Static Code Analysis Overview
What is Static Code Analysis?
Static Code Analysis (also called static analysis or source code analysis) is a way to debug software code before the program is executed. The code is automatically compared to coding rules and industry standards to ensure compliance. Static code analysis occurs in the creation phase, before testing begins.
Static code analysis analyzes the structure of the code, looking for code errors, malicious software, and other security flaws such as back doors. These tools frequently allow developers to hone in on portions of the code that might be problematic, rather than simply finding flaws.
How does Static Coding differ from Dynamic Coding?
The goal of both static coding and dynamic coding is to discover coding errors. The difference is where this discovery takes place. Static coding uncovers errors before testing the software, whereas dynamic coding uncovers errors during the testing phase, including any errors that the static code analysis failed to uncover.
Dynamic code analysis analyzes how code interacts with other components, such as application servers and SQL databases to ensure the code is secure. Most developers choose to implement both kinds of testing to ensure the most robust code.
Benefits of Static Code Analysis
Static code analysis is not 100% accurate and sometimes returns false positives or false negatives. However, it has numerous benefits, including:
Relative accuracy - catch many more errors than by manual analysis
Efficient way to uncover errors
Speed to discover errors
Comprehensiveness of testing
Decreases risk of high impact error after software release
Ability to uncover errors that aren’t usually detected during dynamic testing
Static Code Analysis Features & Capabilities
Most static code analysis software on the market today offers the following features:
Multiple programming language support
Various security and industry standard libraries
Reporting and analytics dashboards
Some offer third party integrations, including Github and Jenkins