Install Sonar Locally on OSX and Analyze a JavaScript Project

Sonar really shines with statically typed languages like Java and has some very useful analysis it can run for JavaScript projects: critical errors in syntax, code duplication, even test coverage. You can play with all these reports by installing Sonar locally. Thanks to Homebrew it’s not that hard.

Before you Begin

Make sure you have Homebrew installed and are on the latest version of Java. If you don’t update Java then you may run into issues when starting the Sonar server.

To install Homebrew follow the instructions at

To update Java follow the Stack Overflow instructions for How to Install Java 8 on Mac. (It’s pretty much brew cask install java.)

If you can’t change versions of Java then try out the rest of the steps and see if sonar will run for you.  If not, you may need to maintain multiple versions of Java.

If you run into problems using homebrew, then use the brew doctor command to find out what’s wrong with your system. Follow the instructions it prints out to fix it.

Note: You may compare the steps listed in this guide with this blog article on installing Sonar on Mac.  I found some of the steps unnecessary and don’t list them here. See also related guides: Get Started in Two Minutes, Installing a Plugin, JS Sonar Example, and Sonar Project Properties File Example.

Install Sonar and the JavaScript Plugin

Use Homebrew to install Sonar, then download and install the jar for the JavaScript plugin.

  1. run brew install sonar in a terminal window
  2. Find your sonar plugins directory. In my case it was /usr/local/Cellar/sonar/5.1.2/libexec/extensions/plugins/. Yours will be somewhere ending with “/libexec/extensions/plugins” and you can normally figure it out by inspecting the output of brew list sonar.
  3. download the JavaScript Plugin and put it into the plugins directory

Install sonar-runner and Modify Your Environment

Use homebrew again. This time install the sonar-runner formula. Finally, add a little to your .bashrc file.

  1. Run brew install sonar-runner
  2. Follow the instructions at the end of the install.  (If you missed them you can always show them again with brew info sonar-runner.) NOTE: I found that I didn’t have to modify You do have to add something like SONAR_RUNNER_HOME=/usr/local/Cellar/sonar-runner/2.4/libexec to your .bashrc file.

Configure and Analyze Your Project

You need to add a properties file to you project, launch the Sonar server, run the analysis, and view the results.

1. In a terminal window launch the Sonar server with sonar console. Leave it running. (You can kill it when you’re all done with “⌘-.”.)

2. In a separate terminal go to the root of your JavaScript project.  Add a file like this one:

# Required metadata
sonar.projectName=FamilySearch Reservations App

# Comma-separated paths to directories with sources (required)

# Language

3. In the terminal run the analysis with sonar-runner

4. View the results by navigating to http://localhost:9000. Your project should be listed at the top of the right-hand column.

Published by

Tyler Peterson

Tyler Peterson

Web Dev surviving a management job in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.