FindBugs looks for bugs in Java programs. It is based on the concept of bug patterns. A bug pattern is a code idiom that is often an error. Bug patterns arise for a variety of reasons:
- Difficult language features
- Misunderstood API methods
- Misunderstood invariants when code is modified during maintenance
- Garden variety mistakes: typos, use of the wrong boolean operator
FindBugs uses static analysis to inspect Java bytecode for occurrences of bug patterns. Static analysis means that FindBugs can find bugs by simply inspecting a program’s code: executing the program is not necessary. This makes FindBugs very easy to use: in general, you should be able to use it to look for bugs in your code within a few minutes of downloading it. FindBugs works by analyzing Java bytecode (compiled class files), so you don’t even need the program’s source code to use it. Because its analysis is sometimes imprecise, FindBugs can report false warnings, which are warnings that do not indicate real errors. In practice, the rate of false warnings reported by FindBugs is less than 50%.
FindBugs requires JRE (or JDK) 1.4.0 or later to run. However, it can analyze programs compiled for any version of Java. The current version of FindBugs is 1.1.1, released on October 6, 2006.
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