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Static Code Analysis Tools Deliver Code Optimization & Compliance

Innovative static code analysis tools drive continuous quality for software development. Compliance automation with a range of coding standards delivers high-quality, safe, and secure coding for enterprise and embedded software development.


What Is Static Code Analysis?

Static analysis is the process of analyzing source code for the purpose of finding bugs and evaluating code quality without the need to execute it.

Developers and testers can run static analysis on partially complete code, libraries, and third-party source code. In the application security domain, static analysis goes by the term static application security testing (SAST).

Static code analyzers use a compiler-like front-end to build a syntactic and semantic model of the software. The syntactic model is then analyzed against a set of rules or “checkers” to see if the code is in violation. These checkers use pattern-matching algorithms to detect errors including:

  • Poor use of language constructs
  • Use of insecure functions
  • Violations of coding guidelines

Static analysis is highly recommended or required by some companies building applications to safety standards like ISO 26262, DO-178C, IEC 62304, IEC 61508, and EN 50128. It helps organizations detect hard-to-find defects and improve software safety, security, and reliability by conforming to coding standards such as MISRA, AUTOSAR C++ 14, CERT, CWE, OWASP, and others.


Static Code Analysis Techniques

Static analysis is the process of examining source without the need for execution for the purposes of finding bugs or evaluating code quality. This means that developers and testers can run static analysis on partially complete code, libraries, and third-party source code. In the application security domain, static analysis goes by the term static application security testing (SAST).

Pattern-Based Static Analysis

Looks for code patterns that violate defined coding rules. In addition to ensuring that code meets uniform expectations for regulatory compliance or internal initiatives, it also helps teams prevent defects like resource leaks, performance and security issues, logical errors, and API misuse.

Flow-Based Static Analysis

Involves finding and analyzing the various paths that can be taken through the code both by control (the order in which lines can be executed) and by data (the sequences in which a variable or similar entity can be created, changed, used and destroyed). This can expose problems that lead to critical defects such as memory corruptions (buffer overwrites), memory access violations, null pointer dereferences, race conditions or deadlocks. It can also detect security issues by pointing out paths that bypass security-critical code, for example, code that performs authentication or encryption.

Complexity Analysis

Involves measuring and visualizing various aspects of the code. It can help detect existing defects, but more often it warns of potential difficulty in preventing and detecting future defects when code is maintained. This is done by finding complexity and unwieldiness such as:

  • Overly large components
  • Excessive nesting of loops
  • Too lengthy series of decisions
  • Convoluted intercomponent dependencies

Code Duplication Analysis

Checking for duplicate code helps organizations improve application design and decrease maintenance costs. During this type of analysis, code is parsed into smaller language elements (tokens). The tokens are analyzed according to a set of rules that specify what should be considered duplicate code. There two types of rules:

  • Simple rules find single token duplicates like string literals.
  • Complex rules find multiple token duplicates like duplicate methods or statements.

What Is a Static Code Analysis Tool?

Static code analysis tools assess, compile, and check for vulnerabilities and security flaws to analyze code under test. A state-of-the-art tool can apply a checker to find issues, violations, and vulnerabilities in the code. With a comprehensive set of static code analysis techniques — pattern-based analysis, dataflow analysis, abstract interpretation, metrics, and more — you can verify code quality with a substantial number of checkers. Meanwhile, you can provide actionable workflows to help your team reduce noise, prioritize findings, and fix defects in the code.

Specialized bug finders like null pointer dereference, division by zero, memory leaks, and others are also supported. Create custom rule configurations to suit your project or company needs or opt to adopt the rules that are grouped into predefined configurations.


“MISRA”, “MISRA C” and the triangle logo are registered trademarks of The MISRA Consortium Limited. ©The MISRA Consortium Limited, 2021. All rights reserved.

Considerations When Looking for a Tool

Certified by a TÜV Certification Authority

For safety and security-critical applications, a solution that’s been certified by a TÜV certification authority such as TÜV SÜD for use on safety-critical systems for monitoring static analysis coding standards like MISRA and AUTOSAR C++ 14.

Provides a Compliance Summary Report

A compliance summary report that documents the state of compliance for each guideline and any other associated deviations or recategorization.

Supports Industry Coding Standards

Supports 2500+ different rules that cover industry coding standards such as AUTOSAR C++ 14, MISRA, JSF, CERT, CWE, and more.

Learn more helpful tips and strategies for getting started with static analysis.

What Are the Benefits of a Static Code Analysis Tool?

Increase Code Quality & Reduce the Cost of Defects

Prevent code defects early in any development process before they turn into more expensive challenges in the later stages of software testing.

Satisfy Industry Functional Standards

Usher in static analysis solutions that are recommended by process standards such as ISO 26262, DO-178C, IEC 62304, IEC 61508, EN 50128, and more.

Satisfy Static Analysis Security Testing (SAST)

Weave compliance with security coding standards like SEI CERT, CWE, OWASP, DISA-ASD-STIG, and UL 2900 into the SA testing processes and to be certain that your code meets stringent security standards.

Satisfy Safety Coding Compliance Standards

Establish compliance with safety coding standards such as MISRA, AUTOSAR C++ 14, JSF, and more, or create your own custom coding standards configuration for your organization.

Incorporate SA Into Your CI/CD Workflow

Easily integrate static analysis into your streamlined CI/CD pipeline with continuous testing that quickly delivers high-quality software.

Test Smarter With AI & ML

Incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve productivity in your team’s static analysis workflow. The AI will flag and prioritize the most urgent violations that need to be fixed first.

Misra Graphic

View results in Parasoft’s dynamic reporting dashboard and automate post-processing and advanced reporting strategies using historical data. You can even see the results when working with large codebases and legacy code where visibility into the code is typically challenging. That means you can quickly focus on the quality of the newly-added code.

Parasoft Offers Static Code Analysis Tools for Many
Development Environments

What environment is your development team working in? Parasoft solutions support a comprehensive set of development ecosystems to integrate into an extensive list of IDE products to conduct static analysis for C, C++, Java, C#, and VB.NET. Give your team of programmers the automation tools it needs to perform the source code analysis for quality. Protect your organization with static application security testing. Search for application coding flaws, back doors, or analyze any other security vulnerabilities that can put your organization or customers at risk or susceptible to attack. Parasoft’s tools are available for these programming languages.

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Perform static analysis, unit testing, and code coverage to develop high-quality C and C++ code that is robust, safe, secure, and compliant with industry standards.

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Achieve static code analysis, unit testing, and high code coverage with JUnit to accelerate the delivery of secure and reliable Java applications.

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Reduce the risk of C# or VB.NET development in the Microsoft framework with deep static analysis, security, and coverage for enterprise and embedded applications.

Tips to Perform Static Code Analysis With Success

One of the best things you can do to be successful is to understand the four main types of static code analysis and the errors these tests are designed to detect.


Performance tests identify errors that will address overall performance issues and help developers keep up with the latest best practices.


Security-related source code analysis finds security risks like weak cryptography, configuration problems, and framework-specific command injection errors.


Safety and reliability tests help prevent issues with functionality because no one wants off-hour emergency unresponsive service messages. This type of static code analysis is especially useful for finding memory leaks or threading problems.


Style tests encourage teams to adopt uniform coding styles for ease of use, understanding, and bug fixing. Developers don’t have to waste time identifying style violations. The tests find them, which saves time.

Identify the scope of the problem.

Ensure that the code is readable for other developers.

Write code with reusability in mind.

Keep extensibility available if an application needs new features in the future.

Develop code that uses minimal resources while still executing quickly.

Utilize dynamic and static analysis.

Get recommended steps to follow for choosing a modern static analysis solution for your team.

Getting Started: How Is Static Analysis Performed?

Static analysis tools can be effective when a project is incomplete and partially coded. That means these tools can be introduced and used at any phase of a software development project, which is a major benefit in software engineering. It’s important to consider the maturity of the product under development because it can impact the way static analysis can be adopted.

The biggest challenge with introducing static analysis is that a compilation of a large amount of code can produce a large number of warnings.

That’s why your focus should be on getting your team as productive as possible when integrating static analysis into a project. This will prevent your team from being overwhelmed by the many static analysis warnings they will most likely have. Most developers don’t have the luxury of immediately fixing existing or legacy code.

As your team becomes more proficient, you will be able to incorporate secondary goals such as improving overall quality and enforcing the organization’s coding standards. Developers can analyze results quickly, deal with false positives, and fix bugs efficiently as static analysis becomes a daily routine. They will also be able to deal with false positives.

Getting Started with Static Analysis video title, with speaker names on left and image of man working in front of computer on the right.

Existing Project in the Market

The primary approach to adopting static analysis for these projects is called acknowledge-and-defer. Because there isn’t a lot of new code being developed, all of the discovered bugs and security vulnerabilities are added to the existing technical debt.

Existing Project With Current Development

The recommended approach to integration is called a line-in-the-sand approach. This approach means improving new code as it’s developed while deferring less critical warnings as technical debt.

New Project

Developers can integrate static analysis in their development environments from the very start and in a control flow manner to ensure code is written at a high-quality standard. The approach to adoption, in this case, is aptly named greenfield.

Why Parasoft’s Static Code Analysis Solution?

Parasoft offers C/C++test, Jtest, and dotTEST to accelerate the delivery of safe, secure, compliant, and high-quality software through its static code analysis of C, C++, Java, C#, and VB.NET.

Our static analysis detects complex runtime errors early in the development stage without the need to execute costly runtime tests. Parasoft analyzes the execution paths through the code to find possible issues and even dead code. It also detects security vulnerabilities such as a tainted data file, buffer overflows, command injection, or SQL injection. Implement Parasoft’s static analysis solution to:

  • Streamline compliance.
  • Find defects early in the SDLC.
  • Produce safe, secure, and reliable code.
  • Deliver code more rapidly.
  • Shorten testing lifecycle.
  • Reduce labor costs.
  • Automate reporting.
  • Build and customize your own SA configuration.

Frequently Asked Questions