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About code quality analysis


Code quality analysis helps you to make your code:

  • less error-prone
  • more sustainable
  • more reliable
  • more readable
  • more welcoming to new contributors

It is also a mandatory step for projects willing to enter the PolarSys Maturity Assessment, as the analysis process relies on code metrics extracted by Sonar.


Code quality analysis mainly relies on a set of tools that look at your code and give you hints. The most famous tools are Findbugs, PMD, Checkstyle; but also code coverage tools such as Jacoco. JDT itself provides very powerful quality checks, but there are not enabled by default. You should go to Error/Warnings in preferences and replace all "ignore" by "Warning". You can (and should) enable such tools in IDE.

Code quality can also be analyzed out of the IDE, running those tools and using their reports to find out the "hot spots" in your code.

About Sonar

Sonar is an open-source product which is used to gather several metrics about code quality, put them all in a single dashboard, and provide some tips to help you making your code better, more sustainable, more reliable, less bugged.

Enable Hudson Sonar plugin on your job or running mvn sonar:sonar on your Maven build will result in the following flow of actions:

  1. Sonar will locally analyze code and generate reports from many analyzers
  2. Sonar will push those reports to the Sonar dashboard

Setting up SonarQube for Eclipse.org projects


Sonar can be found on https://dev.eclipse.org/sonar . Several projects already have quality reports enabled. You can drill-down on code to see Sonar annotations on each class, or navigate through the different widgets on the dashboard to focus on specific issues.

The project must have a Hudson instance. See how to get a dedicated HIPP. You should first setup a normal build to make sure the project compiles correctly.

Optional: it may be a good thing to add a sonar goal in your pom.xml, so you can run the sonar analyser whenever you want independently of the Hudson build.

There are two ways to setup Sonar on Hudson for your project, depending on the build tool used: Tycho builds can use the Sonar/Maven integration, while other tools (e.g. Buckminster) have to setup a SonarQube Runner build step.

You can check the SonarQube documentation for the plugin here:

Enable Sonar for your project: with Tycho

The only prerequisite for this method is to use Tycho as a building tool, which allows to automatically retrieve all information about the build and its dependencies.

A dedicated job has to be defined for the quality analysis -- because you don't want to execute Sonar everytime the project is built. In the update center, install the Sonar plugin and restart the Hudson instance. In the job configuration, check the Sonar post-build action, click on advanced and fulfill the fields according to your project configuration. The following example screenshot shows the configuration used by the emf-compare project.

SonarQube post-build action in Hudson

Then post a new bug entry in the community bugzilla to ask an administrator to add the Eclipse Sonar instance parameters to the Sonar plugin.

Specific tips for HIPP version >= 3.3.0

Warning: Since the Hudson version 3.3.0, the configuration needs to be changed to avoid a "Could not find or load main class MAVEN_OPTS" error. For that, you can follow the workaround of comment 2 of bugzilla 474406. In summary:

  • The Sonar plugin MAVEN_OPTS option have to be empty.
  • The MAVEN_OPTS parameter must be added as String build parameter with your settings

Enable Sonar for your project: without Tycho

The other way to setup Sonar is to use the Sonar Build step, which executes SonarQube Runner. In this case, some information needs to be provided manually for the configuration of the Sonar analysis (in comparison with the previous section, Tycho provides this data automatically).

Setup a dedicated build job for the Sonar analysis. In the update center, install the Sonar plugin and restart the Hudson instance. Check that the plugin is correctly installed:

SonarQube plugin Hudson

Then post a new bug entry in the community bugzilla to ask an administrator to setup the SonarRunner plugin.

Check that the plugin is installed and the SonarRunner section configured:

SonarRunner configuration

Check that the Sonar server section is correctly configured:

Sonar server configuration

As explained before, the build needs some information about your project and its modules, so you will need to create a file, typically named sonar-project.properties, with the following entries:


Then define the modules (components) that need to be analysed:


And for each of them, define the projectBaseDir and projectName properties:


Then in the sonar build job add a build step to execute SonarRunner with the properties file for your project:

SonarQube build step in Hudson


Sonar is currently (and will remain) public to all and by default only Eclipse Webmaster can administrate the analysis projects. If you need admin permissions on some analysis projects, drop a bug on bugzilla, specifying which analysis projects you want to administrate. The name of the analysis must be close enough to the project's name. If you are not the project lead your project, don't forget to ask him to +1 your request. The admin permissions will be granted for all committers on the project.


The initial documentation referenced Mickael Istria's blog entry at http://mickaelistria.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/sonar-at-eclipse-org/ . The information in it regarding the Eclipse process is outdated, but the article is still a good reading to understand how sonar works and what it can bring to you.

Infrastructure and maintenance

Sonar is installed on a VM accessible from inside Eclipse infrastructure. The database is made accessible from Eclipse.org servers and has a user for Sonar, and another user for Hudson. When running the Hudson Sonar plugin, the plugin uses this user to push to the Sonar database the metrics about your project.


Maintenance notes

  • Database requires to be tweak to add some "GRANT" permissions to the sonar user. Sonar could start otherwise.
  • March 2013: https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=407658 . Removed big log file and restarted Sonar,
  • July 2013: Got an OutOfMemory on Sonar side while running Platform-Sonar job. Increased max memory in conf/wrapper.conf and restarted Sonar.
  • July 2013: No space left on device. A lot of big memory dumps files in bin/linux-x86-64 consumed half of disk space. Removed them
  • October 2013: Migration to SonarQube 3.7.1 to provide compatibility with Maven
  • Reboot: INFO | jvm 1 | 2014/01/24 06:06:27 | java.lang.OutOfMemoryError