Getting started with nDepend

I was contacted by Patrick Smacchia and extended the opportunity to try nDepend. I took this as an opportunity to learn more about the metrics beyond my more familiar test coverage (nCover, nCoverExplorer), code style compliance (FxCop and Code Style Enforcer), and the like.

My first impression was that I was confused by the interface. It looks confusing. When I click on different parts of the UI, other things change and flip around. I didn’t understand the metrics being measured and how they were being displayed.

Okay… the first 5 minutes were up and the curiosity bug hit me. I wanted to know what all this information was about and how to better use this tool. I went to the web site and found the online demos on the Getting Started page. There are (currently) 8 separate demos available. After only the first two (6 minutes) the light bulb started to turn on. There is a LOT of information to digest. This tools reports 83 different metrics at different levels of analysis. The investment in online tutorials and web site opened a huge door. To be sure, there’s a lot more for me to sink my teeth into in this tool.

One of the coolest features I discovered was that, when you click on the bubbly report in the metrics window, the toolbar presents a drop-down where you can select which metric you want reported in the metrics window. The nice part about that is that you select the metric to report on, the report generates, and all you have to do is look at where the biggest squares are (left to right) to find out what the biggest culprits are to take a look at. Pretty slick!

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