PMD User Survey Results

28 July 2022

Over the last 5 months, we conducted our first survey. Many thanks to all who participated!

Here are the summarized highlights we got from 70 results: Over 80% of the participants use PMD for proprietary projects at work. Also, many use it for private projects (56%) and of course for open source projects (39%).

The most used way to execute PMD is the maven-pmd-plugin (45%) followed by the CLI interface (38%). Many Apex developers seem to enjoy the Apex PMD VS Code plugin (28% of the participants). Gradle is used by 25% and the pretty new GitHub Action is used by 7%.

The IDE plugins, which are available for quite a long time, don’t seem to be used that often in comparison to the build plugins.

Two fifths of the participants also use CPD, our copy-paste detection.

When looking at the used programming languages, we have a clear result: Most participants analyze Java code with PMD (67%), but there are also many Apex (33%) and Visualforce (19%) users. Interesting to see is that XML is used as often as JavaScript (16%).

Keep in mind that this survey with 72 answers is in no way representative and just gives a small snapshot.

Being able to extend the functionality of PMD with custom rules is an important feature: Almost half of the participants use custom rules (49%).

We also got a lot of valuable feedback on how to improve PMD: E.g. false positives, adding new Java rules is complex, the API is not quite useful, better report formats (like interactive html), rules supporting java 8+ features, fix suggestions and quick fix support. This will help us prioritize features for upcoming releases, and also for PMD 7.

Here is the detailed survey result:

Thanks again for all your answers and feedback!