NDepend v3 is now 100% integrated in Visual Studio.


First of all, if you are like me, you certainly don’t want another
Visual Studio extension that will slow down your work environment. So
let’s be clear: tremendous efforts have been put on performance and
memory consumption. Even on large code base, made of hundreds of
thousands of lines of code and dozens of VS projects, Visual Studio is
not noticeably slow down by the NDepend v3 addin.
Check by yourself and try NDepend v3.0.0 Beta3 here (v3 Beta3 pro works with v2 pro licenses and a v3 trial version is also available). VisualStudio 2010, 2008 and 2005
are supported. VS 2010 Beta2 is not supported, NDepend v3 Beta3 works
on the limited VS 2010 SLCTP3 and hopefully it will work with VS 2010
RC1 (to be released in a few weeks in February).

So what does NDepend v3 brings to the table? Simply
put, what NDepend v2 does in the Continuous Integration/Build process,
NDepend v3 does it live at development-time inside Visual Studio

(of course CI/Build integration facilities are still supported). A
progress circle, in the status bar of Visual Studio, constantly informs
the developer if the code currently violates some CQL rules. An
informative window appear when the circle is hovered by the mouse.

you are serious about conventions in your code base, you can easily
define your own CQL rules and make sure that they are checked
automatically and often, even before developers commit their changes.
CQL rules cover a wide range of concerns, including: structuring  ;  layering  ;  components boundaries code changes  ;  dozens of quality metrics  ;  code element naming  ;  NET Fx usage  ;  API usage  ;  API evolution and ascendant compatibilitycoverage ratio by tests  ;  dead-code detection  ;  un-optimal encapsulation,  ;  side-effects and mutability etc …(all this is detailed here).

takes 2 to 5 seconds to check hundreds of CQL rules asynchronously on a
low-priority thread in VS, at each compilation, or if your prefer every
N hours (this is easily configurable). The magic behind this
performance achievement comes from what we call incremental analysis: NDepend v3 only focuses on code that has been changed since the last analysis.

There are many other innovative capabilities brought by this new version of NDepend, let’s briefly mention some of them:

  • Multi VS solutions wide-analysis and collaboration: A NDepend project can
    spawn dozens of VS projects partitioned in several VS solutions. A same
    NDepend project can be attached to several VS solutions that represent
    your entire code base (eventually including tests projects). Once there
    are several solutions opened in several instance of VS (one for tests,
    one for UI code, etc.), NDepend menus lets you jump naturally from one
    solution to another; Concretely you can go to the source code
    definition of code element B defined in VS solution B from anywhere it
    is referenced in VS solution A opened in another instance of VS. A
    unique possibility and a huge time saver!
  • Rich Code Search in VS: All search capabilities of NDepend
    are now integrated in VS. VS itself and many other Addins comes with
    their own Search facilities. What makes NDepend search different is
  1. NDepend search updates result instantly while refining search
    criteria, no matter how big is the code base nor the number of matches
  2. NDepend search can be done according to plenty of different
    criteria (by text(s) in name, by regex(s) , by code metrics, by
    changes, by visibility, by purity…),
  3. NDepend search by name comes with many unique facilities to make code search more efficient (more on this here Efficiently Searching Code Elements by Name),
  4. Searching in diff between 2 versions of the code base is a unique way to code review changes (more on this here Drastically leverage your Code Reviews).
  5. Search scope can spawn several VS solutions, includes tier code
    matched by search as well, and constitutes a point of jump across multi
    VS solutions opened in several VS instances..

  • Multi CQL Query Edition in VS: CQL is to a code base what
    SQL is to a relational database.  Interestingly enough, the “Search in
    code” feature described above is just a CQL Query generator. You can
    edit several CQL Queries at a time in VS to query the code at whim or
    readily define new CQL rules, pretty much the same way you would write
    SQL code to query a relational database.



  • Continuous comparison with a base line in VS: For a long
    time, NDepend v2.x lets users explore changes between 2 snapshots of a
    code base. With NDepend v3, we harness this feature to continuously
    provide in VS the information of what has been refactored or added
    since a particular base line. We expect that the base line will often
    be the most recently released in production version of the code. If you
    cared to save on your HardDrive a copy of the source code base line,
    NDepend will let you compare in a click from VS changes made in source
    files themselves.


  • Reflector disassembly’s comparison: NDepend can command
    Reflector from VS to disassemble in source file
    (in C#, VB.NET, IL
    etc.) any class or any method. With this facility, one click is enough
    to disassemble 2 versions of the same code element from 2 versions of
    the container assembly. Then, NDepend automatically opens the 2
    disassembled code text files built with your favorite text comparison
    tool. This is ideal if you want to quickly check from production
    assemblies which recent changes might have caused a particular bug.


  • Deep VS Integration: Whether it is from Solution Explorer or
    Code Editor, all NDepend features are available on right-click as soon
    as the context can be recognized as a code element (including
    application or referenced assembly, namespace, type, method or field).
    All NDepend features (CQL query generation, interaction with code
    visualization panels, interaction with Reflector…) are grouped under
    a single NDepend menu. If you become addict, any NDepend menu can
    optionally be shown at the right-click menu first level.


  • NDepend Session state preserved: Now NDepend’s panels states
    (and their undo/redo states as well) are persisted across VisualNDepend
    or VisualStudio sessions. When you open VS the day after, everything is
    in the same state as it was before you shut down your computer.

There are dozens of others cool features in the product including
Rich informational contextual tooltip, Global summary of the code base,
supports for .NET v4, Silverlight 3 and Reflector 6, dozens of UI
usability enhancements (including some new facilities in the
visualization with the Dependency Graph) etc … The vast majority of
these evolutions has been driven from users feedback.

NDepend v3
is now in beta phase and we will have a final version in February. It
is a Go Live beta, we are confident that the current NDepend v3 beta3
is stable and won’t disturb you in your work. All NDepend licenses sold
from now are v3 compatible and questions concerning v2 licenses
upgrading will be answered on-time on the web-site. Now download NDepend v3 and harness your VisualStudio work environment!


This entry was posted in code base snapshot comparison, Code visualization, CQL, Dependency Graph, Dependency Matrix, incremental analysis, Metric View, NDepend, Reflector, Rich Code Search, Silverlight, Treemap, Visual Studio, VS, VS Integration, VStudio. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
  • http://www.davidsilvasmith.com David Smith

    Impressive performance improvement numbers!

  • http://codebetter.com/members/Patrick-Smacchia/default.aspx Patrick Smacchia

    Michael, good qustion, nthere won’t be any problem, if the NDepend VS addin isn’t loaded in VS, VS won’t say nor modify anything in the NDepend project attach section in the sln file(s).

  • Michael van Rooijen

    Hey, this looks great!

    If I use the option to attach my NDepend project to a solution, but some other developers in my organization who use that same solution don’t have NDepend what will happen?

  • http://blogs.teamb.com/craigstuntz Craig Stuntz

    This looks great!

  • http://codebetter.com/members/Patrick-Smacchia/default.aspx Patrick Smacchia

    Todd: to install the addin just start VisualNDepend, on the Start page there is a big ‘Instal VS Addin’ button.

    Ben: CppDepend is released and can be tried and purchased from here: http://www.cppdepend.com/
    It is not yet integrated in VS.

  • Ben

    Looks brilliant. Now when can I get it in CppDepend?

  • http://grantpalin.com Grant Palin

    Patrick, thanks for the response, that’s good to know. I generally like to be able to include tools in source control alongside my code.

  • Todd

    Are there instructions for installing ND3 as a VS add-in?

  • http://codebetter.com/members/Patrick-Smacchia/default.aspx Patrick Smacchia

    Grant, NDepend v3 supports both standalone UI and VS 2010/208/2005 integration, it is up to the user.

  • http://grantpalin.com Grant Palin

    Looks good. Will need to give it a try.

    Will NDepend 3 work standalone, like v2, or is it intended to be used via Visual Studio?

  • http://blogs.developpeur.org/tja Jaskula

    It’s just AWESOME !

  • http://blog.troytuttle.com Troy Tuttle

    Congrats on the progress. I look forward to testing the new features.

  • http://codebetter.com/members/Patrick-Smacchia/default.aspx Patrick Smacchia

    Matt, whether you are currently working with VS 2008 or 2005, you can integrate NDepend v3 beta and begin work with it from now.

    VS 2010 is supported indeed, but not Beta2, only private SLCTP3 so far. Be sure that future NDepend v3 betas, RCs and RTM of NDepend v3 will work with next VS2010 Rcs and RTM.

  • http://www.matthidinger.com Matt Hidinger


    I have gathered some great information from using VisualNdepend on some code bases I am working on daily — especially a new project we have starting up here. This is amazing to see all that functionality added to the environment. I look forward to checking it out when the VS2010 RC hits the web.

  • http://dgoyani.blogspot.com/ Dhananjay Goyani

    wow, great to hear this…