Elmah, Emails, and ServiceStack

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As you can probably tell, I love ServiceStack. I also love Elmah, especially the the email notifications that it provides.

However, the two don’t really talk to each other out of the box. Sure, ServiceStack offers a ElmahLogFactory for handling errors and the like, and that works fine. But that only writes to the configured log. Emails are nowhere to be found. At least not in my project.

After doing some digging, I discovered that because all my response DTOs were marked with IHasResponseStatus, ServiceStack was helpfully catching all my exceptions and serializing them into the ResponseStatus property. But this was all happening inside of ServiceStack’s request life-cycle. And since Elmah’s ErrorMail setup is implemented via an HttpModule, those exceptions never got a chance to bubble up to that module. Hence, no emails.

So, how do we get around this? It’s quite simple, actually:

// Global.asax.cs
using System;
using System.Reflection;
using System.Web;

using Elmah;

using ServiceStack.ServiceHost;

public class Application : HttpApplication
    private AppHost appHost;

    private MailModuleHandler mailHandler;

    private delegate void MailModuleHandler(Exception ex, HttpContext context);

    protected void Application_Start(object sender, EventArgs e)
        // This needs to match what name is set in Web.config
        // under system.web/httpModules, or system.webServer/modules
        var mailModule = (ErrorMailModule)this.Modules["ErrorMail"];
        var onErrorMethod = typeof(ErrorMailModule).GetMethod(
                BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic,
                new[] { typeof(Exception), typeof(HttpContext) },

        this.mailHandler = (MailModuleHandler)onErrorMethod.CreateDelegate(

        this.appHost = new AppHost();
        this.appHost.ServiceExceptionHandler = this.HandleServiceException;

    private object HandleServiceException(object request, Exception ex)
        this.mailHandler(ex, HttpContext.Current);
        return DtoUtils.HandleException(this.appHost, request, ex);

If Elmah had made that OnError method public, then this would be quite trivial actually, but since it’s internal, we have to use some reflection to get our paws on it.

And it really is as simple as that. Elmah will send out emails just like you’re already used to, with the same configuration settings and filtering and all that good stuff.

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