The Importance of Static Code Analysis Tools

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Once the coding is finished, the next step is to check its sanity. Apart from checking the code by using various debugging tools, the developer can put up his code for a peer review. He can also use any of the code analysis tools.What code analysis or code review accomplish is the following:

  1. Check whether the code follows the design or functionality.
  2. Code is as per the coding guidelines or standards.
  3. There is no redundant code or unused code.
  4. No unwanted variables or unassigned variables
  5. No logical errors.
  6. No assigning wrong values to variables have been done.

The aim of all this checking is to provide a clean, simple, easy to maintain and scalable code for production.

Code analysis is different from testing in many ways. Firstly, Theanalysis is done on the static code whereas testing is done on dynamic code, i.e. running code. Secondly, analysis would find logical errors and also locate code which would probably never run i.e. dead code. With testing this is not possible. In short, analysis helps you to save time and money bypointing coding errors that might prove expensive later in the SDLC.

Code checking or code analysis can be done by co-developers. But going through all the lines of codes is quite time consuming. It is better to use available code analysis tools. From the most original code analysis tool lint to the very commercial one Axivion Bauhaus Suite, there are tools to fit everyone’s need and budget. 

  • Lint: UNIX based utility that acts as a code checkerfor C code for potential bugs.
  • Clang: Static analyzer for objective-C and objective-C++.
  • cppcheck: open source tool for C++
  • Oclint: For C, C++ and objective-C code.
  • Faux Pas: Static code analyzer for iOS, it looks at the whole Xcode project and tells about possible bugs. 
  • Owasp: A code reviewer that checks security aspect of the code.
  • Axivion Bauhaus Suite: Multi-language, commercial product that performs architecture checking, clone detection etc.
  • Splint: It is an open source version of lint.
  • Veracode:A third party commercial product that analyzes bytecode and binaries and finds security errors.

There are hundreds of code analysis tools that are available online for multiple languages.Though a code review done by a developer would be more helpful and informative but they are time-consuming and costly. Using a code analysis tool instead is a cost-effective and optimum option that would help to improve the overall quality of the code.


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