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A brief note about MISRA

A brief note about MISRA

Oct 06 2016

We are often asked whether the PVS-Studio analyzer supports MISRA standard. I decided to write a short note to make it easy to answer the letters, giving the link. A brief answer: we do not currently support standards MISRA C, MISRA C++ and do not plan to do that yet. Here is an explanation of our position concerning this question.

In connection with starting PVS-Studio support of different compilers for embedded platforms we've changed our position regarding MISRA. Starting with the version PVS-Studio 6.27, the analyzer supports MISRA C and MISRA C++ standards. Read more.

We have never focused on the support of the MISRA C, MISRA C++ and other related standards. We aim at searching bugs that are already in the code, not the prevention of potential problems by limiting programmers.

For example, we don't induce the programmers to write break in swicth, and don't prohibit using goto. We think there is little use in the recommendation of writing // comment instead of /* */. We also don't see the point to warn C programmers that they have address arithmetic p++ in their program.

Such diagnostics bulk up the analyzer output and instead of searching for real errors, a person starts fighting with thousands theoretically good, but having no influence suggestions of the code improvement.

We have chosen a different path. None of the standards says, "avoid typos". Still, everybody makes typos. Our analyzer is very helpful in this regard. For example, V501 diagnostic itself is a great way to protect against them. Such diagnostics are our competitive advantage.

Yes, we can partly take something from MISRA. This means that some things are definitely useful and at the same time appear in different standards and analyzers.

At this time, we do not plan to support MISRA. We understand that some programmers may need to support this standard. But now we want to develop the analyzer in the direction of unique diagnostic rules and the search for typos. And I think that's OK. If there is a need for the code to comply with the MISRA standard, there are plenty of tools that allow doing that.

Analyzers that check the compliance of the code with the MISRA standard:

  • Coverity by Synopsys,
  • Klocwork by Rogue Wave Software,
  • LDRA Testbed by Liverpool Data Research Associates,
  • Parasoft C/C++test by Parasoft,
  • PC-Lint by Gimpel Software,
  • Polyspace by MathWorks,
  • QA-C by Programming Research,
  • Understand by SciTools,
  • and so on.

As you see, many tools can give recommendations about writing more qualitative code.

Demonstration of PVS-Studio abilities in finding bugs:

  • Errors found in Open Source projects (at the time of writing this article, we have already more than 10500 errors).
  • Articles about the check of well-known open source projects with the help of PVS-Studio.

Update 2021. As you see, the article is outdated :). After we implemented lots of general analysis diagnostic rules to search for typos and potential vulnerabilities, we started supporting such standards as CWE, OWASP, SEI CERT. As for now (2021), we are actively covering MISRA C, MISRA C++. Additional links:

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