Android's Java front-end gives Google's mobile platform an instant community of app developers and Java-specific tools. But beginning today, there's also a static code scanner that's aware of Android's APIs. Klocwork, which makes automated source code analysis solutions, today began shipping a version of its Insight defect checker that's aware of Android's unique application programming interfaces, and can perform inter-procedural analysis of source code intended for Android.
Klocwork Insight is a static source code analysis tool for C, C++, C# and Java. According to Klockwork CTO Gwyn Fisher, the US$2750 tool's new capabilities are intended to aid enterprise developers looking to deploy to Android-based devices. "They may be writing for RIM BlackBerry and [other] Java devices. Or they might be building front-ends for their enterprise apps or small apps for sale," Fisher said yesterday in a phone interview. He said the tool also does what other Java static code scanners do. "Anyone who analyzes Java can be some help, but doing things specifically for Android APIs is the thing here. It understands resources that are specific to Android [and has] checkers for object managers specific to the APIs themselves. We haven't seen any other tools doing this for Android."
Those Android-aware defect checkers, he said, allow developers to identify NULL pointer exceptions, resource leaks, usages of freed resources and other bugs that can cause runtime failure or otherwise threaten the reliability of their mobile devices. "The fact that Google chose to put a Java front end on their kernel puts them in the lead with an environment people trust," Fisher said. It also gave Klocwork a head start on development of its tool. "The [Android] APIs were published several months ago. [Java is] not that large of a language and it's well defined, so we were able to add the Android-specific checking relatively quickly." Fisher said the company plans to release an Android-only version of Insight "probably early next year."