Analyze Solution For Code Clones Missing In Visual Studio 2017

I was watching a video on Microsoft’s Channel 9 website regarding design patterns and during the video the presenter showed a feature of Visual Studio that analysed the currently loaded solution for “code clones” – sections of code that appear to be clones or duplicates in different methods.

This seemed like a very useful feature and something that I thought I could benefit from on a number of codebases that I’m currently working with.  So off I went to explore this handy feature for myself.

First thing to note this that, although this feature has been part of Visual Studio since Visual Studio 2012, it’s only available in the Enterprise SKU of the product (or the Premium or Ultimate versions for VS 2012/2013).

That was ok, as I’m using Visual Studio 2017 Enterprise, however, upon expanding the Analyze menu option, I was greeted with a distinct absence of the Analyze Solution For Code Clones option:

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Hmm..  I was curious why the option was missing so went off doing my best googling to try to find out why.   And it turns out that there’s very little information out there on the internet regarding this feature, and even less information regarding troubleshooting why the option might not be appearing on the Analyze tools menu.

After some amount of aimlessly clicking around on the spurious search results, it suddenly dawned on me.   Perhaps it’s an “optional extra” component that you need to install?   Turns out I was right.

When I’d originally installed Visual Studio 2017, I’d selected one of the pre-configured “Workloads” to install.  In my case it was the “ASP.NET And Web Development” workload as that’s the sort of development work I do.  Turns out that, whilst this workload installs almost everything you might want or need for ASP.NET And Web Development, there’s a few crucial things missing, one of which is the “Architecture And Analysis Tools” component – which in turn includes the “Code Clone” tool:

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In order to get the Code Clone tool installed, you can either select just that tool from the “Individual components” tab of the Visual Studio installer, or you can select the “Architecture and analysis tools” optional component (as seen on the right hand side in the above picture) which will select the Code Clone, Code Map and Live Dependency Validation tools.

Once this is done, restarting Visual Studio will give you the missing “Analyze Solution for Code Clones” menu option:

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Easy when you know how, eh?

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