Reducing dead code ratio of your project with vulture

Rahul Jha (~RJ722)




Maintaining a high level of code quality is important for any serious project. One aspect of this is ensuring that all code is actually used. There are many reasons for dead code ending up in a project. The most common is refactoring, but another is misspellings, which are only detected at runtime for dynamic languages. Finding and removing dead code allows to keep the code base clean and reduces bugs.

This talk is focussed on how we can use Vulture to find dead code. It helps you find unused code in Python programs and it is useful for cleaning up and finding errors in large code bases. If you run Vulture on both your library and test suite you can find untested code. Due to Python's dynamic nature, static code analyzers like Vulture are likely to miss some dead code. Also, code that is only called implicitly may be reported as unused. Nonetheless, Vulture can be a very helpful tool for higher code quality.

One part of this talk is to discuss how to automate testing for dead code with Vulture. There are quite a few options available:

  • Adding vulture to your continuous integration testing.
  • A script using the Vulture API for custom tests.
  • VultureBear: Integration with coala - a static code analysis tool.
  • Integration with automatic analysis tools like GitMate, etc. for automatic code-reviews with native support for Github and Gitlab.


  • python (any version would do)
  • pip

Having coala installed will be a plus.

Content URLs:

Speaker Info:

Rahul Jha

He is currently pursuing B.Tech. (ECE) and has been developing software for 3 years now. He is an Open source enthusiast and as part of his GSoC project, he developed the vulture API for easy integration with coala.

Speaker Links:

You may find more about Rahul here:

The best way to contact him is through e-mail:,

Section: Infrastructure
Type: Talks
Target Audience: Beginner
Last Updated:

Some explanation of what vulture builds on top of coala would be very much appreciated. Considering coala is a cross-language solution, then will it be possible to use vulture for similar solutions in other languages?

Abhas Bhattacharya (~bendtherules)

Good perspective!

Bhartendu Dubey (~bhartendu)

VultureBear is an integration of coala and vulture. You can think of coala as a unified testing environment which also provides automated diffs for correcting your code. It works on I/O plugins named Bears which are given file data as input and they respond with any issues they find out. Here, in the case of VultureBear, there isn't anything build atop coala but instead it allows us to unify testing for other things - It just calls the vulture API and fires up an error whenever it encounters an instance of dead code.

No, since vulture is capable of handling python files only, it is not possible to use VultureBear with other languages. coala has support for language specific bears.

More details can be found here:

Rahul Jha (~RJ722)

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