Automated Code Cleanup In Visual Studio

The past few days I’ve been setting up a SonarQube server to do some static analysis of code. For the most part, I was looking for SonarQube to tell us if we had some serious vulnerabilities lurking anywhere deep in our codebases, especially some of the legacy code that was written 10+ years ago. While this sort of static analysis is pretty limited, it can pick up things like SQL Injection, XSS, and various poor security configuration choices that developers sometimes make in the heat of the moment.

And how did we do? Well.. Actually pretty good! We don’t write raw SQL queries, instead preferring to use EntityFramework Linq2SQL, which for the most part protects us from SQL injection. And most of our authentication/authorization mechanisms are out of the box .NET/.NET Core components, so if we have issues there… Then the entire .NET ecosystem has bigger problems.

What we did find though was millions of non-critical warnings such as this :

Unused "using" should be removed

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m probably more lenient than most when it comes to warnings such as this. It doesn’t make any difference to the code, and you rarely notice it anyway. Although I have worked with other developers who *always* pull things like this up in code reviews, so each to their own!

My problem was, SonarQube is right, I probably should remove these. But I really didn’t want to manually go and open each file and remove the unused using statements. I started searching around and low and behold, Visual Studio has a feature inbuilt to do exactly this!

If you right click a solution or project in Visual Studio, you should see an option to “Analyze and Code Cleanup” like so :

I recommend first selecting “Configure Code Cleanup” from this sub menu so that we can configure exactly what we want to clean up :

As you can see from the above screenshot, for me I turned off everything except removing unnecessary usings and sorting them. You can of course go through the other available fixers and add them to your clean up Profile before hitting OK.

Right clicking your Solution/Project, and selecting “Analyze and Code Cleanup” then “Run Code Analysis” will instantly run these fixers over your entire project or solution. Instantly letting you pass this pesky rule, and cleaning up your code at the same time!

Now I know, this isn’t exactly a big deal removing unused usings. I think for me, it was more the fact I didn’t even know this tool existed right there in vanilla Visual Studio.

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