Alisha  Larkin

Alisha Larkin


How to Upgrade Application Code in Elixir

In this third and final part of my series about production code upgrades in Elixir, we will look at what happens during an application upgrade.

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How to Upgrade Application Code in Elixir
Tyrique  Littel

Tyrique Littel


Static Code Analysis: What It Is? How to Use It?

Static code analysis refers to the technique of approximating the runtime behavior of a program. In other words, it is the process of predicting the output of a program without actually executing it.

Lately, however, the term “Static Code Analysis” is more commonly used to refer to one of the applications of this technique rather than the technique itself — program comprehension — understanding the program and detecting issues in it (anything from syntax errors to type mismatches, performance hogs likely bugs, security loopholes, etc.). This is the usage we’d be referring to throughout this post.

“The refinement of techniques for the prompt discovery of error serves as well as any other as a hallmark of what we mean by science.”

  • J. Robert Oppenheimer


We cover a lot of ground in this post. The aim is to build an understanding of static code analysis and to equip you with the basic theory, and the right tools so that you can write analyzers on your own.

We start our journey with laying down the essential parts of the pipeline which a compiler follows to understand what a piece of code does. We learn where to tap points in this pipeline to plug in our analyzers and extract meaningful information. In the latter half, we get our feet wet, and write four such static analyzers, completely from scratch, in Python.

Note that although the ideas here are discussed in light of Python, static code analyzers across all programming languages are carved out along similar lines. We chose Python because of the availability of an easy to use ast module, and wide adoption of the language itself.

How does it all work?

Before a computer can finally “understand” and execute a piece of code, it goes through a series of complicated transformations:

static analysis workflow

As you can see in the diagram (go ahead, zoom it!), the static analyzers feed on the output of these stages. To be able to better understand the static analysis techniques, let’s look at each of these steps in some more detail:


The first thing that a compiler does when trying to understand a piece of code is to break it down into smaller chunks, also known as tokens. Tokens are akin to what words are in a language.

A token might consist of either a single character, like (, or literals (like integers, strings, e.g., 7Bob, etc.), or reserved keywords of that language (e.g, def in Python). Characters which do not contribute towards the semantics of a program, like trailing whitespace, comments, etc. are often discarded by the scanner.

Python provides the tokenize module in its standard library to let you play around with tokens:



import io


import tokenize



code = b"color = input('Enter your favourite color: ')"



for token in tokenize.tokenize(io.BytesIO(code).readline):





TokenInfo(type=62 (ENCODING),  string='utf-8')


TokenInfo(type=1  (NAME),      string='color')


TokenInfo(type=54 (OP),        string='=')


TokenInfo(type=1  (NAME),      string='input')


TokenInfo(type=54 (OP),        string='(')


TokenInfo(type=3  (STRING),    string="'Enter your favourite color: '")


TokenInfo(type=54 (OP),        string=')')


TokenInfo(type=4  (NEWLINE),   string='')


TokenInfo(type=0  (ENDMARKER), string='')

(Note that for the sake of readability, I’ve omitted a few columns from the result above — metadata like starting index, ending index, a copy of the line on which a token occurs, etc.)

#code quality #code review #static analysis #static code analysis #code analysis #static analysis tools #code review tips #static code analyzer #static code analysis tool #static analyzer

Samanta  Moore

Samanta Moore


Guidelines for Java Code Reviews

Get a jump-start on your next code review session with this list.

Having another pair of eyes scan your code is always useful and helps you spot mistakes before you break production. You need not be an expert to review someone’s code. Some experience with the programming language and a review checklist should help you get started. We’ve put together a list of things you should keep in mind when you’re reviewing Java code. Read on!

1. Follow Java Code Conventions

2. Replace Imperative Code With Lambdas and Streams

3. Beware of the NullPointerException

4. Directly Assigning References From Client Code to a Field

5. Handle Exceptions With Care

#java #code quality #java tutorial #code analysis #code reviews #code review tips #code analysis tools #java tutorial for beginners #java code review

Houston  Sipes

Houston Sipes


How to Find the Stinky Parts of Your Code (Part II)

There are more code smells. Let’s keep changing the aromas. We see several symptoms and situations that make us doubt the quality of our development. Let’s look at some possible solutions.

Most of these smells are just hints of something that might be wrong. They are not rigid rules.

This is part II. Part I can be found here.

Code Smell 06 - Too Clever Programmer

The code is difficult to read, there are tricky with names without semantics. Sometimes using language’s accidental complexity.

_Image Source: NeONBRAND on _Unsplash


  • Readability
  • Maintainability
  • Code Quality
  • Premature Optimization


  1. Refactor the code
  2. Use better names


  • Optimized loops


  • Optimized code for low-level operations.

Sample Code


function primeFactors(n){
	  var f = [],  i = 0, d = 2;  

	  for (i = 0; n >= 2; ) {
	     if(n % d == 0){
	       n /= d;
	  return f;


function primeFactors(numberToFactor){
	  var factors = [], 
	      divisor = 2,
	      remainder = numberToFactor;

	    if(remainder % divisor === 0){
	       remainder = remainder/ divisor;
	  return factors;


Automatic detection is possible in some languages. Watch some warnings related to complexity, bad names, post increment variables, etc.

#pixel-face #code-smells #clean-code #stinky-code-parts #refactor-legacy-code #refactoring #stinky-code #common-code-smells

Brain  Crist

Brain Crist


COVID-19 Has Changed the Future of Low-Code. Are You Ready?

How can we turbo-charge growth for the modern business? A hint: ride on the coattails of low-code software development and bridge the digital gap.

Given the benefits of rapid development - lower costs, faster delivery, and greater accessibility - the low-code market is pushing forward to a digital revolution and is projected to reach $27.23 billion in the year 2022. But for those with an eye for faster development cycles will know, today’s leading platforms - such as OutSystemsMendixLinx - were offering rapid development tools from as early as the naughties.

Since then, there has been no looking back.

But before we get to 2022, we need to understand 2020 - the year of Coronavirus - which has ushered in a new reality: Being an adaptable, the digital enterprise has never been more critical. So, how do we adapt, and what lies ahead in 2020?

Pushing to Digital Can Affect Positive Change

In this era of digital transformation, the ability to ship products quickly is a precious trait. Embracing the changes in technology and the newest innovations is no longer limited to the high-flying startups in Silicon Valley or Fortune 500s. Today, every company needs to be a technology company in some way.

Specifically for development, we have come to a place where thanks to many libraries and frameworks, what would’ve once taken many developers to build from scratch is now more often than not, replaced by very few IT pros plumbing different things together.

And if this is the trend to follow (efficiency!), it is why we are seeing so many “no-code” or “low-code” solutions popping up all over the place.

The truth is that in 2020, there are increasingly fewer reasons to write code. From small one or two-person businesses to unicorn startups and large multinationals, every company needs a developer or a team of developers to help with scaling digitally. The difference today is the increased demand to deliver products quickly, meaning that developers need a way to move faster. For those willing to break the model of traditional development, the solution can be found in low-code tools.

And the benefits are apparent:

  • **Speed **- Instead of time-consuming code, low-code platforms use visual models, eliminating the need for knowledge of syntax or boilerplate code.
  • **Flexibility **– Solving unique business problems via customization, without being exorbitantly expensive (read: hours writing code), will always prevail.
  • **Automation **– Less time wasted in trying to get things to work, and more time spent in actually getting them done. Win-win.

#software development #application development #digital transformation #software application development #low-code #low-code platform #low code benefits #low code programming

Fannie  Zemlak

Fannie Zemlak


Softagram - Making Code Reviews Humane

The story of Softagram is a long one and has many twists. Everything started in a small company long time ago, from the area of static analysis tools development. After many phases, Softagram is focusing on helping developers to get visual feedback on the code change: how is the software design evolving in the pull request under review.

Benefits of code change visualization and dependency checks

While it is trivial to write 20 KLOC apps without help of tooling, usually things start getting complicated when the system grows over 100 KLOC.

The risk of god class anti-pattern, and the risk of mixing up with the responsibilities are increasing exponentially while the software grows larger.

To help with that, software evolution can be tracked safely with explicit dependency change reports provided automatically to each pull request. Blocking bad PR becomes easy, and having visual reports also has a democratizing effect on code review.

Example visualization

Basic building blocks of Softagram

  • Architectural analysis of the code, identifying how delta is impacting to the code base. Language specific analyzers are able to extract the essential internal/external dependency structures from each of the mainstream programming languages.

  • Checking for rule violations or anomalies in the delta, e.g. finding out cyclical dependencies. Graph theory comes to big help when finding out unwanted or weird dependencies.

  • Building visualization for humans. Complex structures such as software is not easy to represent without help of graph visualization. Here comes the vital role of change graph visualization technology developed within the last few years.

#automated-code-review #code-review-automation #code-reviews #devsecops #software-development #code-review #coding #good-company