What SonarQube is NOT

The age when SonarQube was not very popular has passed a lot time ago. Nowadays is considered the de-facto tool for….

Wait a minute! What the heck is SonarQube? I’ve been asked several times to help people install and configure SonarQube but I’m very surprised that most of them have a not very realistic idea of what is SonarQube. Things are getting worse when articles like this one (from a very well known company) mislead even more those that are interested in code quality and want to play around with SonarQube.

So back to basics and let me tell you what SonarQube is NOT.

  • SonarQube is NOT a build tool. Period. There are several tools out there like Maven, Ant, Gradle etc. that do a perfect job on that field. SonarQube expects that before you analyze a project it has been already compiled and built by your favorite build tool.
  • SonarQube is NOT (only) a static code analyzer : It’s not a replacement for FindBugs or CPPCheck or any other similar tool. On the contrary, not only it offers its own static code analysis mechanism that detects coding rules violations but at the same time it’s integrated with external tools like the ones I mentioned. The result is that you can get, homogenized, in a single report all issues detected by a variety of static and dynamic analysis tools.
  • SonarQube is NOT a code coverage tool : Clearly NOT. Again it’s integrated with the most popular test coverage tools like JaCoCo, Cobertura, PHPUnit etc. but it doesn’t compute code coverage itself. It reads pre-generated unit test report files and displays them in an extremely convenient dasboard.
  • SonarQube is NOT a code formatter. It’s not allowed to modify your code in any way. However you can get formatting suggestions by enabling the CheckStyle, CPPCheck, ScalaStyle rules you want to follow.
  • SonarQube is NOT just another manual code review tool. Indeed SonarQube offers a very powerful mechanism that facilitates code reviews but this is not a standalone features. It’s tight to the issues detection mechanism so every code review can be easily associated to the exact part of the problematic code and the developer that caused it.

So what SonarQube is?

It’s a code quality management platform that allows developer teams to manage, track and eventually improve the quality of the source code.  It’s a web based application that keeps historical data of a variety of metrics and gives trends of leading and lagging indicators for all seven deadly sins of developers

I really hope that this post will clear things out around SonarQube and help people understand its value from the first day.

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