SearchSECO Integration

What is SearchSECO?

SearchSECO is a hash-based index specifically designed for code fragments, facilitating method-level source code search throughout the global software ecosystem. The initiative employs parsers to extract fragments (methods) from code files making them findable. This allows for more precise license checks, vulnerability searches, and extraction of call graphs from the identified methods. Additionally, the project reveals relationships between code fragments, code files, and their projects in the global software ecosystem. The fine-grained data propels empirical software engineering and repository mining forward by enabling more in-depth analyses.

In the core of SearchSECO, methods are treated as central units of data. These methods are considered similar when they possess identical parse trees. The system hashes an abstract representation of a method to enable swift searching throughout the global software ecosystem. It further identifies clones on a global scale, well beyond the typical project scope.

Integration with the SecureSECO DAO

The SecureSECO DAO provides a monetization mechanism for hosters submitting methods to the database, and users using SearchSECO to check for matches. Users can host a crawler, mine GitHub for methods, and submit them to the database. They are then rewarded based on the number of methods submitted. Conversely, users can check the SearchSECO database for matches, vulnerabilities, and license violations, and they are charged based on the number of methods queried.

Want to know more about contributing to SearchSECO or using its data to your advantage?

Find out how you can run a miner to contribute to the SearchSECO database.

Learn how to make queries to check if your repository contains any known vulnerabilities.


SearchSECO's architecture comprises three primary components: a miner (which includes a spider, crawler and parser), a Cassandra database, and a Database API. The miner spiders and crawls the global software ecosystem, indexing all detected methods into searchable hashes, encapsulating author, license, and vulnerability information.

To strike a balance between performance and cost, we have streamlined our server architecture by merging 3 Cassandra nodes into a single monolithic node, with 2 replicas. Our existing setup includes 2 servers. One server hosts the Cassandra node, API, and Grafana, while the other accommodates the frontend portal and Prometheus.

At present, we operate two miners on the existing servers, which are also utilized for the API, database, and portal. We plan to transition these miners to a Kubernetes cluster, incorporating auto-scaling and fault tolerance to optimize operational efficiency.

SearchSECO also provides detailed method-level license checking with the help of a license compatibility matrix from OSADL. It offers explanations for any license violation (or compatibility) by storing the version metadata of a project with the date and license. This setup facilitates license violation checks for both the projects from which code is borrowed and the projects that borrow code.

Current State & Roadmap

As of today, SearchSECO has successfully indexed over 28 million methods, including 7 million unique methods, from nearly 40,000 GitHub projects. Our system efficiently handles author and license information, and supports parsing for Python, C(x), Java, and JavaScript languages. While we strive for continuous performance improvements to speed up our "mining" process, we are mindful of the ethical considerations involved in developer data collection.

Our previous controller, developed in C++, has encountered several issues, including sub-optimal handling of web requests, deadlocks in specific repositories, and surprisingly high resource consumption. To address these challenges, we are currently rewriting the controller in JavaScript and plan to employ a more efficient parser (transitioning from SrcML to Treesitter) in the future.

The Software Improvement Group (SIG) is keen to utilize SearchSECO for matching code in repositories to specific versions of libraries, a feature not available in existing tools. Our collaboration with SIG promises exciting prospects and has already given rise to a software project involving 11 bachelor students.

Our future roadmap for the SearchSECO project includes:

  • Advanced method-level license checking
  • Implementation of a “business model” where data usage funds more mining
  • Vulnerability marking to identify vulnerable fragments within a project