7 Popular Static Code Analysis Tools (And Tips For Choosing)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Static code analysis is an important step in the software development life cycle (SDLC), and it helps developers correct mistakes in code before execution. Code analysis tools aid coders and developers by speeding up manual analysis and debugging workflows and maintaining accuracy. Learning about the different tools available in the market can help you choose the tool that best suits your needs and requirements. In this article, we examine what code analysis tools are, list eight popular tools in this domain and share tips for choosing the right tool.

What Are Static Code Analysis Tools?

Static code analysis tools are software programs or scripts that perform application security testing on code. Developers perform application security testing and code analysis to identify vulnerabilities, bugs and security risks within code snippets and applications. The word static in this context refers to the examination of source code when the program is not being run. A complementary procedure known as dynamic analysis executes code on a real or virtual processor and performs analysis during runtime.

Developers may perform code analysis manually, but the process becomes tedious and time-consuming when there is a large amount of code involved. Code analysis tools help automate several component workflows in code analysis and effectively save developers' time and effort. During code analysis, developers test code against specific coding parameters to identify irregularities that may interfere with the code's performance during runtime.

Related: What Is A Software Developer? Definition And Skills

Benefits Of Using Code Analysis Tools

Code analysis tools present a wide variety of benefits to developers who engage in software development and digital product design. Some of them are:

  • Speed: Manually analysing code can be time-consuming even for highly experienced developers and it requires superlative attention to detail. Technological tools can run several analysis workflows in the background parallel to one another, saving developers and testers a significant amount of time.

  • In-depth analysis: Code analysis tools consistently perform a thorough analysis and are highly effective in identifying errors that manual testers may potentially miss.

  • High accuracy: Compared to manual testing, code analysis tools are more accurate and constitute reliable solutions for generating error-free code.

Related: What Is The Role Of A Software Development Engineer In Test?

7 Popular Static Code Analysis Tools

These are some popular code analysis tools that developers use:

1. SonarQube

SonarQube is an open-source platform that facilitates continuous inspection and code quality testing. SonarQube performs static code analysis for up to 25 coding languages and provides reports on duplicated code, coding standards, unit tests, code coverage, code complexity, bugs and security recommendations. It also provides integration with application development platforms like Maven and MSBuild.

Developers can access this tool for free as per the GNU Lesser General Public Licence. Sonar Qube also has an enterprise edition with paid licensing and a data center edition that provides access to additional resources and code repositories. The versatility of this tool makes it an excellent option for software developers.

2. PVS Studio

PVS Studio analyses code for errors, typos, dead snippets, redundancy and potential vulnerabilities. It also monitors code quality for a variety of languages including C, C++ and Java. Developers can easily integrate this tool with application development platforms and compilation systems including Visual Studio, Eclipse, MSBuild, Maven and Unity.

3. DeepSource

DeepSource helps developers run a comprehensive analysis on code snippets using a central code quality dashboard. This tool has one of the largest collections of static analysis rules that developers can refer to and the software runs commit and pull requests automatically. It has a reputation of performing analysis with impressive speed and delivering high-quality results.

DeepSource is also easier to set up compared to most other static analysis tools. It integrates well with platforms like GitHub. The tool is free to use for the initial month and provides monthly subscription plans for the varying project and team sizes. It currently supports languages like Python, Go, Ruby, Java and JavaScript.

4. Coverity

The proprietary static code analysis tool Coverity is a handy tool for engineers and security teams for finding and fixing issues during the software development process. It is one of the fastest code analysis tools and provides quality results. Coverity is compatible with popular languages like C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby. It also supports over 70 application development frameworks for Java, JavaScript and C#. Developers can also make use of Coverity Scan, which is a free cloud-based service for open source code analysis.

5. Embold

Embold is a code analysis tool that helps developers identify critical issues in the initial testing phase of software development. This platform enables quality reviews and saves considerable time for developers working in groups. With the platform's efficient assistance, developers can analyse, diagnose, transform and perform maintenance on code. Its multi-vector diagnostic technology helps analyse code for various contexts, including visual design. It automatically prioritises problematic snippets in the code, providing clear visualisations to developers.

6. Kiuwan

Kiuwan is a software as a service (SaaS) static application security testing software that helps developers conduct software analysis, verify code quality, map software composition and monitor security management. Kiuwan extends its specialised services to a varied group of industries including banking, finance, insurance and IT. It supports over 30 programming languages including C, C++, C#, Java and JavaScript.

7. CodeScene

CodeScene is a behavioural code analysis tool and it provides visualisations based on version-control data and machine learning algorithms that identify patterns and hidden risks in code. The tool identifies error hotspots in complex code and prioritises developers' engagement with code. It supports popular languages like C, C++, C#, Java and Python. A free SaaS version of CodeScene is available for open-source projects and an on-premise version that includes more advanced features, like continuous integration support, integration for cost calculations and on- and off-boarding simulations, are also available.

Tips For Choosing The Right Code Analysis Tool

Since there are a wide variety of possible options for code analysis, it is important to pick a tool that suits your requirements and software infrastructure. It is good practice to articulate and list your requirements before you start searching for an effective code analysis tool. You can match the properties and features of individual tools against your requirements to evaluate how well each tool may work for your particular engagement in the domain of application development. These are some general tips for choosing a tool for code analysis:

Ensure coding language compatibility

There are many coding languages that developers use and each language is unique in terms of utility and functionality. It is optimal that the static analysis tool you choose is compatible with the language in which you proficiently write code. Most analysis tools are compatible with multiple languages. If you work with a few different programming languages, consider picking a tool that works well with your preferred combination of languages.

Evaluate the ease of integration

Developers may work with multiple tools and on different platforms during the development process. An ideal static analysis tool typically has the potential to integrate seamlessly with the existing software development environment and infrastructure at your disposal. To verify compatibility, list the software components you use as part of your development process and find out what analysis tools are compatible with most of them. An analysis tool that can integrate with all individual components of your workflow is typically the best option in this context.

Examine functionality and scope

The scope of analysis and the extent to which a tool offers automation is a crucial point to consider while picking a tool. You can make a spreadsheet to visualise the functionality of each tool and the services it offers, in comparison to other similar tools. For example, you can consider aspects like analysis speed, accuracy and depth while you look at individual tools. The ideal can help you understand the structure of code better, identify crucial irregularities faster and provide insights for improving coding performance.

Consider the cost

There are many free resources for code analysis available to developers on the Internet. Typically, paid versions of popular tools to cater the requirements of software development teams and business enterprises that require more functionality. Depending on the nature of your current and future projects, you can invest in a tool that integrates well with your development environment and the scale of your operations.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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