A Snag is a boilerplate-free ad-hoc error type.

Use Result(value, Snag) (or the snag.Result(value) alias) in functions that may fail.

A low level message like “Unexpected status 401” or “No such file or directory” can be confusing or difficult to debug, so use the snag.context function to add extra contextual information.

import gleam/io
import gleam/result
import my_app.{User}
import snag.{Result}

pub fn log_in(user_id: Int) -> Result(User) {
 use api_key <- result.try(
   |> snag.context("Could not load API key")

 use session_token <- result.try(
   |> my_app.create_session(api_key)
   |> snag.context("Session creation failed")


pub fn main() {
 case log_in(42) {
   Ok(session) -> io.println("Logged in!")
   Error(snag) -> {

In this code when an error occurs within the create_session function an error message like this is printed using the added contextual information:

error: Session creation failed

 0: Unable to exchange token with authentication service
 1: Service authentication failed
 2: Unexpected HTTP status 401

When should I use Snag?

Snag is useful in code where it must either pass or fail, and when it fails we want good debugging information to print to the user. i.e. Command line tools, data processing pipelines, etc. Here Snag provides a convenient way to create errors with a reasonable amount of debugging information, without the boilerplate of a custom error type.

It is not suited to code where the application needs to make a decision about what to do in the event of an error, such as whether to give up or to try again. i.e. Libraries, web application backends, API clients, etc. In these situations it is recommended to create a custom type for your errors as it can be pattern matched on and have any additional detail added as fields.


Add snag to your Gleam project

gleam add snag

Prior art

This library is inspired by the following projects:

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