The goal of this tool is to check an ASP project/folder for unused code elements. These elements include unused constants, global variables, functions, subs, and local variables. This comes in very handy if you undertake large changes in a project, or use include files from previous ASP projects and want to be sure, that you do not deploy unnecessary code.
This article will not describe in detail how the code works, since the main topic is how to get rid of unused elements, and the code is actually written in C#. It will, however, give you an understanding of how the tool operates and what its limitations are.
Using the analyzer
The ASP Code Analyzer is very easy to use. First download the executable, unzip it and run ASPCodeAnalyzer.exe. Next you can browse for the directory that contains your ASP project. Hit the 'Go' button and the analyzer will do its work. I would like to stress on the point that the analyzer will not change your files. It will merely point to the portions in your code where there are unused code elements.
If you have UltraEdit32 installed in your machine and if you double click on the findings list, the tool will automatically start UltraEdit32 and open the file on the corresponding code line. If you use a different editor, you can use the File/Options dialog to define your editor and the parameters used to open a specified file on a given line.
Your code has to be syntactically correct. Otherwise the analyzer will not work properly.
How the analyzer operates
Now for the tricky part: Finding unused global variables and subs/functions.
- First, all elements are considered unused.
- Now all the files are processed again in groups. A group consists of a file plus all referenced files.
- All elements of the current file group are examined. If the name of an element is used anywhere in the code of the file group, that element is considered used.
By examining file groups instead of files, an include file is tested in all possible contexts.
Matching the elements against the code
Let's say the analyzer wants to know if the sub
WriteTd is used in a code block, then the following statements are matched:
call WriteTd( someVar)
call WriteTd ( someVar)
The following statements do not match, since the sub's name is actually just a part of the whole identifier:
call WriteTd2( someVar)
call MyWriteTd( someVar)
Be warned: Due to it's heuristic nature, the algorithm is probably not able to find all the unused elements in your code. On the positive side all its findings should really be unused elements.
The analyzer is unable to detected the following:
unusedVar = 12
Although the variable
unusedVar is technically useless, since it is not used for processing anywhere, the analyzer will not notify you. Generally speaking, the analyzer will only point out those code blocks that you can delete without breaking the code.
Also, if you use local variables that shadow global variables the global variables are always considered used.
dim unusedGlobal unusedGlobal = 12
Variables should not be defined in more than one line. In the following code:
dim a,b,c, _
the analyzer will only identify
c as variables.
Despite its shortcomings the ASP Code Analyzer should give you a good impression on how clean your code actually is.
- July 17th, 2005 - Initial release.
- July 23rd, 2006 - Adjusted code to correct biggun's false positive.
- December 6th, 2006 - Added handling of