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Static Code Analysis Tools Deliver Code Optimization and Compliance

Compliance automation with a range of coding standards delivers high-quality, safe, and secure coding for enterprise and embedded software development.

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.

Static code analysis tools can support 2500+ different rules that cover industry coding standards such as AUTOSAR C++ 14, MISRA, JSF, CERT, CWE, and more. Specialized bug finders like null pointer dereference, division by zero, memory leaks, and others are also supported. Many tools allow you to create custom rule configurations to suit your project or company needs. You can also opt to adopt the rules that are grouped into predefined configurations.

Read our whitepaper to learn why static analysis is the best way to identify potential issues early in the SDLC and how to get started.

For safety and security-critical applications, you’ll want 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.

Also good for safety and security applications is a compliance summary report that documents the state of compliance for each guideline and any other associated deviations or recategorization.

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

How Does Static Analysis Support Software Quality & Software Security?

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.

Parasoft Offers Static Code Analysis Tools for Any Development Environment

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.

Tips to Statically Analyze 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.

  1. Performance tests identify errors that will address overall performance issues and help developers keep up with the latest best practices.
  2. Security-related source code analysis finds security risks like weak cryptography, configuration problems, and framework-specific command injection errors.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

There are concrete best practices and emerging best practices that developers should adopt when it comes to static analysis for code safety, security, and reliability. Writing code with these things in mind can produce fewer errors.

  • 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

Check out our whitepaper to learn how to move beyond simple proofs of concept, bake-offs, and evaluations to choose a modern static analysis tool.

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 and fix bugs efficiently as static analysis becomes a daily routine. They will also be able to deal with false positives.

Some Approaches for the Different Development Stages

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, ensuring a high standard of quality as code is being written. The approach to adoption, in this case, is aptly named greenfield.

Why Parasoft?

Parasoft’s static code analysis tools offer state-of-the-art checkers and 2500+ different rules that cover industry coding standards for you to statically analyze during any phase of the development cycle. You won’t find an open-source tool or a plugin on Github or anywhere else that will compare to our tools.

Parasoft C/C++test detects complex runtime errors early in the development stage – without the need to execute costly runtime tests. C/C++test analyzes the execution paths through the code and finds possible issues with null pointer dereferencing, division by zero, or memory leaks. It also detects security vulnerabilities such as a tainted data file, buffer overflows, command injection, or SQL injection.

Results from C/C++test’s static code analysis tools can be viewed in Parasoft’s dynamic reporting dashboard, enabling you to automate post-processing and advanced reporting strategies using historical data. It’s easy to see static code analyzer results across your software builds over time. 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.

With widgets that automatically track compliance in a given coding standard, users have a dynamic view of the compliance process and can easily produce automatic reports for code audits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Static analysis is the process of examining source code without execution, usually for the purposes of finding bugs or evaluating code safety, security and reliability. Static analysis can be used on partially complete code, libraries, and third-party source code. Static analysis tools help software teams conform to coding standards such as MISRA, AUTOSAR C++ 14, SEI CERT, or your own custom configuration.

Because static analysis does not require execution, developers can apply it at the implementation phase of the SDLC. This provides immediate remediation where bugs are at the easiest and least expensive phase to fix. This approach is commonly referred to as shift-left. Static analysis can also be automated into the continuous integration (CI) pipeline where identified violations can be fixed before software is delivered.

Dynamic analysis is the testing of code for quality, security, and safety through various methods like unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and others, that require code execution. Execution or testing can also be done on the host environment, virtual, or target hardware. Static analysis is the process of examining source code without execution.

DevOps is a methodology used in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) that breaks down team silos and improves work between development and operations. Because the methodology encompasses the SDLC, you have each development phase in an infinite loop; plan, code, build, test release, deploy, monitor, operate, and back to plan. Within several of these SDLC phases, (e.g., test, build, code and monitor) static analysis can be deployed to identify defects, vulnerabilities, and compliance issues, ensuring that your code is safe and secure.

A false positive occurs when a static analysis tool incorrectly reports that a static analysis rule was violated. It can be subjective so it depends on the developer’s interpretation.

Static analysis and compilers both provide warnings used to improve code quality and serve as a first method of identifying issues before execution and debugging. A compiler utilizes static analysis during compilation to generate warnings, but the quality and scope of diagnostics are limited and can vary.