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Viva64: What Is It, and Who Is It for?

Viva64: What Is It, and Who Is It for?

Jul 30 2007

Viva64 is a tool designed for software developers. With this tool, you can easily convert 32-bit applications to 64-bit ones.

At present, Viva64 and VivaMP software products are included in PVS-Studio as parts of it and are no longer distributed as separate applications. Please use PVS-Studio program to obtain the necessary possibilities of code verification.

A problem of the nearest future: release of 64-bit applications

Personal computers with 64-bit processors appeared on the market only at the beginning of 2006. Right after that, developers began to modify their applications to make them compatible with the new architecture. However, it suddenly turned out that applications could work incorrectly when running on new platforms. Standard means of diagnostics do not allow determining the new class of errors that occur in applications, and it is not good to leave those errors unfixed either.

The necessity to convert applications to 64-bit ones placed developers in a difficult situation. The behavior of applications that have worked for years without any problems has become unpredictable. Of course, there is more random access memory for applications, however, when working with greater amounts of data applications may hang, crash, or even they may generate useless files instead of the needed results.

Viva64 is a solution to the problem

One of possible solutions that can be used to search for errors when converting code is the use of special tools - static code analyzers. Viva64 is one of such tools. It is a code analyzer that finds potential errors in applications written in C and C++.

Viva64 is integrated into Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 as its extension module. Below is the appearance of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 with Viva64 integrated into it.

a0009_Viva64_-_what_is_and_for/image1.png

Figure 1. The appearance of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 with Viva64 integrated into it.

This allows developers to work with Viva64 in a familiar environment - there is no need to spend time on familiarizing with a new interface. Viva64 just adds a few new elements (in Fig.1 they are marked with red): the Viva64 menu item, a toolbar containing Viva64 commands and a window containing the list of found problems. Any developer can easily figure out how to work with Viva64.

Figure 2 demonstrates an example of Viva64 documentation. This is a description of one of the errors found by the code analyzer. The description is in the format that is compatible with the standard MSDN help system, and it can be automatically integrated into it. So, developers will not have to familiarize themselves with a new help system.

a0009_Viva64_-_what_is_and_for/image3.png

Figure 2 - A description of an error found by Viva64.

Viva64 allows you to:

  • find incorrect constructions in code (from the point of view of 64-bit applications);
  • make a precise and complete diagnostic of errors, right up to the line number and error description;
  • navigate to incorrect code snippets;
  • analyze the aftermath an error may cause. This is done with the help of detailed documentation that is integrated into the MSDN help system;
  • find ways to fix problems by using examples the documentation contains;
  • analyze the code of the entire project or solution (in Microsoft Visual Studio terminology), but not only single files.

Viva64 and competitors' products

I'd like to name the main competitors of Viva64, as well as similar means of analysis.

First of all, I'd like to note that Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 already includes a primitive tool that searches for possible conversion problems. However, this tool is not a Viva64 competitor, since it provides only preliminary code analysis. Viva64 provides a much higher level of code analysis and diagnostics.

Below is a list of tools that are similar to Viva64:

The above-mention products are code analyzers as well. Here is what makes Viva64 different:

  • Viva64 searches only for those errors that occur during code conversion. The competitive tools are general-purpose code analyzers. Though it is announced that the competitive tools can search for conversion problems, it's actually hard to use them to analyze Windows applications. The point is that they are mainly intended for Unix applications.
  • Viva64 is completely integrated into Microsoft Visual Studio, which makes it possible to navigate to files, projects and solutions, jump to problematic code snippets and use the integrated help system.
  • Since Viva64 is used only for one purpose (it searches only for conversion errors) it's very easy to customize it. Viva64 is ready to function right after it is installed, which is a real advantage that the competitive products do not have.

Conclusions

In general, I can say that the use of Viva64 will allow you to greatly reduce the time needed to prepare 64-bit applications for the release. This happens because potentially dangerous code snippets are found automatically - there is no need to spend a lot of time searching for them manually.

Also, Viva64 brings your applications to a higher quality level. It's quite possible that developers can miss some errors when analyzing code manually. Viva64 allows you to avoid this.

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