile target ES3.
  • npm run test:node:es: Test the ES6+ module lib/es.js with the compile target esnext.
  • npm run test:node: Run the CJS followed by the ES6+ tests.

Browser testing is a bit more complex. To ensure that the package is compatible even with the oldest browsers, I had to create a few helper functions to emulate the required functionality of mocha and chai. Old browsers like IE do not have a console and various quirks, so it is necessary to execute the tests after the DOM has loaded and write the results to the HTML body.

Browser tests

You can build all browser tests with npm run build:test as well as in watch mode with npm run build:test:watch. The test source code is in tests/browser/src. This will run webpack to compile and bundle the test files for various targets and copy some HTML files. The output will be in tests/browser/dist, the bundled JS in tests/browser/dist/js. You can then start the test with npm run test:browser. This will start lite-server, serve the compiled files and should open a browser window automatically.

In the browser, you will see a navigation for testing of the scripts compiled to targets ES3, ES5, ES6 and esnext. For each of these, you will have the option to use print the results in the console or not. If you choose the console option, the results will be printed in the console. If you choose the non-console option or a console is not available in your browser, it will append the results to the DOM.

If you would like to build some of the browser tests individually, the following commands are available:

  • npm run build:test:browser:es3: Build the test files for ES3
  • npm run build:test:browser:es3:watch: Build the test files for ES3 in watch mode
  • npm run build:test:browser:es5: Build the test files for ES5
  • npm run build:test:browser:es5:watch: Build the test files for ES5 in watch mode
  • npm run build:test:browser:es6: Build the test files for ES6
  • npm run build:test:browser:es6:watch: Build the test files for ES6 in watch mode
  • npm run build:test:browser:esnext: Build the test files for esnext
  • npm run build:test:browser:esnext:watch: Build the test files for esnext in watch mode
  • npm run build:test:browser: Execute all of the build commands concurrently
  • npm run build:test:browser:watch: Execute all of the build commands concurrently in watch mode
  • npm run build:test: Same as npm run build:test:browser
  • npm run build:test:watch: Same as npm run build:test:browser:watch


MIT (see ./LICENSE).

Package Sidebar


npm i ts-error

Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

23.5 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • gfmio