A program analysis is a combination of query and analysis code. In Spoon, this conceptual pair is reified in a processor. A Spoon processor is a class that focuses on the analysis of one kind of program elements. For instance, the processor at the end of this page presents a processor that analyzes a program to find empty catch blocks.

The elements to be analyzed (here catch blocks), are given by generic typing: the programmer declares the AST node type under analysis as class generics. The processed element type is automatically inferred through runtime introspection of the processor class. There is also an optional overridable method for querying elements at a finer grain.

The process method takes the requested element as input and does the analysis (here detecting empty catch blocks). At any time, you can interrupt the processing of the model with a call to interrupt() (this stops all processors, and proceeds with the next step which is usually pretty-printing the code to disk).

Since a real world analysis combines multiple queries, multiple processors can be used at the same time. The launcher applies them in the order they have been declared.

Processors are implemented with a visitor design pattern applied to the Spoon Java model. Each node of the metamodel implements an accept method so that it can be visited by a visitor object, which can perform any kind of action, including modification.

package fr.inria.gforge.spoon.processors;

import org.apache.log4j.Level;
import spoon.processing.AbstractProcessor;
import spoon.reflect.code.CtCatch;

 * Reports warnings when empty catch blocks are found.
public class CatchProcessor extends AbstractProcessor<CtCatch> {
	public void process(CtCatch element) {
		if (element.getBody().getStatements().size() == 0) {
			getFactory().getEnvironment().report(this, Level.WARN, element, "empty catch clause");

Examples of Analysis Processors

The HelloWorldProcessor example prints hello world with compile-time reflection.

The CatchProcessor example detects empty catch blocks.

The ReferenceProcessor example detects circular references between packages.

This Factory example example detects wrong uses of the factory pattern.

Parallel Processor

Let’s assume you want to use multiple cores for your processor. Spoon provides a simple high-level API for this task. Using the CatchProcessor from before create a AbstractParallelProcessor.

			Processor<CtCatch> parallelProcessor = new AbstractParallelProcessor<CtCatch>(
				Arrays.asList(new CatchProcessor(), new CatchProcessor())) {};

Now you have the same processor behavior as before, but 2 parallel running processors. You can upscale this pretty high, but keep in mind to not use more parallel processors than available cores for maximum speedup. For more information about parallel processor and the API have a look in the documentation.