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Quickstart: Try Static Analysis with SonarQube and Docker

Recently I started a new contract and was in the rare position of joining a team before the developers! Without a team producing work, I wanted to think about ways to get the team off to a good start. My last post was about static analysis with Sonarqube. I love static analysis tools they are like an additional tester in your team and when the results are taken in the context of the wider effort they can be really valuable. Below I want to show you how to set up a quick proof of concept Sonarqube server to discuss with your team.


Before starting this guide I assume you have a superficial level of Docker knowledge (I am not an expert) and you have it installed. There are three steps to getting started in total it will probably take 15 minutes (excluding download times):

  1. Create a docker image with SonarQube installed using Docker Hub
  2. Run the docker image just created.
  3. Install Sonar-Scanner and create a SonarQube properties file in the root of your project to run a scan.

Create a SonarQube Docker Container

To use SonarQube you need to be running the server somewhere. We will use Docker. It will download a docker image which contains SonarQube for us already configured and set it up as a container on your machine. To do this open your command window and type:

The output of this command should look similar to:

This will download the latest SonarQube image from Docker Hub and will set up a container using it. To start your server you just need to run this container.

Run the SonarQube Docker Container

Now if you run: docker container ls in your command window you should see your container named sonarqube – for example:

Now you are ready to start the SonarQube server using the docker run sonarqube command. If this was successful you should see your command window fill with text about the server starting and once loaded be able to see the dashboard at http://localhost:9000. Now you can scan your project.

Scan your Project with Sonar-Scanner

To have some results in your proof of concept SonarQube server you need to scan a project. Sonarqube supports a host of languages so pick a project written in a supported language (you may need to install a plugin). Next, make sure you have the Sonar-Scanner application which you can run from your command window. But before you run it at the root of your project add a file. This will tell the scanner a bit about your project and where to send the results. Below is an example of the minimum required information:

The projectKey needs to be unique to your project on the SonarQube server and the rest is self-explanatory. With all this in place with your command line in the root of the project where the sonar-scanner is located (unless you have installed it in another way such as with Homebrew) enter sonar-scanner and press enter. You will see an output like this:

Once completed your results will be in the SonarQube dashboard by following the link. Now start to play around with SonarQube and your team’s projects!


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