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Anthony Trudeau

NDepend is a Visual Studio add-in designed for intense code analysis with the goal of high code quality.  NDepend uses a number of metrics and aggregates the data in pleasing static and active visual reports.  My evaluation of NDepend will be broken up into several different parts.

The first part of my evaluation of NDepend is in the installation.  The second part will cover my first impressions including the initial profiling for the solution that I will use throughout my evaluation.  I used version 3.0.9 Professional in my testing.

I posted this first part of my evaluation in late 2010.  However, personal issues kept me away from continuing my evaluation.  Finally, I'm getting back to the evalution.  I've reinstalled the add-in and I've made changes to my original post here where they are applicable.


I was given an XML file and pointed to a location to download the ZIP file containing the files.  The first thing I noticed is that there is no installation program.  The decision was made to use XCopy deployment.  Personally, I think this is the wrong decision and when I sent a message to Patrick Smacchia he responded with a link to a discussion about this topic.  Apparently, this is already a well covered issue that people have with this tool.

The people on the side of using XCopy deployment have some valid points; however, the highlighted point in the discussion is completely illogical.  In it, the developer makes the comparison between having a Ferrari with an automatic transmission and an application with an installer.  I had to shake my head at that and just move on.

Given that XCopy was my only choice I created my directory and unzipped the files to it.  You also need to copy the XML file into the new directory although it's not indicated in the documentation.  The first file you'll want to look at is the quick start file (named QuickStartTutorial_NDepend.txt in my version).  This file will guide you through the additional steps for setting up the add-in.

The next step will be run the add-in executable (named NDepend.Install.VisualStudioAddin.exe).  This executable will perform the integration into Visual Studio.  The version I tested supports 2005, 2008, and 2010.  The tool is easy enough to use with simple Install and Uninstall buttons for each supported version of Visual Studio.

The tool also provides an option for Full Integration or Light Integration.  There is no dedicated documentation for this tool or NDepend.  Instead, tool tips are provided on special icons.  Tool tips just cannot store enough information to make an informed decision.  For instance, for Light Integration the tool tip says you won't have access to "all VisualNDepend panels in Visual Studio", but it fails to enumerate either what is missing or provided at that level.  This is probably not a big deal, because most people are going to want Full Integration.  My installation and therefore my evaluation is based off of the Full Integration.

It's also worth noting that there are two tools called Visual NDepend and NDepend.Console that you get.  These applications allow you to perform code analysis outside of Visual Studio.  Some people may prefer that based on some of the resource requirements of NDepend (which I'll get to in Part 2 of my evaluation that covers my first impressions).

All-in-all the installation was simple enough to justify XCopy deployment; however, I cannot shake the idea that it would seem that much more professional with an installer that would combine several manual steps into a single step.  The space required for the installation is slightly above 21 MB.

** View Part 2 of the Evaluation **

Disclaimer: Patrick Smacchia contacted me about reviewing NDepend.  I received a free license in return for sharing my experiences and talking about the capabilities of the add-in on this site.  There is no expectation of a positive review elicited from the author of NDepend.

Debate on using XCopy deployment with NDepend


Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:34 AM Visual Studio , NDepend | Back to top

Comments on this post: NDepend Evaluation: Part 1

# re: NDepend Evaluation: Part 1
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To quote the first comment from the Resource article:

"XCOPY and ZIP file all day long - It shows me that you care about the cleanliness of my machine"

Enough said.
Left by Travis on Feb 16, 2012 1:29 PM

# re: NDepend Evaluation: Part 1
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Not enough at all. Installers provide centralized management and control access to program files by putting them in the more secure Program Files location. Installation programs can be written poorly just like applications, but they don't have to be.
Left by Anthony Trudeau on Mar 06, 2012 10:37 AM

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