What is up with transparent identifiers? Part one

A query expression in C# is, as you probably know, just a syntactic sugar for a bunch of method calls. For example,

from customer in customers
where customer.City == "London"
select customer.LastName

is a syntactic sugar for

customers.
  Where(customer => customer.City == "London").
  Select(customer => customer.LastName)

A great many queries are straightforward variations on this pattern: the query is translated into a series of method calls where the arguments are lambdas formed from the range variables and expressions in the query. However, some of them are weird. This one is straightforward: Continue reading

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Casting: making a green sand mold

Today another episode in my seldom-updated series about building a home aluminum foundry.

The technique I use for casting aluminum is called “green sand” casting not because the sand is green (though the sand I use is in fact slightly olive coloured) but because the sand is moistened with water and clay rather than oil. I made the sand myself; it’s a mixture of about ten parts olivine sand to one part finely powdered bentonite clay, and then “tempered” with water until it feels right. (Use a spray bottle set to a fine mist and stir the sand as you temper it.) It should feel like perfect sand castle building material: wet enough to hold its shape but not so wet that you can squeeze water out of it. If you can make a “snowball” of sand with a fist and break it cleanly in half, that’s probably good. Continue reading

Copy-paste defects

Continuing with my series of answers to questions that were asked during my webcast on Tuesday:

The copy-paste checker example you showed was interesting. I’ve heard that NASA disallows copy-pasting in code because it is so error prone; is this true?

For readers who did not attend the talk: my favourite Coverity checker looks for code where you cut some code from one place, pasted it in another, and then made a series of almost but not quite consistent edits. An example taken from real world code is: Continue reading

Analysis vs code review

Thanks to everyone who came out to my “webinar” talk today; we had an excellent turnout. Apologies for the problems with the slides; there is some performance issue in the system where it works fine when it is not under load, but when there are lots of people using it, the slides do not advance as fast as they should. Hopefully the hosting service will get it sorted out.

As I mentioned last time, the recording will be edited and posted on the Coverity blog; I’ll post a link when I have one.

We got far, far more questions from users than we could possibly answer in the few minutes we had left at the end, and far too many to fit into one reasonably-sized blog post, so I’m going to split them up over the next few episodes. Today:

What percentage of defects does the Coverity analyzer find that should have been caught by code review? Continue reading

Avoiding C# defects talk Tuesday

Hello all, I have been crazy busy these last few weeks either traveling for work or actually programming with Roslyn — woo hoo! — and have not had time to blog. I’ve been meaning to do a short tour of the Roslyn codebase, now that it is open-sourced, but that will have to wait for later this summer.

Today I just want to mention that tomorrow, July 15th, at 8:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time, I’ll be doing a live talk broadcast on the internet where I’ll describe how the Coverity static analyzer works and what some of the most common defect patterns we find are. In particular I’m very excited by a new concurrency issue checker that looks for incorrect implementations of double-checked locking, and other “I avoided a lock when I should not have” defects. My colleague Kristen will also be talking about the new “desktop” mode of the analyzer.

If you’re interested, please register beforehand at this link. Thanks to Visual Studio Magazine for sponsoring this event.

If you missed it: the webcast will be recorded and the recording will be posted on the Coverity blog in a couple of days. The recording will also be posted on the Visual Studio Magazine site link above for 90 days.