Introduction to Static Analysis
Static analysis is an analysis of software artifacts. For example requirements or code, carried out without execution of these software development artifacts. Static analysis is usually carried out using supporting tools. In other words, we can say that static analysis is an examination of requirements, design, and code that differ from more traditional dynamic testing in several important ways. The main goal behind this analysis is to find the bugs, whether or not they may cause failures. As with reviews, static analysis finds bugs rather than failures.
Static analysis is performed based on the user’s requirements, design, or code without actually executing the software artifact being examined. It is normally before the types of formal review. It is unrelated to the dynamic properties of the requirements, design, and code such as test coverage.
How Static Analysis Works?
Static analysis is performed early in the life cycle, early feedback on quality issues has been established. For example, early validation of the user’s requirements. Since analysis is performed earlier, by detecting defects at an early stage, the cost for rework is often relatively low and thus a relatively cheap improvement of the quality of software products can be achieved. As rework efforts are reduced, there is an increase in the development of productivity figures. The advantage of evaluation by the team is that there is an exchange of information or data between all the participants of the team. The static analysis contributes to an increased awareness of quality issues. One of the reasons for using static analysis is related to the characteristics of the programming language themselves.
Static Analysis Tools
There are many tools available for static analysis. Most of them focus on software code. These tools are mostly used by developers before and sometimes during component and integration testing and designers during software modeling. The tools can show not only structural attributes, such as depth of nesting or cyclomatic complexity number and check against coding standards, but also graphic depictions of control flow, data relationship, and the number of distinct paths from one line of code to another.
When we need to analyze the code, analysis tools are commonly used by developers to test all kinds of defects. This testing may occur during the coding process, before code reviews, before and during component and integration testing, or when testing the code into the source code repository in the configuration management system.
Also, system designers may use various static analysis tools and models such as validation and verification. Remember that, when initiating the use of static code analysis, is that a very large number of violations may be hidden in the existing codebase. When first use, these static analysis tools can produce various numbers of warning Messages. Many of which may turn out to be related to very low-risk situations. Therefore our clients that have succeeded with the introduction of these tools have employed careful management strategies to deal with the volume of information.
- One strategy that works well is to enforce the static analysis tools only for new and changed classes and functions. This leads to gradual manageable, incremental, and improvement in the quality of code over the long term without a spike in short-term code clean-up tasks which can be risky in their own right.
The list of static code analysis tools
- PavS studio
- RIPS technologies
- Visual expert
- Code compare
- Vera code
Static analysis defects
Defects that arise during the analysis of code depend on the tool. Some of them are as follows:
- unreachable code that can safely be removed.
- Certain types of missing or erroneous logic, such as potentially infinite loops.
- The improper declaration of variables or the declaration of variables that are never used
- Referencing variable with the undefined value.
- Inconsistent interfaces between modules and components such as improper use of an object, method, or function including wrong parameters.
- security vulnerabilities such as security problems related to buffer overflow that is created by failing to check buffer length before copying into the buffer.
- various types of programming standards violation, both violations that create the risk of actual failure and violation that create long term testability, analyzability, and other code maintainability problems.
- Syntax violations of code and software models.
Static analysis is a very suitable method to improve the quality of software work products. It implies primarily to the assessed products themselves but is also important that quality improvement is not achieved once but has more permanent nature. The feedback mechanism involved in the process allows for process improvement that supports the avoidance of similar errors being made in the future.
This is a guide to What is Static Analysis. Here we discuss How static analysis works along with the tools and defects. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –