Something called StyleCop has been mentioned quite a few times, and tools such as JustCode and ReSharper.
They are all something called static program analysis tools. StyleCop was a Microsoft project, and it check the source code to see if it confirms to the recommended design standards/guidelines set by Microsoft (discussed in the previous question). It is today an open source project and can be downloaded on codeplex.
I think it’s about time we answer the obvious question – what is static program analysis tool?
It’s a tool that analyses your code without executing it (hence static). It inspects the code and checks against preset rules (algorithms) trying to detect things that will cause bugs or that don’t confirm to the standards. This process is automated within the tool, with the user often allowed to do add rules, adjust them or remove them (select to ignore). Some explain the tools as a coach, some as an inspector, and some as a tiny helper. I guess those three would be three ways of looking at the tool, it can be a do or die (you have to obey) or a teaching tool (hey, look what you can do!) or a buddy giving suggestions. For me it is often a combination of those three, and the better I get at coding, the more the tool is more of a helper.
Static analysis can also be performed manually, and there are different ways of doing that, but usually when develoeprs talk about static analysis they refer to the automated tools, using the ‘code review’ for manual checking. How confusing. Oh well 🙂
Any good / bad experience with these tools? Any funny stories? Tell me 😀 😀