There’s a lot of code in the world, and a lot more is created every day. The browser you’re reading this article on is likely supported by millions of lines of code. And as even a casual reader would know from the headlines, not all of that code is flawless. In fact, there are more than a few flaws present, as well as the occasional gaping security hole. Code debugging and code security tools exist to find and help developers fix the problems that occur.
There are even some debuggers that automate the bug fixing process. Such tools typically capture exceptions as they occur and provide diagnostic and contextual data to make resolution easier. How they go about it differs from tool to tool. Some use hard-coded algorithms in error grouping. Others use a machine learning grouping engine to spot error patterns and types. This reduces noise and enables developers to prioritize the most important ones.
Automated tools also help developers emerge from alert hell. Sometimes they are inundated with alerts and have to dig through logs trying to uncover the problem. Automated debugging tools are designed to simplify the handling of bugs in codes, reduce the time fixes take, and in the process make life easier for the coder. It’s been estimated that developers spend anywhere from 20% to 75% of their time debugging and maintaining code, so tools that can automate even some of the process potentially have a high return on investment (ROI). At a time when software and application security are becoming critically important, code security and debugging tools are poised for strong growth.
Security and Speed Needs Drive Growth
Debugging tools haven’t just appeared as a result of someone’s bright idea. Their growing popularity is being driven by coders who need help. In addition, the bad old days of buggy code as the norm are no longer being tolerated. Organizations appear to care more about both code quality and want both speed and accuracy as part of their code release cycles. They realize that speed without accuracy has a bad impact on user retention.
Additionally, as code complexity grows and run-time environments change, such as with cloud, hybrid, and microservice models, code debugging and code security has become more challenging.
While companies tend to run lots of pre-production tests, there can be a diminishing return, and it slows down release cycles. In any case, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate where code will break or security vulnerabilities will show. Code debugging and code security tools, therefore, need to integrate with other tools and plug into the workflow that developers are using. They need to work in real-time in all these environments and provide deep context into errors and security issues so developers can see and understand what’s happening as fast as possible.
Best Code Debugging and Code Security Tools
There are a great many code debugging and code security tools to choose from. Some focus on finding bugs in code, some try to automatically fix them, others are targeted at potential security holes. Therefore, it is important to define what you are looking for as part of the product selection process. Veteran coders may simply want a fast scan to point out areas to review. Rookies, on the other hand, might be grateful for all the help they can get when it comes to finding and fixing buys automatically.
The core minimum features for code debugging tools include:
- SDKs supporting popular languages and frameworks to capture exceptions
- Alerting and notification functionality to get instant alerts of errors as they appear
- A UI/dashboard to get a live feed of all errors and be able to drill into them for more information
We evaluated the top code debugging and code security tools. Here are the ones that stood out in our analysis.
Rollbar’s Continuous Code Improvement Platform helps developers discover and resolve issues in code. Developers instrument lightweight SDKs into their applications to capture all exceptions – handled and unhandled – as they occur, along with the surrounding context and details. This gives developers visibility on errors in applications, coupled with diagnostic data needed for resolution.
Rollbar’s standout features
- Error grouping engine utilizes machine learning to automatically group similar errors together to reduce noise and create trustworthy alerts, enabling developers to focus on, and prioritize, the errors that matter
- Automatically triggers workflows based on any new bugs or regressions that are detected to address issues and minimize their impact till developers can fix them
- Meets SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 criteria
- Helps development teams deploy better software faster, and quickly recover from critical errors in code
- Lower mean time to awareness (MTTA) and mean time to resolution (MTTR) of errors
- Automation Grade Grouping reduces the number of over-grouped and under-grouped errors, getting rid of missed bugs and noise
- Automated workflows that developers can use to remediate errors without manual intervention
SonarQube helps companies enhance workflows with continuous code quality and code security. It includes thousands of automated Static Code Analysis rules that have been designed to protect apps on multiple fronts, and guide development teams.
SonarQube’s standout features
- Fixes vulnerabilities that compromise apps
- Ensures the codebase is clean and maintainable to increase developer velocity
- Works on 27 programming languages
- Provides release quality code and offers clear go/no-go indicators
- Multilanguage software
- Includes security analyses
- Supports Docker
From error tracking to performance monitoring, Sentry helps developers see what matters, resolve bugs quicker, and learn continuously about applications from the frontend to the backend. Over a million developers and 70,000 organizations already use it to ship better software faster.
Sentry’s standout features
- Performance monitoring helps trace performance issues to poor-performing API calls and slow database queries
- Find root causes with Sentry Trace View and Trace Navigator
- Obtain a through-line between transactions across all projects
- Source code, error filters, stack locals help enhances application performance
- Quickly identify performance issues before they become downtime
- View the end-to-end distributed trace to see the exact, poor-performing API call and surface any related errors
- Breadcrumbs make application development easier by showing the trails of events that lead to the error(s)
- Real-time monitoring means data in real-time
- Query raw event data across the organization with Discover, Sentry’s query builder
- Dashboards add a visual element to application monitoring
Bugsnag monitors application stability to help developers make data-driven decisions on whether they should be building new features or fixing bugs. It includes full stack stability monitoring with functionality for mobile applications.
Bugsnag’s standout features
- End-to-end diagnostics to help reproduce every error
- One dashboard for all functions
- Provides a stability score as the definitive metric for app health
- Offers search and prioritized customer segments
- Focus on the bugs that matter most to the business
- Open source error libraries for over 50 platforms with opinionated defaults and customization options
- Subject matter experts are available who know about error reduction and app health
- Automated error monitoring, reporting, alerting, and diagnostic capture for mobile, web, and backend apps
- Track application stability against set targets, and intervene when stability drops
DebugHunters is focused on the website protection side of code debugging. It safeguards sites and their visitors from attacks. This is done with both automated and routine manual checks with the goal of eliminating the worry about a compromise damaging a website site or company reputation.
DebugHunters standout features
- Round-the-clock debugging
- Track down the root cause of errors quickly and reduce time spent on debugging by up to 85%
- Improve the quality of code
- Speedy vulnerability patching
- Website security software runs daily scans for malicious activity, sends out alerts, and removes threats
- When servers crash and security threats happen, an automatic backup service provides a secure and up-to-date version
- Automatic firewall (WAF)
- Premium SSL certificate
- DDoS and anti-spam protection
- Speed boost with Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Unlimited vulnerability patching
- High priority code debugging
Veracode helps organizations develop software by reducing the risk of security breach through analysis, developer enablement, and AppSec governance. Its process is based on analyzing customer programs for over a decade, and a SaaS model that delivers a scalable service at a lower cost. It provides visibility into application status in one centralized view.
Veracode standout features
- Helps organizations overcome DevSecOps challenges with a combination of automated application analysis in the pipeline and expertise for developers and security professionals
- Visibility into application status across all testing types, including SAST, DAST, SCA, and manual penetration testing
- Application analysis tools cover web and mobile apps, as well as microservices, in most major programming languages and frameworks
- Development teams can automate analysis in the pipeline with Veracode Integrations
- Ensures that software applications companies build and buy, and the third-party components they use, are secure
- No need to purchase any hardware or software
- By scanning compiled or byte code at the binary level rather than reviewing source code, Veracode provides complete analysis
ReSharper is a code analysis and debugging tool available as an extender to Visual Studio. Its features are also present in JetBrain’s .NET IDE and Rider.
ReSharper standout features
- Know right away if code needs to be improved
- Warns when there’s a problem and provides hundreds of quick fixes to solve problems automatically
- Code refactorings help safely change the code base
- Jump to any file, type, or type member, or navigate from a specific symbol to its usages, base and derived symbols, or implementations
- Code editing helpers include extended IntelliSense, hundreds of instant code transformations, auto-importing namespaces, rearranging code, and displaying documentation
- Comply with coding standards
GDB, the GNU project debugger, is an open source debugging tool. It allows you to see what is going on inside another program while it executes. In addition, it provides insight into what another program was doing at the moment an application crashed.
GDB’s standout features
- Examine what happened when a program stopped
- Change things in your program to see how correcting the effects of one bug can impact other areas
- Can run on most UNIX and Microsoft Windows variants, as well as on Mac OS X
- GDB supports Ada, Assembly, C, C++, D, Fortran, Go, Objective-C, OpenCL, Modula-2, Pascal, and Rust