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vera++ / Running

Running Vera++

Vera++ needs to know where the rules and transformation scripts are located. The following rules are applied:

  • If the --root option is used, its argument is used as the name of the directory where the scripts subdirectory with scripts should be located, otherwise
  • If the VERA_ROOT environment variable is defined, it is used as the name of the directory where the scripts subdirectory with scripts should be located, otherwise
  • If the HOME environment variable is defined, then the ~/.vera++ directory is used (and it should contain the scripts subdirectory with scripts), otherwise
  • The current directory should contain the scripts subdirectory.

Options

Vera++ recognizes the following parameters:

-
(a single minus) indicates that the source code to check will be provided on the stdin.
-p --profile profilename
instructs the program to execute all rules defined in the given profile; the profile name is just a name of the file that will be found under the profiles directory. There is always a default profile that lists many of the existing rules - it is used when no profile is named explicitly.
-R --rule rulename
instructs the program to execute the given rule; note that the name of the rule should not contain the file extension of the script implementing the rule - this is added automatically, so that for example --rule my_rule means that Vera++ will find the my_rule.tcl script and will run it.
--transform transformationname
instructs the program to execute a single named transformation; the naming scheme is the same as for the --rule option.
-o --std-report filename
writes the standard (gcc-like) report to this file. A single dash - means that the standard output or the error output will be used, depending on the usage of the --warning or --error option. This option may be used several times in order to produce the reports in several locations - for example on the standard output and in a file. Default value is -.
-v --vc-report filename
writes the Visual C report to this file. A single dash - means that the standard output or the error output will be used, depending on the usage of the --warning or --error option. This option may be used several times in order to produce the reports in several locations - for example on the standard output and in a file. This report is not produced by default.

For example, --vc-report=- will output to standard or error output

-x --xml-report filename
writes the XML report to this file. Not used by default. A single dash - means that the standard output or the error output will be used, depending on the usage of the --warning or --error option. This option may be used several times in order to produce the reports in several locations - for example on the standard output and in a file. This report is not produced by default.
-c --checkstyle-report filename
writes the checkstyle report to this file. Not used by default. A single dash - means that the standard output or the error output will be used, depending on the usage of the --warning or --error option. This option may be used several times in order to produce the reports in several locations - for example on the standard output and in a file. This report is not produced by default.
-s --show-rule
includes the name of the rule in each report line.
-d --no-duplicate
instructs the program to omit duplicated messages in the final report (the duplicates can be a result of violating the same rule many times in the same line of source code).
-w --warning
reports are marked as warning and generated on the error output.
-e --error
reports are marked as error and generated on the error output. An non zero exit code is used when one or more reports are generated.
-q --quiet
don't display the reports. This option is best used with --summary and/or with --error.
-S --summary
displays the number of reports and the number of processed files.
--parameters filename
instructs the program to read parameter values from the given file; each parameter association should be placed in a separate line of this file. This option may be used several times.
-P --parameter parameterassociation
provides the value of the named parameter to the scripts (see the documentation of each script to see whether it recognizes any parameters); the parameter association has the form name=value.
--exclusions exclusionsfilename

instructs the program to exclude some source files from rule checks, as described in the given file; the content of this file is a set of regular expressions that match the log output in the standard format, with the rule name. If the regular expression matches, the report is excluded. For example, to exclude all the T003 report for the case and delete keywords, just add this line to an exclusion file

:\d+: T003: keyword '(case|delete)' not followed by a single space

The empty lines are ignored in the exclusion files as well as the lines beginning with a #, so the file can be commented.

-i --inputs filename
the inputs are read from that file. A single dash - means that the files to check will be read from the standard input. This option may be used several times.
-r --root path
uses the given path as the vera++ root directory
--version
prints the program version information and exits.
-h --help
prints the list of recognized options and exits.
--
(a double dash) do not interpret any more arguments as options.

Arguments that are not starting with a dash - are treated as source files to check. Files starting with a dash can be checked by prefixing them with the current directory shortcut ./.

When no input file is provided either as an argument or with the --input option, the list of source file names is read from the standard input.

Profile file

The profile file contains a list of options and their value. The available options are the same as the options used on the command line in their long form and without the leading --. The options noted as being usable several times are also usable several times in the profile file. An example profile definition that groups three rules (L001, L002 and L003) and changes the maximum line length to 120 might look like:

rule=L001
rule=L002
rule=L003
parameter=max-line-length=120

Examples of executing Vera++ with rules

To execute all default verification rules against the file file.cpp, run:

vera++ file.cpp

To execute only rule L001 (this rule ensures that there is no trailing whitespace in each source line) against the same file, run:

vera++ -R L001 file.cpp

To execute rule L004 (this rule checks for too long source lines) with the parameter value providing 78 as the maximum line length, run:

vera++ -R L004 -P max-line-length=78 file.cpp

To execute all rules from your favorite profile (assuming that the my_favorite profile definition is stored in the profiles directory) against all header files in the current filesystem subtree, run:

find . -name '*.h' | vera++ --profile my_favorite

Note: Vera++ collects the reports generated by each rule and prints them out sorted and after all rules were executed. If there were no problem reports, the output of the program is empty.

Note: Vera++ reports are generated on the standard output by default, making them easy to use with a pipe. The --warning and --error options are changing the output to the standard error. The options --std-report, --vc-report, --xml-report and --quiet may be used to disable the output to the standard or error output.

Examples of executing Vera++ with transformations

To execute the trim_right source code transformation (it removes the trailing whitespace that the rule L001 above complained about) on all .cpp files in the current directory run:

vera++ --transform trim_right *.cpp

As a result, each .cpp file will be backed up with the additional extension .bak and the files will be trimmed by removing trailing whitespace. The exact behavior is defined by the script named trim_right.tcl in the scripts/transformations directory.

Running Vera++ as a test with CMake

CMake offers the possibility to run tests that are considered to pass when they return a 0 value and to fail otherwise. Fortunately, vera++, when used with the --error option, has exactly this behavior. Creating the test is just a matter of listing the sources to check:

file(GLOB_RECURSE srcs
  ${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}/src/*.cpp
  ${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}/src/*.h)
add_test(NAME VeraStyle
  COMMAND vera++
  --error
  ${srcs})

Running Vera++ during the build with CMake

Running vera++ in a test integrates quite badly with the IDEs or with CDash: the reports are hidden in the test log, and it is not easy to look at the problematic code. Moreover, a failure in the coding style is not the same as a failure in a unit or functional test, and shouldn't appear in the same way. Another option is to run vera++ during the build and make it generate warnings that are well interpreted by the IDEs and CDash. In QtCreator for instance, it is then possible to click on the warning to go to the problematic code.

Running vera++ during the build can be done in a similar way to the previous section, by replacing the add_test() call with a add_custom_target() that will run the style check every time the custom target is built.

file(GLOB_RECURSE srcs
  ${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}/src/*.cpp
  ${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}/src/*.h)
add_custom_target(VeraStyle ALL
  vera++
  --warning
  ${srcs})

For large projects, running the style check every time can be quite time consuming and uncomfortable for the developer. It is then more convenient to split the style check in several parts that can be run in parallel, and to avoid rerunning the check if the files to check have not been modified. A vera++ macro is available to do that very easily:

find_package(vera++)
include(${VERA++_USE_FILE})
add_vera_targets(*.h *.cpp
  RECURSE
  ROOT "${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}")

This macro adds a new style_reports target that is run every time a source file is modified. A style target is still available to force the style check. The target names can be configured with the parameters NAME and NAME_ALL. This macro is the recommended way to use vera++ with CMake.

Backward compatibility with vera++ 1.2

  • Tcl exclusion files are still supported, but deprecated
  • Tcl profiles are still supported, but deprecated

Backward compatibility with vera++ 1.1

Vera++ is still mostly compatible with the vera++ 1.1 command line interface, but this feature is planned for removal and its usage is not recommended.

Vera++ tries to detect if the old command line style is used by searching for the old options in the arguments. If no old style option is found, vera++ uses the new command line parser.

The command line style can be forced to the old style by setting the environment variable VERA_LEGACY to on, true or 1. Any other value will force vera++ to use the new command line style.

Note: the behavior of vera++ is not backward compatible with vera++ 1.1 when no option is passed to vera++ and VERA_LEGACY is not set:

  • the reports are generated on the standard output instead of the error output;
  • a single dash - means that the source code to check is read from the standard input instead of reading the list of files to check;
  • the lack of input files makes vera++ read the standard input instead of generating an error.

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