The 3 Key Differences between Static and Dynamic Code Analysis Tools

Source code review is a crucial process in ensuring a secure web application. With manual code review no longer a viable option, automated code review systems are heavily relied upon. Here are the 3 key differences between a static and a dynamic code analysis tool.

Level of in-depth review

The key difference between a static and dynamic code analyser is the how in-depth the code review

process is. By default, static code analysis combs through every single line of source code to find flaws and errors. For dynamic analysis, the lines of code that get reviewed depend upon which lines of source code are activated during the testing process. Unless a line of code is interacted with, the dynamic analysis tool will ignore it and continue checking active codes for flaws. As a result, dynamic analysis is a lot quicker since it is able to review code on the fly and generates real-time data. However, static code analysis provides peace of mind that each and every line of source code has been thoroughly inspected. It may take longer, but static code analysis runs in the background and is crucial for creating a flawless web application.

Catching errors early and making recommendations

As mentioned before, dynamic analysis reviews codes during the testing process and generates

Html-source-code (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

real-time results. While it is great for fine-tuning the user experience, it has one major drawback: any errors highlighted by dynamic code analysis tools requires developers to go all the way back to the source code, make changes to the code itself and then make changes to everything that has been modified as a result of changing the source code. This is a very time consuming and expensive process; one that companies and developers like to avoid at all costs. Static code analysis tools highlight any errors immediately and allow developers to makes changes before proceeding any further. This ensures that anything that the developers do subsequently is not dependent upon a flawed platform. Moreover, static code analysis tools are more feature-packed than their dynamic counterparts. One important feature is the number of errors it can detect and the recommendations it can make to fix that error. If configured, static code analysers can automatically make the required changes and let developers know what changes have been made.

Cost of code analysis tools

Just like any other business, software application companies have to find a fine balance between application costs and profit margins. This is not helped by the fact that good developers and software tools cost a lot of money. With respect to price, static code analysis tools are always cheaper than dynamic analysers. Moreover, having a dynamic code analyser requires a company to hire professionals trained in the use of dynamic analysis tools. A static code analysis tool can be used by any web developer with ease, thus guaranteeing that it won?t turn out to be a long-term expenditure.

Static code analysers are absolutely essential for application developers, whereas dynamic code analysers can only be used in conjunction with static analysis tools.

Tom Rhoddings has authored this guest post.

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