From HandWiki
Stable release
Operating systemWindows
TypeSoftware quality
LicenseCommercial, Proprietary

NDepend is a static analysis tool for .NET managed code. The tool proposes a large number features, from dependency visualization to Quality Gates and Smart Technical Debt Estimation. For that reasons the community refers to it as the "Swiss Army Knife" for .NET Developers.


NDepend Dependency Graph

The main features of NDepend are:

  • Dependency Visualization (using dependency graphs, and dependency matrix)
  • Smart Technical Debt Estimation
  • Quality Gates
  • Declarative code rule over C# LINQ query (CQLinq). The NDepend default Rules-Set has few overlap with popular Roslyn analyzers. Roslyn analyzers are good at analyzing the code flow - what is happening inside a method - while the NDepend code model, on which the NDepend rules are based, is optimized for a 360 view of particular higher-scale areas including OOP, dependencies, metrics, breaking changes, mutability, naming...
  • Software metrics (NDepend currently supports 82 code metrics: Cyclomatic complexity; Afferent and Efferent Coupling; Relational Cohesion; Google page rank of .NET types; Percentage of code covered by tests, etc.)
  • Code Coverage data import from Visual Studio coverage, dotCover, OpenCover, NCover, NCrunch.
  • Version comparison of two versions of the same assembly
  • Integration with Visual Studio 2022, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, or can run as a standalone through VisualNDepend.exe, side by side with Jetbrains Rider or Visual Studio Code.
  • Reporting and CI/CD Integration with Azure DevOps, Bamboo, Jenkins, TeamCity, AppVeyor

Code rules through LINQ queries (CQLinq)

NDepend Code Querying CQLinq

Live code queries and code rules through LINQ queries is the backbone of NDepend, all features use it extensively. Here are some sample code queries:

  • Base class should not use derivatives:
// <Name>Base class should not use derivatives</Name>
 warnif count > 0 
 from baseClass in JustMyCodeTypes
 where baseClass.IsClass && baseClass.NbChildren > 0 // <-- for optimization!
 let derivedClassesUsed = baseClass.DerivedTypes.UsedBy(baseClass)
 where derivedClassesUsed.Count() > 0
 select new { baseClass, derivedClassesUsed }
// <Name>Avoid making complex methods even more complex (source code cyclomatic complexity)</Name>
 warnif count > 0 
 from m in JustMyCodeMethods where
  !m.IsAbstract &&
   m.IsPresentInBothBuilds() &&
 let oldCC = m.OlderVersion().CyclomaticComplexity
 where oldCC > 6 && m.CyclomaticComplexity > oldCC 
 select new { m,
     newCC = m.CyclomaticComplexity, 
     oldLoc = m.OlderVersion().NbLinesOfCode,
     newLoc = m.NbLinesOfCode,

Additionally, the tool provides a live CQLinq query editor with code completion and embedded documentation.

See also

External links

NDepend reviewed by the .NET community

Books that mention NDepend

  • Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam, and Tushar Sharma. Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt (2014)
  • Marcin Kawalerowicz and Craig Berntson. Continuous Integration in .NET (2010)
  • James Avery and Jim Holmes. Windows developer power tools (2006)
  • Patrick Cauldwell and Scott Hanselman. Code Leader: Using People, Tools, and Processes to Build Successful Software (2008)
  • Yogesh Shetty and Samir Jayaswal. Practical .NET for financial markets (2006)
  • Paul Duvall. Continuous Integration (2007)
  • Rick Leinecker and Vanessa L. Williams. Visual Studio 2008 All-In-One Desk Reference For Dummies (2008)
  • Patrick Smacchia. Practical .Net 2 and C# 2: Harness the Platform, the Language, the Framework (2006)