Friday, May 18, 2007

Anything besides Google?

I've been thinking a lot about search lately. Specifically, what are the most popular, creative and unknown, but perhaps extremely effective ways for developers to find information? And with Google's recent updates, I figured its time to blog about it.

More than anything I'm really curious how developers are find finding answers to their technical how to types of questions. Quickly finding answers problems is key to being a productive developer, and hitting project milestones. Clearly the folks at Searchcoders have realized this, and they've done a great job aggregating resources for Flex developers and making it easy for people to find answers. If you haven't seen their demo, or downloaded the Apollo based desktop version of their work, its really worth checking out.

So how do you find answers to your questions when developing stuff with Adobe technology? Do you Google it, and that's it? (And is there anyone that doesn't use Google as their default search engine? If so, what are you using?) Or perhaps you use Google's advanced search capabilities to search, like inside a specific domain.

But what if Google doesn't find your answer? Then what do you?

Do you come to and search for an answer? And when on where do you look? Do you browse through the Developer Center? And check out things like the Flex cookbook? Visit the forums? Check out livedocs (that's a link to the Flash CS3 livedocs)? Use search? Search for knowledgebase articles in the Support Center?

Do you check out sites that index code and APIs for you like and Krugle?

Or perhaps you just look to your specific community for the answer, and post your question for others to help you out?

I'd love to hear from people in the Adobe community on this. So please comment away in my blog and let me know how you find answers.


Mrinal said...

I always start off with and then try the other resources

Tom Bray said...

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the great write-up. I'd like to add that our SearchCoders/Dashboard is in constant development and we're going to be adding more features to address the issues you raise here. For example, doing a search in our upcoming version will display results from mailing lists, blogs, chat archives, and documentation. We'll also provide cross-referencing throughout the application so that you can easily jump to the documentation for terms you encounter in messages and posts.

If anyone has suggestions, please let us know.



Jonathan Wall said...

Thanks Tom. Keep it coming!

dorkiedorkfromdorktown said...

the first place i look if i don't know how to do something is the help documentation. if i don't find the answer there and i think someone blogged on it i'll search google. if i don't find it or its pretty specific i'll ask in the flex irc channel or ask in flexcoders. flexcoders has possibly the best response and authoritay.
if its an error i'll check my error search page. it looks up adobe site, my blog (i document error messages every other day) and the error wiki and lists the results in a grid. it can also search google if it does not find anything.

Haacked said...

I tend to use Google even before the help docs. Finding an instructive blog post is extremely helpful.

For nitty gritty code searches, I'll use (full disclosure: I now work for them).

Despite my biased opinion, I really do like their (whoops! 'our') code browser.

One think we've done very well is to help developer networks index their code and get it out to the community. What we did for EMC with their code search is a great example.

Might be a great way for Adobe to reach their dev community (we do index ActionScript!).

Samir said...
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