MagpieBridge: A General Approach to Integrating Static Analyses into IDEs and Editors (Tool Insights Paper)

Authors Linghui Luo, Julian Dolby, Eric Bodden

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Linghui Luo
  • Heinz Nixdorf Institute, Paderborn University, Paderborn, Germany
Julian Dolby
  • IBM Research, New York, USA
Eric Bodden
  • Heinz Nixdorf Institute, Paderborn University, Paderborn, Germany
  • Fraunhofer IEM, Paderborn, Germany

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Linghui Luo, Julian Dolby, and Eric Bodden. MagpieBridge: A General Approach to Integrating Static Analyses into IDEs and Editors (Tool Insights Paper). In 33rd European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 134, pp. 21:1-21:25, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


In the past, many static analyses have been created in academia, but only a few of them have found widespread use in industry. Those analyses which are adopted by developers usually have IDE support in the form of plugins, without which developers have no convenient mechanism to use the analysis. Hence, the key to making static analyses more accessible to developers is to integrate the analyses into IDEs and editors. However, integrating static analyses into IDEs is non-trivial: different IDEs have different UI workflows and APIs, expertise in those matters is required to write such plugins, and analysis experts are not typically familiar with doing this. As a result, especially in academia, most analysis tools are headless and only have command-line interfaces. To make static analyses more usable, we propose MagpieBridge - a general approach to integrating static analyses into IDEs and editors. MagpieBridge reduces the mxn complexity problem of integrating m analyses into n IDEs to m+n complexity because each analysis and type of plugin need be done just once for MagpieBridge itself. We demonstrate our approach by integrating two existing analyses, Ariadne and CogniCrypt, into IDEs; these two analyses illustrate the generality of MagpieBridge, as they are based on different program analysis frameworks - WALA and Soot respectively - for different application areas - machine learning and security - and different programming languages - Python and Java. We show further generality of MagpieBridge by using multiple popular IDEs and editors, such as Eclipse, IntelliJ, PyCharm, Jupyter, Sublime Text and even Emacs and Vim.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Software and its engineering → Software notations and tools
  • IDE
  • Tool Support
  • Static Analysis
  • Language Server Protocol


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