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Cover image for Why You Should Use Client-Side Static Code Analysis for Web Development
Dhruv Joshi for Quokka Labs

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Why You Should Use Client-Side Static Code Analysis for Web Development

Client-side static code analysis can help devs to find errors before they run or compile code. They can discover the issue before it's too late in the web development. But why use client-side static code analysis for it?

Before we know why to use client-side static code, let's see what static code analysis is as fast as possible and know its uses.

What is Static Code Analysis? Overview

In short, it's a code review process. Static code analyzers scan the web app's source code as part of the review process. But static analysis tools are different. It accesses the complete code to find errors and security issues in code fragments. This process is nearly the same for static code analysis in client-side web development too. They find errors in web development static code and warn developers.

Static code analysis tools' complete reliance on the programming language is a significant drawback. You might need to buy an additional SAST tool if you choose a source code analysis tool for your company and later decide to write some of your applications in a different language. Although many multi-language tools are available, they mainly concentrate on PHP, Java, and JavaScript. A few of them simultaneously cover multiple more exotic languages, such as Python, Objective-C, Scala, Swift, ColdFusion, or venerable languages like COBOL.

False Positives Are Headaches

Modern dynamic analysis tools were able to cut down on false positives drastically. Unfortunately, this issue still exists with static code analysis tools. Some of the most popular SAST tools claim a false positive rate of about 5%. Comparing that rate to the best DAST tools, that rate is incredibly high.

False positives might not seem like a big problem at first glance. However, they raise two significant issues. First, analyzing false positives takes much longer for the development team than analyzing actual errors. It is so that the developer, who must also bear responsibility for rejecting the tool, can demonstrate that the code is secure. Because of this, some developers even change their code solely to prevent false positives. The code might become less effective or readable after such changes.

The second significant problem is that a tool that consistently reports false positives makes its users lose faith in it. Users eventually begin disregarding vulnerability alerts or stop using the defective scanner altogether.

Uses of Static Code Analysis

Code Uniformity

Static code makes the team's code appear unified. Developers might name classes, methods, and properties with or without capital letters and underscores following the chosen coding convention. They give these names per the criteria the group has established. When a group of people writes code, uniformity is crucial. After a few years, other developers will be able to understand the code and how it's supposed to work because everything will have the same appearance.

Compliance With Code Documentation

Inline documentation is crucial for new developers attempting to fit into a team. Standardized documentation can be enforced by static code analysis (mostly DOXYGEN). Some static code analysis programs demand precise expression and wording. A new developer can get started much more quickly when every class, method, and property are adequately documented.

Identifying Security Concerns

A good static analysis tool can alert you about security issues. The device can warn you about lousy front-end output, validation, and input sanitization from the front end. These tools also help to avoid cross-site request forging and help to avoid SQL injection attacks.

Implementation of the Client-Side Javascript

Static code analysis can be used for client-side analysis even though back-end coding uses it frequently. Expert developers use JavaScript static code analysis tools like ESLint and JSHint when working with JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS.

Your Very Own In-House Code Reviewer

Like having your code reviewed by another person, static code analysis. Static code analysis tools can serve as the reviewer who is constantly accessible, prepared, and waiting for you. Most developers won't check code into a repository until a colleague has approved it. It is always vigilant and on the lookout for potential problems. Yes, there are times when static code analysis can be overly aggressive and result in false positives. Still, most tools have configuration options that allow you to customize their operations.

Final Words

I hope you have read the above uses of client-side static code analysis. There are several benefits to using client-side static code analysis for web development to find errors and security issues before it's too late. Today, client-side static tools are available for any programming language, so it's good to use them for your colleague's code review.

Thanks for reading.

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