Returning JSON errors from Sitecore MVC controllers

ASP.NET MVC gives us IExceptionFilter, with which we can create custom, global exception handlers to apply to controller actions.

public class ExceptionLoggingFilter : FilterAttribute, IExceptionFilter
public void OnException(ExceptionContext filterContext)
// filterContext now contains lots of information about our exception, controller, action, etc
UserAgent = filterContext.HttpContext.Request.UserAgent;

We can apply this filter to all Action methods, by adding our filter to the list of global filters:

public class FilterConfig {
public static void RegisterGlobalFilters(GlobalFilterCollection filters) {
filters.Add(new ExceptionLoggingFilter());

and wiring this up to our application in our Application_Start method:


In Sitecore

As you may expect, Sitecore exposes this functionality as pipeline processors. Sitecore defined a custom IExceptionFilter implementation (see our snippet above) which kicks off the mvc.exception pipeline, passing along the ExceptionContext object.

As client developers, it is our job to create an appropriate processor to accept the ExceptionContext and do something with it. Let’s run through an example where we want to return a JSON representation of the error, loaded with as much useful information as possible.

For more reading on Sitecore controller actions returning JSON, have a look at John West’s post

So, first up, create an empty handler class, which inherits from ExceptionProcessor:

public class JSONExceptionHandler :
public override void Process(Sitecore.Mvc.Pipelines.MvcEvents.Exception.ExceptionArgs args)

Create a Web.config include, to add this processor to the mvc.exception pipeline:

<configuration xmlns:patch="">
<processor type="Bleep.Handlers.JSONExceptionHandler, Bleep.Handlers"/>

Ok! Now our JSONExceptionHandler class will be called each time an exception occurs in MVC code. So, let’s grab all the detail we can from the ExceptionContext class and return it as JSON:

public override void Process(Sitecore.Mvc.Pipelines.MvcEvents.Exception.ExceptionArgs args)
var filterContext = args.ExceptionContext;
filterContext.Result = new JsonResult
JsonRequestBehavior = JsonRequestBehavior.AllowGet,
Data = new
Message = filterContext.Exception.Message,
StackTrace = filterContext.Exception.StackTrace,
Controller = filterContext.Controller.GetType().Name,
Result = filterContext.Result.GetType().Name,
UserAgent = filterContext.HttpContext.Request.UserAgent,
ItemName = args.PageContext.Item.Name,
Device = args.PageContext.Device.DeviceItem.Name,
User = filterContext.HttpContext.User.Identity.Name
filterContext.ExceptionHandled = true;
// Log the error
Sitecore.Diagnostics.Log.Error("MVC exception processing "
+ Sitecore.Context.RawUrl, args.ExceptionContext.Exception, this);

This will produce a result such as:


Happy hacking!