Static code analysis is a method of analysing and evaluating source code related issues, without actually executing the program. Static code analysis falls under the white box testing category, as here we have the entire code available for the analysis of issues and bugs.
Static code analysis is done on the source code against a set of coding rules, which are defined by some standards set by an individual or an organisation. These code-related standards should be set by the development and quality assurance teams together.
Static code analysis makes code secure, maintainable and reliable and saves the time wasted on writing duplicated code. Code quality check is a mandatory stage in an application's life cycle to save the money and time of all the stakeholders.
Static code analysis should be started early in the development phase, and at least before the software testing phase. It is also an important part of continuous integration and DevOps practices. Why Do DevOps?
There are multiple benefits of using static code analysis if you maintain and configure standards. The following could be counted as benefits it provides:
- Saves time for manual code review.
- Early problem identification.
- In-depth problem identification.
- Gives you high-quality code.
Static code analysis does have a few drawbacks. The following could be counted as its drawbacks:
- It can report false positives or false negatives.
- Sometimes rules are not enforced statically.
- Developer's intentions are not understood.
So, without much further ado, with much-needed background on static analysis, here are the best static code analysis tools that are available in the market.
SonarQube is the most widely used open-source web-based static analysis tool for continuously inspected the code quality and security of the entire code, as well as guiding development teams to solve these issues quickly during code reviews.
SonarQube finds different types of issues, vulnerabilities, bugs and code smells. It also keeps track of duplications, unit test results and code coverage in a single dashboard.
What makes SonarQube different is that it provides quality metrics about the code, which will help the developer to make the right decision. It translates these nondescript values to real business values such as risk, code coverage and technical debt.
- Supports only a few IDEs.
- No support for multi-target platform builds.
Codacy is a static code analysis tool that allows a programmer to tackle technical debt and improve code quality. It automatically analyses code quality on every commit and pull request. It maintains the code by blocking pull requests, which ultimately saves time in code reviews.
You can enforce your code quality standards, enforce high-security practices and save time in code review.
- No good authentication and authorisation in the server.
- Does not have integration with continuous integration automation tools.
- Not widely used as it is a small community.
Veracode analyses only security issues and is developed on the SaaS model. It uses binary code/bytecode, ensuring 100% test coverage. It is considered one of the best tools if you want to write secure code and avoid any security loopholes or flaws in it.
This tool creates and reports code for quality assessment inspections.
- Creation of a customised ruleset is not possible.
- UI is not so user-friendly.
DeepScan is a leading-edge static analysis tool that performs semantic code analysis beyond what lint does. It is used to check feasible runtime errors and quality issues rather than coding conventions.
It helps to detect issues like the use of inconsistent null checks, use of implicit type conversion, assignment with the same values, and unreachable code.
DeepSource helps to identify and fix bug risks, anti-pattern, performance-related issues, and security-related flaws on every commit and pull request. It has good integration with GitHub, GitLab and BitBucket ALM tools.
- No support for PHP.
Well, that's it from me.
This is an excerpt from an awesome article by Ankita Patil in OSFY April 2021 Edition.
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Till next time!