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Microsoft Source Analysis for C# released

Microsoft Source Analysis for C# – known inside Microsoft as StyleCop – is now available. We use StyleCop on new WiX code, in addition to FxCop to analyze code for style consistency and correctness. Now that StyleC…er, Microsoft Source Analysis for C# is available outside the campus grounds, we can include the settings files we use in the WiX codebase.

StyleCop is a Visual Studio package that integrates analysis commands in the Solution Explorer and a tool window to show analysis results. StyleCop also includes MSBuild tasks so you can make analysis runs part of your daily builds.

Naturally, the Style…dammit…Microsoft Source Analysis for C# installer is authored in WiX. The package is extremely clean. There are no ICE errors and only ICE33 warnings about non-advertised COM registration. The only custom actions come from WixUIExtension and WixVSExtension. The UI is built with WixUI, though the StyleCop team chose to use some logo-themed white bitmaps rather than the classic-yet-modern red.

The first few times you run StyleCop on existing code, you’re bound to be surprised and probably frustrated. The rules are, after all, about enforcing a consistent coding style. Unless you happen to already be using the StyleCop style, you’ll get a lot of “violations” that seem quite arbitrary. Yep, and that’s the point: Coding style discussions are pretty much religious wars over arbitrary decisions. (Yes, there are exceptions, but mostly it’s personal esthetic choice. Except for tabs versus spaces; don’t mess with tabs versus spaces!)

Just stick with StyleCop style and you’ll be consistent, even if elements of the style aren’t your personal favorite.