Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Static code analysis

One simple way of improving your code is passing it through some of static code analysis tools and fix reported errors and warnings. Such tools will usually point out lines in code that could possibly cause issues with buffer overruns, uninitialized memory, null pointer dereferences, memory and resource leaks, exception safety...or lines that contain code which style could be improved.

If you are using Visual Studio 2010, you can use its static code analysis: open Project Properties -> Configuartion Properties -> Code Analysis. Select desired build configuration and platform and tick Enable Code Analysis for C/C++ on Build. Output window will show code analysis report (search for Running Code Analysis for C/C++... lines).

I want to show here how it looks in the practice. Let's say we have some smelly code:


#ifndef _C_H_
#define _C_H_

class C
   // unitialized member
   int m_n;
      // unused variable
      int j;

   void Init(char ch)
      // C-style pointer cast
      m_n = (int)ch;
#endif // _C_H_


#include "C.h"

// unused function
int foo()
   int n;
   return 0;

int main()
   // unused variable
   int n1; 

   // dereferencing unitialized pointer
   int* pInt1;
   *pInt1 = 1;

   // dereferencing NULL pointer
   int* pInt2 = 0;
   *pInt2 = 2;

   // memory leak - no delete
   int* pInt3 = new int(2);

   // scope of n2 is unecessarily main()
   int n2 = 0;

      char ch = 2;
      n2 = (int)ch;

   int arr[2];
   arr[2] = 3;

   return 0;

I played recently with Cppcheck and this is what it reports for the code above:


Visual Studio prints code analysis messages in the Output window and for the code above it contains the following:

1>------ Build started: Project: CppcheckTest, Configuration: Debug Win32 ------
1>Build started 15/02/2012 19:49:12.
1> Touching "Debug\CppcheckTest.unsuccessfulbuild".
1> main.cpp
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\c.h(12): warning C4101: 'j' : unreferenced local variable
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(6): warning C4101: 'n' : unreferenced local variable
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(13): warning C4101: 'n1' : unreferenced local variable
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(35): warning C6201: Index '2' is out of valid index range '0' to '1' for possibly stack allocated buffer 'arr'
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(17): warning C6001: Using uninitialized memory 'pInt1': Lines: 13, 16, 17
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(21): warning C6011: Dereferencing NULL pointer 'pInt2': Lines: 13, 16, 17, 20, 21
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(35): warning C6386: Buffer overrun: accessing 'arr', the writable size is '8' bytes, but '12' bytes might be written: Lines: 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 27, 30, 31, 34, 35
1>c:\...\cppchecktest\main.cpp(17): warning C4700: uninitialized local variable 'pInt1' used
1> All outputs are up-to-date.
1> All outputs are up-to-date.
1> All outputs are up-to-date.
1> CppcheckTest.vcxproj -> C:\...\CppcheckTest\Debug\CppcheckTest.exe
1> Deleting file "Debug\CppcheckTest.unsuccessfulbuild".
1> Touching "Debug\CppcheckTest.lastbuildstate".
1>Build succeeded.
1>Time Elapsed 00:00:04.38
========== Build: 1 succeeded, 0 failed, 0 up-to-date, 0 skipped ==========

Links and References:
Analyzing Application Quality by Using Code Analysis Tools (MSDN)
How to: Enable and Disable Automatic Code Analysis for C/C++ (MSDN)


Andrey Karpov said...


I suggest try PVS-Studio Static Code Analyzer for C/C++/C++11:

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