Menu
Facebook tool could help devs pinpoint elusive memory leaks

Facebook tool could help devs pinpoint elusive memory leaks

Infer is a free static analysis debugger Facebook has used internally and has now released as open source

Facebook's Infer can highlight errors in the source code of a program, and prompt the developer to fix them.

Facebook's Infer can highlight errors in the source code of a program, and prompt the developer to fix them.

To help developers find hidden errors in their programs, Facebook has released as open source a tool that it uses to debug millions of lines of its own code.

The software, called Infer, could be useful to organizations and individuals building mobile and desktop apps and could use extra help debugging, said Facebook developer Peter O'Hearn, one of the tool's creators.

Infer is a static program analyzer. Static analyzers do not test programs by running them. Instead, they mathematically examine the code for all the possible ways it could run, flagging incorrect or unfinished bits.

Infer is particularly well-suited for applications too large to be understood by any one programmer, O'Hearn said. It separates an application into a set of smaller parts so they can be examined more easily. It also remembers which parts of the application it has already analyzed, and doesn't re-check them unless they have been modified.

Facebook has used Infer to inspect Facebook Messenger and Instagram, as well as its apps for the Android and iOS platforms.

Static analysis tools are not new. Companies such as Coverity, Parasoft, and Black Duck, among others, all offer commercial static analysis debuggers.

Infer's obvious advantage over these products is that it's free. It also is particularly well adapted to sniffing out memory leaks and null pointer access, both of which can be elusive to track down and are a predominant source of app crashes.

The current version can examine code written in C, Objective-C and Java. The Infer team hopes that, by open sourcing the software, others will add support for more languages.

Work on Infer started in Monoidics, which was founded in 2009 and purchased by Facebook in 2013. In addition to O'Hearn, Facebook developers Cristiano Calcagno and Dino Distefano also contributed heavily to Infer.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Development toolsapplication developmentsoftwareFacebook

Featured

Slideshows

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

​Ingram Micro’s Hooked on Lenovo incentive programme recently rewarded 28 of New Zealand's top performing resellers with a full-on fishing trip at Great Barrier Island for the third year​ in a row.

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island
Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

As the dust settles on the 2017 AWS Summit in Sydney, ARN looks back an action packed two-day event, covering global keynote presentations, 80 breakout sessions on the latest technology solutions, and channel focused tracks involving local cloud stories and insights.

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney
Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Ingram Micro hosted its third annual Cure Kids Charity Golf Tournament at the North Shore Golf Club in Auckland. In total, 131 resellers, vendors and Ingram Micro suppliers enjoyed a round of golf consisting of challenges on each of the 18 sponsored holes, with Team Philips taking out the top honours.

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day
Show Comments