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Description / Features

This plug-in estimates the complexity of each file in order to help you use the "abacus methodology" ("méthode des abaques" in French).

This is a methodology widely used in France to estimate the effort of changes. Customers and providers agree on the abacus at the beginning of the maintenance process.

Example of Abacus

 Complexity of the Change
SimpleMediumComplexVery complex


of the


Very complex1.

Values are in man days.


  • According to this abacus, the effort of a complex change in a simple file would be estimated to 0.8 man days.
  • According to this abacus, the effort of a very complex change in a complex file would be estimated to 5.0 man days.


The complexity of a file is computed according to its cyclomatic complexity.

The default values are (estimation for a Java project):

Abacus ComplexityCyclomatic Complexity
Simple<= 20
Medium20 < X <= 50
Complex50 < X <= 100
Very complex> 100

See the Configuration section to set your own thresholds.

At the file level, you can either use the Abacus perspective or create a filter to display the abacus complexity measure.

At the module or project level, a widget is available to display the average abacus complexity and the abacus complexity distribution.

The abacus complexity distribution can be displayed either in number of files or percentage.

See screenshots below.

Why use this plug-in?

  • To help you estimate your effort of change more quickly and accurately.
  • To help settle arguments about the effort required to make a change by providing a fact-based method of understanding the complexity of each file.


  1. Install the plugin through the Update Center or download it into the SONARQUBE_HOME/extensions/plugins directory
  2. Restart the SonarQube server




Default value

sonar.abacus.complexityThresholdsSimple:20;Medium:50;Complex:100;Very Complex

To set your own thresholds to compute the abacus complexity.

Usage: ThresholdName1:ThresholdComplexity1;ThresholdName2:ThresholdComplexity2;...;ThresholdNameN

Widget Parameters

ParameterDefault valueDescription

Coma-separated list of colors (hexadecimal format) for the pie chart display.

Make sure to have at least as many colors as levels of complexity in your abacus.

Default value is green, yellow, orange, red and black.


To set the default display: number of files distribution or percentage distribution.

Possible values:

  • files
  • percentage

Known Limitations

  1. Drill-down from the average abacus complexity of a module/project does not work due to the following issue in SonarQube: SONAR-3233.
  2. Differential views are not implemented.
  3. Compatibility with VIEWS: as each project can define its own abacus, this plug-in does not compute the abacus complexity and distribution for a view.


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