At Mapador we always get asked the question “what is the difference between code scanning and code parsing” quiet often.
Code scanning is primarily a database that contains instances of code verbs and variables along with their physical location – such as filenames and folders- . code scanning is a very useful tool to understand how many instances of a certain variable exist in the application code.
Code parsing on the other hand is the capturing of the implied hierarchy of the source components and transforming it into an Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) that is suitable for further processing. The AST is serialized as XML -at Mapador, we use the Mapador Syntax Description Language (MSDL) schema.
Each language is dissected according to its syntax, with results output to a common database, in a common format, enabling to connect various technology environments and follow components through different technologies.
Parsing understands redefine structures, parent-child and ancillary relationships. As such, impacts of field changes can be truly followed through.
One common use of code parsing the need for mass application change, such as expanding a field, while it can be easy to do within the context of a single technology/language, Parsing can lend a hand when an application crosses multiple technology domains. for more info, read Mapador’s Mass Change solution