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C/C++ Runtime Analysis

Embedded C Runtime Analysis

Powered by Parasoft C/C++test, the most complete development testing solution for C and C++

Runtime Analysis for Embedded C Applications

Parasoft C/C++test finds runtime defects, stability issues, and security vulnerabilities, such as memory leaks, null pointers, uninitialized memory, and buffer overflows, by monitoring the runtime when running a host-based or embedded application, or executing unit tests written in C. The runtime component is extremely lightweight, requiring only small amounts of extra code and data space.

How Does It Work?

Parasoft C/C++test automatically instruments an application’s codebase to activate monitoring when the application is running, identifying serious defects, stability issues, and security vulnerabilities, such as:

  • Memory leaks
  • Memory corruption
  • Reading uninitialized memory
  • Accessing memory using an out of range pointer (e.g. buffer overflow)
  • Accessing memory using a null pointer
  • Using free() on an invalid pointer

Parasoft C/C++test’s runtime analysis provides predefined test configurations to support both native and embedded applications with C-style memory allocations (malloc / free). Runtime analysis can be performed during both unit testing, to validate specific scenarios and execution paths, and functional testing, to monitor the fully integrated application.

Defects that have been found during runtime testing can be presented directly in the developer’s IDE, and correlated with other test results and quality metrics, such as code coverage or static analysis findings from Parasoft C/C++test, so the user can get a complete picture of the tested application, making it easier to understand the root-cause of runtime defects.


Parasoft C/C++test monitors a running application, detecting runtime-related problems (i.e. memory leaks, memory corruption, reading uninitialized memory, buffer overflows) that could lead to stability issues, functional misbehaviors, or security vulnerabilities. Unlike static analysis, where warnings may not necessarily result in bugs in the running code (a.k.a. false positives), bugs found by dynamic analysis are always true positives.

Parasoft C/C++test monitors test binaries when running unit tests, providing insight into the code under test to help users understand unit testing failures or instabilities. Runtime analysis can detect errors that aren’t easily determined from unit test results. For example, memory leaks might be overlooked during unit testing since memory problems aren’t checked or the impact on memory isn’t significant. By detecting runtime defects for execution paths enforced by unit test cases, C/C++test can exercise paths not easily reached when running the original application.

Runtime analysis can be performed for not only native applications, but also for cross-platform/embedded environments, so the analysis is performed in the original production environment. Bugs may not manifest themselves with host-based development and the target code may have a different processor architecture, operating system and device constraints, so without this, users would need to perform complicated on-target debugging (assuming the defects could be detected by having some visible side effects during regular functional testing).

Runtime defects are presented in the IDE in a unified way with other test data, such as code coverage, unit testing failures, or static analysis findings, so it’s easier to analyze and understanding the root cause of the runtime defects.

Benefit From the Parasoft Approach

Identify Real Defects and Security Vulnerabilities Early, During Unit and Integration Testing, in the Original Runtime Embedded Environment

Runtime defects in embedded environments are often difficult to reproduce on a host platform (and often difficult on target platforms too). By monitoring the runtime execution of an embedded application, in the original embedded runtime environment, Parasoft helps you uncover real-world defects in your software.

Understand the Root Cause of Defects for a Preventative Approach

By correlating runtime defects with static analysis results, Parasoft gives users visibility to understand and identify the root cause of defects. This helps teams apply preventative practices across the entire codebase to uncover additional hidden defects and reduce the appearance of defects in the future.

Find More Bugs When Unit Testing

Unit testing is a critical testing practice to ensure that your code performs as expected under conditions that are difficult or impossible to reproduce when the application is fully assembled. Parasoft C/C++test enables you to leverage runtime analysis during the execution of unit tests, to uncover runtime issues that are buried within the application that you can’t easily reproduce within your pre-production environment.