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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.
Static Code Analysis
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.
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.
Learn more helpful tips and strategies for getting started with static analysis.
Parasoft Offers Static Code Analysis Tools for Many
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 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.
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.
Static Analysis Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
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