Secret ingredients to quality software


Rules to Better Code Quality

1 Rule

  1. Do you know the Code Health (Quality Gates) to add?

    Code health is all about quality and consistency. Here is how to use various auditors and linters not just in your development environment, but also on your build.

    Depending on your development environment and the type of project, you should utilise different auditing tools.

    1. Visual Studio - How to install and modify Visual Studio Analysers
    2. Visual Studio Code - How to include TSLint and CSSLint extensions
    3. - How to produce a build script which analyses code as part of the build process

    Following the steps should take about 15 minutes to do, but longer to implement depending on the size of your solution. (Requires solution analysis in VS and at least one build on

    Version 1.2

    • Added step to include "PrimaryBuild" variable as a pseudo id for the API Version 1.1
    • Removed CssLint from build definition
    • Added Web Essentials to Visual Studio environment

    Visual Studio

    Search & Install the NuGet packages:"Roslyn Security Guard" - "StyleCop.Analysers" - "tslint" -

    For Visual Studio development on web applications, download Web Essentials, it will provide intellisense for JS, CSS, HTML, Less, Scss, and CoffeeScript. (

    VS InstallNuGetPackages
    Figure: Steps to install NuGet Packages

    Here is a quick guide to the steps to install NuGet Packages to the entire solution:

    1. Right click solution
    2. Select "Manage NuGet packages for solution"
    3. Select "Browse"
    4. Search <package name>
    5. Select <package name>
    6. Check all projects
    7. Click "Install"

    Issues from these will now be returned in the Visual Studio analyser error list.

    VS RoslynRules
    Figure: New Roslyn Rule issues raised in Visual Studio Analyser

    Run Code Analysis on the project. Check over all of the warnings, if they are unnecessary or inappropriate, disable them, otherwise modify their severity level to "Error".

    When the build is run, "Errors" will break the build, while "Warnings" will be reported, but not break the build.Rules which have been flagged should also be checked once the build is completed

    Modify Visual Studio Analysis

    The goal is to develop a shared ruleset across projects. (Currently this is just the default settings)Any project specific rules should be documented in "_Instructions-CodeHealth.docx" kept in the solution.Please also copy the current version number of this rule into the "_Instructions-CodeHealth.docx" in order to track what version your existing solution adheres to.

    VS ModifyRules
    Figure: Steps to open Visual Studio Analyser rules customization page

    Right Click project | Properties | Code Analysis | Open

    VS ModifyRules2
    Figure: How to customize rules. By either enabling / disabling rules or packages. Or by modifying the rule severity level

    Visual Studio Code

    For web projects, we advocate the use of CSSLint for css files and TSLint for typescript files. (Why you should be using TypeScript instead of JavaScript)

    Linters for these can be easily added to VS Code via extensions.Simply select the "Extensions" tab, search for "CSSLint" and "TSLint" and click "Install" on each respectively.

    VSCode Extensions
    Figure: Addition of CssLint and TSLint to VS Code Project

    If you prefer not to use the Extensions (which are currently a bit out of date). You can install them using npm as normal.

    CssLint TSLint

    Automatically Check your Build in

    Ensure utilisation of TeamBuild2015 or higher. (No support for XAML builds)

    Edit the build definition

    VSO-EditBuild.png Figure: Steps to edit an existing build definition on

    Select "Build & Release" > Select "Builds" > Click on your existing build > Click "Edit"

    VSO BuildDefinition V3
    Figure: Example completed build definition

    VSO DirectoryExampleV2
    Figure: Example directory for TSLint run commands

    Under advanced for the Command Line tasks, the Working Directory can be specified if necessary.


    Npm - Install tslint and typescript Name: npm install tslint Working Folder: <Top Directory> Npm Command: install Arguments: -g tslint typescript

    Command Line - Check the version (Useful to determine rule discrepancies across builds) Name : Check tslint version Tool: tslint Arguments: -v

    Command Line - Builds a default configuration file for the build (Without it issues can differ between build and development environment Name: Create tslint config file Tool: tslint Arguments: --init

    Command Line - Run tslint, force is required to stop the build from crashing (TSLint will return and exit code of 1 regardless of if issues exist) Name: Run tslint Tool: TSLint Arguments: --force <Solution Directory>/**/*.ts{,x}

    If your build is being hosted, then the config file must be reloaded every time. If your build is running on premises, the config file will attempt to load over the existing one and break the build.

    If this is the case, just add a step to delete your config file after the scan is complete.

    VSO RemoveConfig
    Figure: Command line step to remove the config file (tslint.json) after the linter has run

    Command Line - Remove the tslint config file, as it will break future scan if the build is on premises if a config file already exists and an attempt to add another one is made. Name: Remove tslint config Tool: del Arguments: tslint.json

    Once complete, save the build definition and run the build.

    Then check the build is successful.

    If the build fails (due to errors), these should be corrected in the development environment.

    If warnings exist, the rule should be disabled or set as an error. (If it is worth fixing, then it should be required for everyone)

    If your project does not contain TypeScript files, then you do not need to include the TSLint build tasks.

    VSO EnsureTSLintRuns
    Figure: Ensure TSLint actually finds files to scan (if the project includes TSLint files) otherwise it will pass without you noticing

    For the purposes of reporting, a unique tag must be added to the build definition which the Code Health steps have been applied to.

    This is done with the addition of a variable (Name = PrimaryBuild, Value = true)

    VSO AddVariableTag
    Figure: Steps to add PrimaryBuild variable to build definition

    VSO BuildResult BadV3
    Figure: Bad Example - Build broke due to compile errors. Must fix to proceed

    VSO BuildResultV3
    Figure: Bad Example - Successful build with warnings. Should be disabled or set as errors

    VSO BuildResult GoodV3
    Figure: Good Example - Successful build with no warnings

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