Sunday, March 18, 2007



NDepend is a static code analysis tool that can provide you with some surprising insights into your code. Scott Hanselmann did a podcast and blogged about this tool recently, and when Scott waxes lyrical about something I sit up and take note. I played around with tool in its earlier incarnation some time ago, but didn’t fully ‘grok’ it, as I didn’t persevere over the 15 – 30 minutes ‘hump’ with the excellent tutorials (it’s only 5 – 10 minutes for Scott, apparently. Damn those Hanselmann clones!) It complements FxCop’s functionality and it can be similarly incorporated into your automated build process. Don’t take my word for it, go and download the free trial version and work through all 6 tutorials at least twice.

So what can NDepend be used for? Getting familiar with an existing, large codebase, gathering all kinds of metrics with a view to refactoring and improving existing code.

It can give you the 100ft view of a large and complex code base, but at the same time allows you to analyse and pinpoint a problem and then drill-down right to the code. If I remember correctly, I think Scott said it was Reflector on Steroids, but then so much more! It uses some pretty clever visualization techniques to convey code metric information.

I’m going to blog about NDepend2 in a bit more detail presently. In fact, I’m thinking it would make a great .NET User Group session…


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