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A compiler (which should be understood to include the linker) that complies with the Java Language Specification [JLS 2005] should be used whenever possible.

A source code analysis tool should be able to enforce as many of the guidelines in this document as possible. Not all recommendations are enforceable; some are strictly meant to be informative.

Completeness and Soundness

To the greatest extent possible, the static analysis tool should be both complete and sound with respect to enforceable guidelines.


Compilers and source code analysis tools are trusted processes, meaning that a degree of reliance is placed on the output of the tools. Consequently, developers must ensure that this trust is not misplaced, ideally by confirming that the tool supplier has run appropriate validation tests. Although it is possible to use a validation suite to test a compiler or source code analysis tools, no formal validation scheme exists at this time.

False Positives

Many guidelines list common exceptions, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to develop a complete list of exceptions for each guideline. Consequently, it is important that source code comply with the intent of each guideline and, to the greatest extent possible, tools minimize false positives that do not violate the intent of the guideline. The degree to which tools minimize false-positive diagnostics is a quality-of-implementation issue.