CodeQL documentation

About CodeQL packs


The CodeQL package management functionality, including CodeQL packs, is currently available as a beta release and is subject to change. During the beta release, CodeQL packs are available only using GitHub Packages - the GitHub Container registry. To use this beta functionality, install version 2.6.0 or higher of the CodeQL CLI bundle from:

CodeQL packs are used to create, share, depend on, and run CodeQL queries and libraries. You can publish your own CodeQL packs and download packs created by others. CodeQL packs contain queries, library files, query suites, and metadata.

There are two types of CodeQL packs: query packs and library packs.

  • Query packs are designed to be run. When a query pack is published, the bundle includes all the transitive dependencies and a compilation cache. This ensures consistent and efficient execution of the queries in the pack.
  • Library packs are designed to be used by query packs (or other library packs) and do not contain queries themselves. The libraries are not compiled and there is no compilation cache included when the pack is published.

You can use the package management commands in the CodeQL CLI to create CodeQL packs, add dependencies to packs, and install or update dependencies. For more information, see “Creating and working with CodeQL packs.” You can also publish and download CodeQL packs using the CodeQL CLI. For more information, see “Publishing and using CodeQL packs.”

CodeQL pack structure

A CodeQL pack must contain a file called qlpack.yml in its root directory. In the qlpack.yml file, the name: field must have a value that follows the format of <scope>/<pack>, where <scope> is the GitHub organization or user account that the pack will be published to and <pack> is the name of the pack. The other files and directories within the pack should be logically organized. For example, typically:

  • Queries are organized into directories for specific categories.
  • Queries for specific products, libraries, and frameworks are organized into their own top-level directories.

About qlpack.yml files

When executing query-related commands, CodeQL first looks in siblings of the installation directory (and their subdirectories) for qlpack.yml files. Then it checks the package cache for CodeQL packs which have been downloaded. This means that when you are developing queries locally, the local packages in the installation directory override packages of the same name in the package cache, so that you can test your local changes.

The metadata in each qlpack.yml` file tells CodeQL how to compile any queries in the pack, what libraries the pack depends on, and where to find query suite definitions.

The contents of the CodeQL pack (queries or libraries used in CodeQL analysis) is included in the same directory as qlpack.yml, or its subdirectories.

The location of qlpack.yml defines the library path for the content of the CodeQL pack. That is, for all .ql and .qll files in the pack, CodeQL will resolve all import statements relative to the qlpack.yml at the pack’s root.

qlpack.yml properties

The following properties are supported in qlpack.yml files.

Property Example Required Purpose
name octo-org/security-queries All packs The scope, where the CodeQL pack is published, and the name of the pack defined using alphanumeric characters and hyphens. It must be unique as CodeQL cannot differentiate between CodeQL packs with identical names. Name components cannot start or end with a hyphen. Additionally, a period is not allowed in pack names at all. Use the pack name to specify queries to run using database analyze and to define dependencies between QL packs (see examples below).
version 0.0.0 All packs A version range for this CodeQL pack. This must be a valid semantic version that meets the SemVer v2.0.0 specification.
dependencies codeql/javascript-all: ^1.2.3 Optional The names and version ranges of any CodeQL packs that this pack depends on, as a mapping. This gives the pack access to any libraries, database schema, and query suites defined in the dependency. For more information, see SemVer ranges in the NPM documentation.
suites octo-org-query-suites Optional The path to a directory in the pack that contains the query suites you want to make known to the CLI, defined relative to the pack directory. QL pack users can run “well-known” suites stored in this directory by specifying the pack name, without providing their full path. This is not supported for CodeQL packs downloaded from a package registry. For more information about query suites, see “Creating CodeQL query suites.”
extractor javascript All test packs The CodeQL language extractor to use when the CLI creates a database in the pack. For more information about testing queries, see “Testing custom queries.”
tests . Optional for test packs The path to a directory within the pack that contains tests, defined relative to the pack directory. Use . to specify the whole pack. Any queries in this directory are run as tests when test run is run with the --strict-test-discovery option. These queries are ignored by query suite definitions that use queries or qlpack instructions to ask for all queries in a particular pack.
dbscheme semmlecode.python.dbscheme Core language packs only The path to the database schema for all libraries and queries written for this CodeQL language (see example below).
upgrades . Core language packs only The path to a directory within the pack that contains upgrade scripts, defined relative to the pack directory. The database upgrade action uses these scripts to update databases that were created by an older version of an extractor so they’re compatible with the current extractor (see Upgrade scripts for a language below.)
authors All packs Metadata that will be displayed on the packaging search page in the packages section of the account that the CodeQL pack is published to.
licenses (LGPL-2.1 AND MIT) All packs Metadata that will be displayed on the packaging search page in the packages section of the account that the CodeQL pack is published to. For a list of allowed licenses, see SPDX License List in the SPDX Specification.
description Human-readable description of the contents of the CodeQL pack. All packs Metadata that will be displayed on the packaging search page in the packages section of the account that the CodeQL pack is published to.
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