.NET Core

Introduction to NDepend : Static Code Analysis Tool

June 16, 2018 .NET, .NET Core, .NET Framework, ASP.NET, Best Practices, C#.NET, Code Analysis, Code Quality, Dynamic Analysis, Emerging Technologies, Help Articles, Microsoft, Static Analysis, Tech-Trends, Tools, Tools, Visual Studio 2017, VisualStudio, Windows No comments , , , , , ,

As a developer, you always have to take the pain of getting adapted to the best practices and coding guidelines to be followed as per the organizational or industrial standards.  Easy way to ensure your coding style follows certain standard is to manually analyze your code or use a static code analyzer like FxCop, StyleCop etc. Earlier days I have been a fan of FxCop as it was free and it provides me all necessary general guidelines in terms  of improving my solution.

In this modern world of programming everything needs to be automated, as it saves time and money in terms of automating repetitive tasks and improves efficiency. This is where static code analysers coming effective.

What is Static Code Analysis?

Static program analysis is the analysis of computer software that is performed without actually executing programs, on some version of the program source code, and in the other cases, some form of the object code or intermediate compiled code .

Sophistication of static program analysis increases is based on how deep they analyze in terms of behavior of individual statements and declarations, to analyzing the entire source code.

PS: Analysis performed on executing programs is known as dynamic analysis.

In this article I will give you an overview of one such premier static code analysis tool that can be used for your daily development routine plus use it for CI integration for DevOps efficiency.

NDepend:

NDepend is a static analysis tool for .NET, specifically for managed code:  NDepdend supports a large number of code metrics, allowing to visualize dependencies using directed graphs and dependency matrix. It also performs code base snapshots comparisons, and validation of architectural and quality rules.

The important capabilities of NDepend are:

  • Dependency Visualization through dependency matrix and graphs.
  • Analyse and generate software quality metrics – as per the documentation it supports 82 quality metrices.
  • Declarative rule support through LINQ queries, and it is called CQLinq and comes with a large number of predefined CQLinq rules.
  • Integration support for Cruise Control.Net, SonarCube, am City. Code rules can be configured to be checked automatically in Visual Studio or during continuous integration(CI).

License: NDepend is a commercial tool with licensing options as below:

  1. Developer seats – $477 approx. / per seat.
  2. Build Machine seats  – $955 approx. / per seat.

** You could get volume discount if you bulk procure your licenses.

Installation: 

Once you obtained license you will able to download NDepend_2018.1.1.9041.zip, is latest version available while I write this article. Extract the zip file into your local folder, you could see the different packages/executables within the package.

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1.) NDepend.Console    – Command line program to execute NDepend analysis.  You would be mostly using this component on CI Build server Help

2.) NDepend.PowerTools –  Helps write your own static analyzer based on NDepend.API, or tweak existing open-source Power Tools. Help

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3.) NDepend.VisualStudioExtension.Installer – To install NDepend extension as part of Visual studio

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4.) VisualNDepend – Independent visual environment for managing your NDepend tasks.

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Visual Tool gives you different options to choose from:

  • You can analyse a Visual Studio Solution or project.
  • Analyse .NET assemblies in a folder.

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For the demo purpose our analysis target would be one of the starter project from github –  ContosoUniversity by @alimon808.

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Demo: Summary Report

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Demo: Application Metrics

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Demo: Dependency Dashboard:

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Demo: Interactive Graph

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Demo: Code Matrix View

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Demo: Quality Gates Summary

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Demo: Rules Summary

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Conclusion:

NDepend is one of the best enterprise grade commercial static analyser seen so far.  There are Visual Studio Code Analysis, FxCop and Stylecop Analyzer tools available but they do not provide extensive level of analysis reports NDepend provides. Being a commercial tool it gives value for money for customers by what they need.  In terms of a day to day developer  or devops lifecycle, you can integrate NDepend in your build process, which could be simple as executing the NDepend Console and reviewing the output. With NDepend’s API it is easy to develop your own custom analysis tools based on CQLinq and NDepend.PowerTools(which is open source). You could find all the detailed help in NDepend documentation.

References:

Blazer – The new experimental web framework from Microsoft

May 2, 2018 .NET, .NET Core, .NET Core 2.0, C#.NET, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft, Razor No comments

In this world of multiple Web frameworks Microsoft would not want to stop experimenting with new frameworks for Web development. Innovation is a key to Microsoft, doesn’t matter the start later than the React(Facebook) and Angular(Google) , but Microsoft has proven most of the times they are good in developing cutting edge frameworks.  That’s how Blazer has born.

Blazer = Browser + Razer

As a ASP.net MVC developer I always loved Razer syntax that was shipped with ASP.NET MVC 3.0. Since then Microsoft has improved the Razor framework with async/await patterns and fluent syntaxes etc.

Concept is simple, use .NET for building browser based apps. Your familiar C# and Razor syntax can add lots of improvements in the way you build browser apps as a modern day web developer.

Why use .NET?

To simplify this question, quoting an excerpt  from Microsoft ASP.NET team blog:  “Web development has improved in many ways over the years but building modern web applications still poses challenges. Using .NET in the browser offers many advantages that can help make web development easier and more productive:

  • Stable and consistent: .NET offers standard APIs, tools, and build infrastructure across all .NET platforms that are stable, feature rich, and easy to use.
  • Modern innovative languages: .NET languages like C# and F# make programming a joy and keep getting better with innovative new language features.
  • Industry leading tools: The Visual Studio product family provides a great .NET development experience on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • Fast and scalable: .NET has a long history of performance, reliability, and security for web development on the server. Using .NET as a full-stack solution makes it easier to build fast, reliable and secure applications.

Blazor will have all the features of a modern web framework including:

  • A component model for building composable UI
  • Routing
  • Layouts
  • Forms and validation
  • Dependency injection
  • JavaScript interop
  • Live reloading in the browser during development
  • Server-side rendering
  • Full .NET debugging both in browsers and in the IDE
  • Rich IntelliSense and tooling
  • Ability to run on older (non-WebAssembly) browsers via asm.js
  • Publishing and app size trimming

Now the usual question arises? How is that possible? Running .NET in a Browser?

It is all started with WebAssembly, a new web standard for a “portable, size- and load-time-efficient format suitable for compilation to the web.

  • WebAssembly enables fundamentally new ways to write web apps. Code compiled to WebAssembly can run in any browser at native speeds.
  • WebAssembly is the foundational framework needed to build a .NET runtime that can run in the browser.
  • No plugins or extensions required.

Getting Started with Blazer:

Latest version of blazer framework available is 0.3.0 released on 02/05/2018.

Steps to setup Blazor 0.3.0:

  1. Install the .NET Core 2.1 SDK (2.1.300-preview2-008533 or later).
  2. Install Visual Studio 2017 (15.7 Preview 5 or later) with the ASP.NET and web development workload selected.
  3. Install the latest Blazor Language Services extension from the Visual Studio Marketplace.

Install the Blazor templates using command-line:

dotnet new -i Microsoft.AspNetCore.Blazor.Templates

Additional References: