Quality Profiles

Overview

The Quality Profiles service is central to SonarQube, since it is where you define your requirements by defining sets of rules (ex: Methods should not have a Cognitive Complexity greater than 15).

Ideally, all projects will be measured with the same profile for any given language, but that's not always practical. For instance, you may find that:

  • The technological implementation differs from one application to another (for example, different coding rules may apply when building threaded or non-threaded Java applications).
  • You want to ensure stronger requirements on some of your applications (internal frameworks for example).
  • Etc.

Which is why you can define as many quality profiles as you wish even though it is recommended to have as few Quality Profiles as possible to ensure consistency across the projects in your company. To manage quality profiles, go to Quality Profiles, where you'll find profiles grouped by language.

Each language plugin comes with a predefined, built-in profile (usually called "Sonar way") so that you can get started very quickly with SonarQube analyses. This is why as soon as you install a new language plugin, at least one quality profile will be available for you. Each language must have a default profile (marked with the Default tag). Projects that are not explicitly associated with a specific profile will be analyzed using the language's default profile.

When starting from a new installation, it's tempting to use Sonar way as your default profile because it contains all the rules that are generally applicable to most projects. But as a best practice, you should create a new profile (you can populate it by copying the contents of Sonar way) and use it instead. Why? First because Sonar way profiles aren't editable, so you won't be able to customize it to your needs. Also, that lets you treat Sonar way as a baseline against which you can track your own profile as you make changes to it (and you will). Plus, Sonar way is typically updated with each new version of the plugin to add rules and sometimes adjust rule severities. Any profile that inherits from the built-in Sonar Way will de-facto be automatically updated at the same time.

How do I...

Delegate the management of Quality Profiles to someone else?

By default, only users with the "Administer Quality Profiles" permission can edit Quality Profiles. But in large organizations, it may not be desirable to grant permissions to change all the Quality Profiles without distinction. That's why you can also grant users/groups the permission to edit an individual Quality Profile so that, for instance, the management of the Swift profile can be delegated to a group of Swift experts, and the same for COBOL, ...

This delegation of permission can only be performed by someone who already has the "Administer Quality Profiles" permission or individual edit rights on the profile to which additional permissions should be granted. The interface to grant individual permissions is available on the profile detail page.

Copy the rules from one profile to another?

Many times people want to work from a profile that's based on a built-in profile without actually using the built-in profile. The easiest thing to do in this case is to go to the original profile, we'll call it Source, in Quality Profiles. From there, click through on the total number of rules in Source to land on the Rules page at a pre-narrowed search of Source's rules. Use Bulk Activate to turn Source's rules on in your target profile.

Know what's changed in a profile?

When SonarQube notices that an analysis was performed with a profile that is different in some way from the previous analysis, a Quality Profile event is added to the project's event log. To see the changes in a profile, navigate to the profile (Quality Profiles > [ Profile Name ]), and choose Changelog. This may help you understand how profile changes impact the issues raised in an analysis.

Additionally, users with Quality Profile administration privileges are notified by email each time a built-in profile (one that is provided directly by an analyzer) is updated. These updates can only be caused by analyzer updates.

Copy a profile from one SonarQube instance to another?

Use the Back up feature on the source instance to export the profile to an XML file. Use the Restore Profile feature on the target instance to import the file. Note that some limitations on this feature exist.

Restore Quality Profile

Apply a core set of rules plus additional rules to a project?

Let's say your company has a minimum set of coding rules that all teams must follow, but you want to add rules that are specific to the in use technology in your project. Those rules are good for your team, but irrelevant or even misleading for others. This situation calls for inheritance. Set up a base profile, we'll call it Root with your core set of rules. Then create a child profile, we'll call it Sprout. Once it's created, you can Change parent to inherit from Root, then add your missing rules.

Make sure my non-default profile is used on a project?

One profile for each language is marked the default. Barring any other intervention, all projects that use that language will be analyzed with that profile. To have a project analyzed by a non-default profile instead, start from Quality Profiles, and click through on your target profile, then use the Projects part of the interface to manage which projects are explicitly assigned to the profile.

Make sure I've got all the relevant new rules in my profile?

Each time a language plugin update is released, new rules are added, but they won't appear automatically in your profile unless you're using a built-in profile such as Sonar way.

If you're not using a built-in profile, you can compare your profile to the built-in profile to see what new on-by-default rules you're missing.

Another option is to go to the Rules space, and use the Available Since search facet to see what rules have been added to the platform since the day you upgraded the relevant plugin.

And finally, the profile interface itself will help you be aware of rules added in a new plugin version in the Latest New Rules section on the right of the interface.

Compare two profiles?

Starting from the Quality Profiles page, click through on one of the profiles you'd like to compare, then use the Actions > Compare interface to select the second profile and see the differences.

Make sure I don't have any deprecated rules in my profile?

The Deprecated Rules section of the rules interface itself is your first warning that a profile contains deprecated rules. This pink-background section gives the total number of instances of deprecated rules that are currently active in profiles, and a breakdown of deprecated count per profile. A click-through here takes you to the Rules page to edit the profile in question.

Alternately, you can perform a Rules search for the rules in a profile (either manually or by clicking-through from Quality Profiles page) and use the Status rule search facet to narrow the list to the ones that need attention.

Security

The Quality Profiles service can be accessed by any user (even anonymous users). All users can view every aspect of a profile. That means anyone can see which rules are included in a profile, and which ones have been left out, see how a profile has changed over time, and compare the rules in any two profiles.

To make rule profile changes (create, edit or delete) users must be granted the Administer Quality Profiles and Gates permission.

A project administrator can choose which profiles his project is associated with. See Project Settings for more.