CodeQL is the code analysis engine developed by GitHub to automate security checks. You can analyze your code using CodeQL and display the results as code scanning alerts.
There are two main ways to use CodeQL analysis for code scanning:
- Add the CodeQL workflow to your repository. This uses the github/codeql-action to run the CodeQL CLI. For more information, see "Setting up code scanning for a repository."
- Run the CodeQL CLI directly in an external CI system and upload the results to GitHub. For more information, see "About CodeQL code scanning in your CI system ."
CodeQL treats code like data, allowing you to find potential vulnerabilities in your code with greater confidence than traditional static analyzers.
- You generate a CodeQL database to represent your codebase.
- Then you run CodeQL queries on that database to identify problems in the codebase.
- The query results are shown as code scanning alerts in GitHub when you use CodeQL with code scanning.
CodeQL supports both compiled and interpreted languages, and can find vulnerabilities and errors in code that's written in the supported languages.
Note: CodeQL analysis for Ruby is currently in beta. During the beta, analysis of Ruby will be less comprehensive than CodeQL analysis of other languages.
For more information, see the documentation on the CodeQL website: "Supported languages and frameworks."
GitHub experts, security researchers, and community contributors write and maintain the default CodeQL queries used for code scanning. The queries are regularly updated to improve analysis and reduce any false positive results. The queries are open source, so you can view and contribute to the queries in the
github/codeql repository. For more information, see CodeQL on the GitHub Security Lab website. You can also write your own queries. For more information, see "About CodeQL queries" in the CodeQL documentation.
You can run additional queries as part of your code scanning analysis. These queries must belong to a published CodeQL query pack (beta) or a QL pack in a repository. CodeQL packs (beta) provide the following benefits over traditional QL packs:
- When a CodeQL query pack (beta) is published to the GitHub Container registry, all the transitive dependencies required by the queries and a compilation cache are included in the package. This improves performance and ensures that running the queries in the pack gives identical results every time until you upgrade to a new version of the pack or the CLI.
- QL packs do not include transitive dependencies, so queries in the pack can depend only on the standard libraries (that is, the libraries referenced by an
import LANGUAGEstatement in your query), or libraries in the same QL pack as the query.
Note: The CodeQL package management functionality, including CodeQL packs, is currently in beta and subject to change.