Welcome to the coala documentation!

You might also want to look at our website.


coala: Language Independent Code Analysis

coala provides a unified command-line interface for linting and fixing all your code, regardless of the programming languages you use.

With coala, users can create rules and standards to be followed in the source code. coala has a user-friendly interface that is completely customizable. It can be used in any environment and is completely modular.

coala has a set of official bears (plugins) for several languages, including popular languages such as C/C++, Python, JavaScript, CSS, Java and many more, in addition to some generic language independent algorithms. To learn more about the different languages supported and the bears themselves, click here.


To see what coala can do for you and your language, take a look at our capabilities listing.

If you are here to use coala for your own projects, take a look at our installation guide.

If you want to start contributing to coala, you can follow our tutorial for newcomers which aims to get everyone to fix an issue by themselves.


To contact us, always feel free to check our Getting In Touch page.

What do I get?

As a User

coala allows you to simply check your code against certain quality requirements. The checking routines are named Bears in coala. You can easily define a simple project file to check your project with all bears either shipped with coala or ones you found in the internet and trust.

As a Developer

If you are not satisfied with the functionality given by the bears we provide, you can easily write your own bears. coala is written with easiness of extension in mind. That means: no big boilerplate, just write one small object with one routine, add the parameters you like and see how coala automates the organization of settings, user interaction and execution parallelization. You shouldn’t need to care about anything else than just writing your algorithm!

See also

Check out Writing Bears for more information on this.

To programmatically access coala’s functionality, use the --json option. Use the --format option if you want to use a custom format string. Both of these arguments along with --ci argument run coala in non-interactive mode which is suitable for continuous integration.


--json makes the coala output easy to read and understand. It consists of a collection of name/value pairs usually represented by objects and an ordered list of values stored in arrays. You can read more about this format here.

--format has a linear, one line return. Its output can be easily parsed as it is fully customizable. This option will not show all the tested areas but those with issues. In case of no errors, --format will have no output.

Status and Stability of the Project

We are currently working hard to make this project reality. coala is currently usable, in beta stage and already provides more features than most language dependent alternatives. Every single commit is fully reviewed and checked with various automated methods including our testsuite covering all branches. Our master branch is continuously prereleased to our users so you can rely on the upcoming release being rock stable.

If you want to see how the development progresses, check out coala and coala-bears.