As anybody reading my blog for a while can tell you I like NDepend and a new version was recently released.
Disclaimer: I do not work for NDepend but I was lucky enough to be provided a license to use the software, my opinion in this post is my opinion and nobody else’s.
My first impression of the new version is that there aren’t a huge number of new features in this release rather there has been a number of incremental changes & improvements to various parts of it.
What’s new and changed?
V6 brings with it integration for VS2015 (which V5 didn’t have) and there have been several enhancements around making the experience of using NDepend smoother – better VS integration, VS theming, high DPI support, able to work with portable class libraries etc.
For a long time integrating NDepend into a build process on a CI server needed you to perform additional work to get it hooked up but in V6 its been made easier and there is closer integration with a few CI server technologies, TeamCity being the one I’m most interested in, where NDepend now makes it easy to integrate into the build process.
One area NDepend has suffered with is compiler generated code, such as anonymous types, lambdas, async/await, etc. This has been tackled in V6 so instead of being told
<>f__AnonymousType0<int,string> breaks a rule it now tries to determine if the rule is really broken or if its only due to generated code which will hopefully reduce the number of false positive rule violations.
Additional support has been added around tests so that NDepend can now tell you percentage of code covered by tests and the treemap has had additional colouring added to enable you visualize the code coverage over the assemblies analysed.
My thoughts on V6
As I mentioned before this release feels more of an incremental change rather than a big functional change but that is to be expected with a mature product such as NDepend.
The enhancements around VS integration, VS theming etc are something that the product needed simply to stay where it was i.e. its not a selling point per say rather what people just expect a modern application to support.
Although the test coverage additions seem useful, in practice I find myself using the existing tools I already have to work with this so I’m not sure I’m going to use these new features all that much.
My favourite new feature in V6 is the ability to attach NDepend to a solution using the solution user options (.suo) file rather than the solution (.sln) file. The benefit of this is that because .suo files are not normally stored in version control it means that I can use NDepend on a solution where others in my team don’t have NDepend and it doesn’t cause anybody any issues when loading the solution.
Should you upgrade?
If you’re already using NDepend V5 with VS2013, unlikely upgrade and not impacted by most of the enhancements or only use NDepend from the command line then upgrading may not provide much value.
However, if you are going to be upgrading to VS 2015 and use NDepend inside of VS or in your build progress then I think you’ll want to upgrade to get the latest enhancements.