Whitepaper: How to Choose a Modern Static Analysis Tool

Planning to Deploy Static Analysis?

Find out how to move beyond simple proofs of concept, bake-offs and evaluations to choose a solution that fits the needs of your organization and can grow with future requirements.

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Download our whitepaper to discover an effective framework to use when selecting a static analysis solution. 

There's more to choosing a modern static analysis tool than comparing and contrasting the standard technical features. This paper recommends the steps for selecting a static analysis tool that a software team will actually use. It examines how to find a solution that suits the team’s current situation, can be deployed and maintained across the enterprise, will assist in and survive an audit, and will grow as needs evolve.

Take a deep dive into the evaluation process and learn:

  • Common capabilities among static analysis tools
  • Other key aspects to consider
  • The tool selection process
  • Evaluation criteria

In simple terms, static analysis is the process of examining the source and binary code without execution. It's usually run for the purposes of finding bugs or evaluating quality. Unlike dynamic analysis, which requires a running program to work, static analysis can be run on source code without the need for an executable.

This means static analysis can be used on partially complete code, libraries, and third-party source code. Static analysis is accessible to developers to use as code is written or modified. It can also be applied to any arbitrary code base.

In the application security domain, static analysis goes by the term, static application security testing (SAST). Many commercial tools support both security vulnerability detection alongside bug detection, quality metrics, and coding standard conformance.

It’s not uncommon today to have software that is released multiple times per day in support of complex multi-application systems that need to be reliable, secure, and meet government guidelines.

The Internet of things (IoT) is made up of a surprisingly large amount of code in devices reliant on cloud-enabled services. IoT is enabling consumers and businesses with useful technology as well as providing the building blocks for better factory automation, infrastructure and utility control, and the basis for autonomous driving.

The common strategy to meet this demand for better quality in less time with more security leads organizations to static analysis tools. They ensure that code meets uniform expectations around security, reliability, performance, and maintainability.

Evaluators run each tool on the same code, compare the results, then choose the one that reports the most violations out-of-the-box.

This isn’t really a product evaluation. It’s a bake-off. And the winner isn't necessarily the best tool for establishing a sustainable, scalable static analysis process within the team or organization.

In fact, many of the key factors that make the difference between successful static analysis adoption and another failed initiative are commonly overlooked during these bakeoffs.

Static analysis tools have matured in the last decade. Expected capabilities of advanced, modern static analysis solutions include:

  • Configuration
  • Integration
  • Ease of use
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Standards and compliance 
When choosing the best static analysis solution for your team or business, it’s important to understand the value that one provides.

It’s important to find a static analysis tool that meets all your organization’s needs. Before you start your search, take an honest look at where the team stands today and where it hopes static analysis will take it.

Gathering this information helps create a list of requirements, which drive the evaluations of different tools and vendors. Whether a formal request for proposal (RFP) is created or just an internal comparison, it’s a good practice to establish these requirements ahead of time.

Your evaluation and final decision about the best static analysis tool for your organization comes down to answering the following key questions:

Will the team really adopt it and use it?
The best tool in the world won’t deliver any value if it’s not deployable, if developers won’t use it, or if it’s too much of a disruption to the project progress.

Will it address the problems the organization and team are trying to solve?
Deployment of new technologies requires a focus on what problems are trying to be solved. Additionally, the expectations of the new technology to address the problem should be realistic. If you are simply assuming that static analysis will improve whatever software issues you’re having, then you should expect to be disappointed.

Is this a long-term solution?
Evaluations are time-consuming and require team commitment. Full deployments require more time and commitment. Settling for a tool that’s “good enough for now” might save money in the short term but prove extremely costly in the long term.

About Parasoft

Parasoft helps organizations continuously deliver quality software with its market-proven, integrated suite of automated software testing tools. Supporting the embedded, enterprise, and IoT markets, Parasoft’s technologies reduce the time, effort, and cost of delivering secure, reliable, and compliant software by integrating everything from deep code analysis and unit testing to web UI and API testing, plus service virtualization and complete code coverage, into the delivery pipeline. Bringing all this together, Parasoft’s award winning reporting and analytics dashboard delivers a centralized view of quality enabling organizations to deliver with confidence and succeed in today’s most strategic ecosystems and development initiatives — security, safety-critical, Agile, DevOps, and continuous testing.