Source code analysis is the automated testing of source code for the purpose of debugging a computer program or application before it is distributed or sold. Source code consists of statements created with a text editor or visual programming tool and then saved in a file. The source code is the most permanent form of a program, even though the program may later be modified, improved or upgraded.
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Source code analysis can be either static or dynamic. In static analysis, debugging is done by examining the code without actually executing the program. This can reveal errors at an early stage in program development, often eliminating the need for multiple revisions later. After static analysis has been done, dynamic analysis is performed in an effort to uncover more subtle defects or vulnerabilities. Dynamic analysis consists of real-time program testing.
A major advantage of this method is the fact that it does not require developers to make educated guesses at situations likely to produce errors. Other advantages include eliminating unnecessary program components and ensuring that the program under test is compatible with other programs likely to be run concurrently.