Running SpotBugs

SpotBugs has two user interfaces: a graphical user interface (GUI) and a command line user interface. This chapter describes how to run each of these user interfaces.

Quick Start

If you are running SpotBugs on a Windows system, double-click on the file %SPOTBUGS_HOME%\lib\spotbugs.jar to start the SpotBugs GUI.

On a Unix, Linux, or macOS system, run the $SPOTBUGS_HOME/bin/spotbugs script, or run the command java -jar $SPOTBUGS_HOME/lib/spotbugs.jar to run the SpotBugs GUI.

Refer to Using the SpotBugs GUI for information on how to use the GUI.

Executing SpotBugs

This section describes how to invoke the SpotBugs program. There are two ways to invoke SpotBugs: directly, or using a wrapper script.

Direct invocation of SpotBugs

The preferred method of running SpotBugs is to directly execute $SPOTBUGS_HOME/lib/spotbugs.jar using the -jar command line switch of the JVM (java) executable. (Versions of SpotBugs prior to 1.3.5 required a wrapper script to invoke SpotBugs.)

The general syntax of invoking SpotBugs directly is the following:

java [JVM arguments] -jar $SPOTBUGS_HOME/lib/spotbugs.jar options...

Choosing the User Interface

The first command line option chooses the SpotBugs user interface to execute. Possible values are:

runs the graphical user interface (GUI)
runs the command line user interface
displays the SpotBugs version number
displays help information for the SpotBugs command line user interface
executes the original (obsolete) SpotBugs graphical user interface

Java Virtual Machine (JVM) arguments

Several Java Virtual Machine arguments are useful when invoking SpotBugs.

Set the maximum Java heap size to NN megabytes. SpotBugs generally requires a large amount of memory. For a very large project, using 1500 megabytes is not unusual.
Set a Java system property. For example, you might use the argument -Duser.language=ja to display GUI messages in Japanese.

Invocation of SpotBugs using a wrapper script

Another way to run SpotBugs is to use a wrapper script.

On Unix-like systems, use the following command to invoke the wrapper script:

$ $SPOTBUGS_HOME/bin/spotbugs options...

On Windows systems, the command to invoke the wrapper script is

C:\My Directory>%SPOTBUGS_HOME%\bin\spotbugs.bat options...

On both Unix-like and Windows systems, you can simply add the $SPOTBUGS_HOME/bin directory to your PATH environment variable and then invoke SpotBugs using the spotbugs command.

Wrapper script command line options

The SpotBugs wrapper scripts support the following command-line options. Note that these command line options are not handled by the SpotBugs program per se; rather, they are handled by the wrapper script.

-jvmArgs args:

Specifies arguments to pass to the JVM. For example, you might want to set a JVM property:

$ spotbugs -textui -jvmArgs "-Duser.language=ja" myApp.jar
-javahome directory:
Specifies the directory containing the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) to use to execute FindBugs.
-maxHeap size:
Specifies the maximum Java heap size in megabytes. The default is 256. More memory may be required to analyze very large programs or libraries.
Prints a trace of detectors run and classes analyzed to standard output. Useful for troubleshooting unexpected analysis failures.
-property name=value:
This option sets a system property. SpotBugs uses system properties to configure analysis options. See Analysis Properties. You can use this option multiple times in order to set multiple properties. Note: In most versions of Windows, the name=value string must be in quotes.

Command-line Options

This section describes the command line options supported by SpotBugs. These command line options may be used when invoking SpotBugs directly, or when using a wrapper script.

Common command-line options

These options may be used with both the GUI and command-line interfaces.

This option disables analyses that increase precision but also increase memory consumption. You may want to try this option if you find that SpotBugs runs out of memory, or takes an unusually long time to complete its analysis. See Effort.
Enable analyses which increase precision and find more bugs, but which may require more memory and take more time to complete. See Effort.
-project project:
Specify a project to be analyzed. The project file you specify should be one that was created using the GUI interface. It will typically end in the extension .fb or .fbp.

GUI Options

These options are only accepted by the Graphical User Interface.

Set Swing look and feel.

Text UI Options

These options are only accepted by the Text User Interface.

Sort reported bug instances by class name.
-include filterFile.xml:
Only report bug instances that match the filter specified by filterFile.xml. See Filter file.
-exclude filterFile.xml:
Report all bug instances except those matching the filter specified by filterFile.xml. See Filter file.
-onlyAnalyze com.foobar.MyClass,com.foobar.mypkg.*:
Restrict analysis to find bugs to given comma-separated list of classes and packages. Unlike filtering, this option avoids running analysis on classes and packages that are not explicitly matched: for large projects, this may greatly reduce the amount of time needed to run the analysis. (However, some detectors may produce inaccurate results if they aren’t run on the entire application.) Classes should be specified using their full classnames (including package), and packages should be specified in the same way they would in a Java import statement to import all classes in the package (i.e., add .* to the full name of the package). Replace .* with .- to also analyze all subpackages.
Report all bugs.
Report medium and high priority bugs. This is the default setting.
Report only high priority bugs.
Relaxed reporting mode. For many detectors, this option suppresses the heuristics used to avoid reporting false positives.
Produce the bug reports as XML. The XML data produced may be viewed in the GUI at a later time. You may also specify this option as -xml:withMessages; when this variant of the option is used, the XML output will contain human-readable messages describing the warnings contained in the file. XML files generated this way are easy to transform into reports.

Generate HTML output. By default, SpotBugs will use the default.xsl XSLT stylesheet to generate the HTML: you can find this file in spotbugs.jar, or in the SpotBugs source or binary distributions. Variants of this option include -html:plain.xsl, -html:fancy.xsl and -html:fancy-hist.xsl. The plain.xsl stylesheet does not use Javascript or DOM, and may work better with older web browsers, or for printing. The fancy.xsl stylesheet uses DOM and Javascript for navigation and CSS for visual presentation. The fancy-hist.xsl an evolution of fancy.xsl stylesheet. It makes an extensive use of DOM and Javascript for dynamically filtering the lists of bugs.

If you want to specify your own XSLT stylesheet to perform the transformation to HTML, specify the option as -html:myStylesheet.xsl, where myStylesheet.xsl is the filename of the stylesheet you want to use.

Produce the bug reports in Emacs format.
Produce the bug reports in xdoc XML format for use with Apache Maven.
-output filename:
Produce the output in the specified file.
-outputFile filename:
This argument is deprecated. Use -output instead.
This option enables or disables scanning of nested jar and zip files found in the list of files and directories to be analyzed. By default, scanning of nested jar/zip files is enabled. To disable it, add -nested:false to the command line arguments.
-auxclasspath classpath:
Set the auxiliary classpath for analysis. This classpath should include all jar files and directories containing classes that are part of the program being analyzed but you do not want to have analyzed for bugs.
Read the auxiliary classpath for analysis from standard input, each line adds new entry to the auxiliary classpath for analysis.
-auxclasspathFromFile filepath:
Read the auxiliary classpath for analysis from file, each line adds new entry to the auxiliary classpath for analysis.
-analyzeFromFile filepath:
Read the files to analyze from file, each line adds new entry to the classpath for analysis.
-userPrefs edu.umd.cs.findbugs.core.prefs:
Set the path of the user preferences file to use, which might override some of the options above. Specifying userPrefs as first argument would mean some later options will override them, as last argument would mean they will override some previous options). This rationale behind this option is to reuse SpotBugs Eclipse project settings for command line execution.