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Great code search, bad code search

Quinn Slack

This is inspired by the classic essay Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager.

Great code search is so fast and relevant that you use it constantly while coding. It’s one of your top keybindings. Bad code search is slow and stale, and you only find it useful a few times per week. If you haven’t used great code search, you wonder why people even use it at all. Maybe you've heard whisperings from friends at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft about their great internal code search tools.

Bad code search isn’t scoped to the code you care about. It doesn't let you search work-in-progress code on branches. It doesn't let you explore code by jumping to definition and finding references, like you can in your editor. And it doesn't even let you search for exact matches with punctuation or by regular expression!

Great code search understands your code and integrates well with your editor and code host. It lets you quickly search across the code you’re working on, at any commit or branch, across multiple repositories. It lets you search for exact matches and by regular expression. And then it lets you explore code efficiently and jump back to your editor, code review, or code host when you’re done.

Great code search helps you find usage examples, debug issues, understand code, assess the impact of changes, and see who to ask. It helps you write better code—and it lets your entire organization build better software more quickly.

At Sourcegraph, we’ve taken these lessons to heart. Sourcegraph gives you great code search for your organization’s code. Whether you've already seen great code search for yourself, or whether this post just speaks to you, you can install Sourcegraph for free and start using it today.

About the author

Quinn Slack is the CEO and co-founder of Sourcegraph, the code intelligence platform for dev teams and making coding more accessible to more people. Prior to Sourcegraph, Quinn co-founded Blend Labs, an enterprise technology company dedicated to improving home lending and was an egineer at Palantir, where he created a technology platform to help two of the top five U.S. banks recover from the housing crisis. Quinn has a BS in Computer Science from Stanford, you can chat with him on Twitter @sqs.

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