JetBrain's Qodana - More Than Just A Linter
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Thursday, 21 October 2021

Qodana is a new offering from JetBrains. It detects and flags programming errors, but it's much more than that - it's a complete Code Quality Platform.


While Qodana's job is to identify and suggests fixes for bugs, security vulnerabilities, duplications, imperfections, anomalous code, probable bugs, dead code, etc, it is also a complete Code Quality Platform with the aim of improving the overall code structure of a project by applying best coding practices.

Of course, at its core Qodana is a collection of linters which provide project analysis locally or in any CI with every linter providing two types of output:

  • JSON files separately described per each linter
  • Web reports for interactive results investigation and configuration adjustment

In particular note that Qodana can "provide project analysis locally or in any CI" .As such developers can have the same universal set of inspections across their JetBrains IDEs as well as their CI pipeline, including JetBrains Space, TeamCity, GitHub Actions, Jenkins, and GitLab CI.

As already said, it can also be used locally and run anywhere by a Docker image. The following Docker images are provided for the Qodana linters:

  • Qodana for JVM Docker image
  • Qodana for JVM Community Docker image
  • Qodana for JVM Android Docker image
  • Qodana for PHP Docker image
  • Qodana for Python Docker image

There are two experimental linters:

  • jetbrains/qodana-clone-finder: Qodana Clone Finder
    which compares a queried project against a number of reference projects and lists all duplicate functions ranked by their importance.

  • jetbrains/qodana-license-audit: Qodana License Audit
    which helps software projects avoid problems with incompatible third-party licenses. More than 1600 licenses are detected.

There's also a UI which can be part of the CI user interface in cases where the CI supports the UI extension. If it doesn't, you can spin up the Qodana UI on your own and on the browser which will always be available on http://localhost:8000.

The UI comes with HTML reports comprising of the following blocks:

Sunburst diagram
The interactive sunburst diagram gives you an idea of how bad the situation is, what problems are the most prominent, and lets you drill down into the cause of the issue.

Checks total and Profile settings
Above the diagram, you can see the totals for detected problems and conducted checks as well as click the gear icon to configure the inspection profile.

Filter set
To the right of the sunburst diagram, you can specify the files and folders, the linter, the types and categories of problems.

Problem explorer
On the Problems tab below the sunburst diagram, detected problems are annotated, classified, and grouped by problem type and (optionally) path and file.

File explorer
On the Files tab below the sunburst diagram, you can see the file tree of the analyzed project. You can get there also by clicking the respective path on top of the code fragment view.

Code fragment view
When you click a problem detected in your project, the code fragment that contains the problem is displayed. Parts that require your attention are highlighted.

The kind of statistics that the reports track, or the files that they inspect, can be tweaked from the Profile settings window. So while the default profile contains the most common inspections, you are free to fine-tune it to your experience. Alternatively you can configure the profile via the qodana.yaml configuration file.

Qodana already supports Java, and Kotlin projects, and will eventually support all languages and technologies covered by JetBrain's IDEs. It has already released the Early-Access Program for PHP and Python.

To take it for a spin before you install anything, there's the Qodana Playground, a sandbox environment running in the JetBrains cloud CI, TeamCity. There you see the tool in action by trying various options yourself. To open the sandbox playground, use the link and select the “login as guest” option You can use the tabs to see what problems it found, browse the list of inspections that it ran, and try out the different options for yourself.

JetBrains Qodana is now available under an Early Access Program (EAP). During the EAP users will have full access to Qodana Docker, Qodana TeamCity Plugin, and Qodana GitHub Application free of charge

Community versions of Qodana for JVM will be available for free, and in the future, JetBrains aims to release Qodana for JVM Enterprise that will introduce features like automated security and license compliance checks and priority support. Existing customers of JetBrains’s IDEs will receive complimentary licenses for Qodana. 

More Information


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 October 2021 )