Static analysis is the process of investigating the code without actually executing it. It is aimed at finding defects and failures in software applications. It has proved to be a fast and easy way to identify security and quality vulnerabilities and bugs that cannot be found by compilers.
Software testing companies basically use this non-execution technique to identify defects in early phases of the development process. Static analysis involves abstracting the required data from the code which is used in syntax analysis and analysis of management process.
It helps to uncover defects that are too difficult to detect under dynamic testing. Unlike static testing, dynamic testing inspects the behavior of the source code while it is being executed. Static testing, like the review process, focuses on finding defects rather than on inconsistencies.
Actually, static analysis is performed with the help of specialized tools that examine the programs’ code as well as the generated code, for instance, HTML or XML. Static and dynamic testing processes are frequently used by penetration testing companies to improve productivity and quality of software development life cycle. Pen testers help to identify security weaknesses that lead to leakage of sensitive data and even system crashes.
Benefits of Static Analysis:
- Early defect detection prior to test execution phase.
- Early prevention of concerns in the source code or design with the help of certain metrics such as complexity factor.
- Detection of defects which are hard to locate and find by means of dynamic testing.
- Assessment of dependencies and inconsistencies in different versions of software, for example, such as links.
- Improvement of code and design maintainability.
- Prevention of defects through the experience acquired during the development phase.
To ensure the success of static testing most businesses tend to outsource QA as they know that independent service providers are experts in software testing field. Again, their work is less expensive than that of in-house QA departments.
Common Defects to be Found During Static Analysis:
- Reference variable that has not been assigned a value.
- Unbalanced interfaces between modules and components.
- Security vulnerabilities.
- Variables that are not used or wrongly announced.
- Problems with execution of some code segments.
- Deviation from programming standards.
- Missing or erroneous logic (e.g. endless cycles).
- Too complicated design.
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