Improve your art of Googling
Improve your art of Googling
As a developer, you often come across a problem that is outside your knowledge, and that's fine. As a developer, simple things like how to center a div or shuffle an array sometimes slip our minds, and that's fine.
The answer to both issues is Google.
Does Googling equal cheating?
Let's address the elephant in the room first. Googling is not cheating, it's your little buddy that will help you out when you need it. It's like saying that reading the manual that you find in your IKEA package is cheating. Nonsense, it exists to help you out!
Now that we got that out of the way, let's improve your art of Googling.
Look up an error
If you got an error message, you are lucky! A lot of error messages tell you directly how to fix your problem. Even though that's the case, some error messages can have different reasons for their appearance, so they can't tell you exactly where your issue lies. That's where Google comes into play. You are probably not the first person to encounter that error and by inputting it into Google, you will find many articles or forums that will help you out.
Adjust your search query
Errors often contain details that are tied to your system. I'm talking about specific file paths, code lines, etc. So, removing this irrelevant information should help you widen your search scope and get more helpful results.
Use operators and keywords
Google search bar is more advanced than you think, and I'm not even talking about the things happening in the backend, such as graphs and hash tables that connect the pages, search terms, etc. No, I'm talking about Google search bar's syntax that supports operators and keywords. Not many people know that, but these can greatly help you in your search.
Here are the most important operators and keywords that you should know about:
Search exact match
Use double quotation marks "[phrase]" around a phrase to look up that exact phrase.
Search by excluding a specific word
Use -[term] in front of a word to remove that specific word from your search. Some words have different meanings, and it's a great operator to remove search results with that other meaning.
Search specific site’s content
Use site:[url] in front of a URL to look for terms from a specific website. It's very useful for looking at certain articles or useful information that is otherwise hard to find on that website.
Search in a specific date range
Use daterange:[date1]-[date2] to find information in a specific date range using the Julian date format. It's especially helpful for developers because many articles and documentation deprecate once a library or framework receives an update.
There are many more operators, but these are the ones that I found to use the most in my daily searches.
While writing this article, ChatGPT exploded in popularity. Many people started picking it over Google or other search engines to look something up. It currently struggles with downtimes, but even without them, it often produces unreliable information. Stack Overflow even banned ChatGPT's answers from its website because many code snippets from ChatGPT are just wrong.
So, I believe Google isn't going anywhere, and I hope I could give you a better understanding of how you can make the most out of your Google search.