Code Analysis

NDepend–VSTS/Azure DevOps Integration–Part 01

September 30, 2018 .NET, .NET Core, .NET Framework, Azure DevOps, Best Practices, Code Analysis, Code Quality, Dynamic Analysis, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft, Static Analysis, Tools No comments

In my previous article I wrote an introductory about NDepend and how it will be useful for Agile Team to ensure code quality.

In that article we found how we can use NDepend in a developer machine. Now with this article we will familiarize ourselves in using NDepend in your build automation pipeline in your VSTS/Azure DevOps Build Agent.

There are two types of integration possible for NDepend:

  1. Directly using NDepend Package Extension from VSTS Marketplace
  2. Manual Integration using NDepend Command Line Tool. (This would provide you more control over licensing by setting up the license in your own OnPrem VSTS Build Agent.

For the interest of this article I will cover the use of VSTS Package Extension and using NDepend Build Task in VSTS Build Pipeline.

Installation of NDepend Extension for VSTS/Azure DevOps :

1.) Got to Azure DevOps Market Place:  https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=ndepend.ndependextension

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2.) Click on Get to Install this extension in to your AzureDevOps account and follow the steps. For the demo purpose I am starting with 30 day free trial, otherwise you can go ahead and buy the full license.

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3.) Now when you get back to Azure DevOps project, you can see the NDepend side menu enabled, this is where you would see the report summary of your project.

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Integration NDepend into Azure DevOps Pipeline :

1.) Select “NDepend Task” and add in to Pipeline

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Note:

  • You can choose to stop the build when at least one quality gate fails.
  • You also need to specify the NDepend project file customized for your project, otherwise NDepend will use their default project file configuration.  Having your own NDepend project file will provide you more control over the policies for the scan.

Queue a new Build and wait for Build to complete. Now you can see the BuildArtifacts includes all NDepend report file.

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Now you go back to NDepend menu from Left side menu item in Summary Tab. This will provide you detailed view of Technical Debt in your project.

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In the next article I will cover the manual integration steps.

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.

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