At this weeks Wellington .NET user group, James asked me how I find stuff - when I need to find out how to get something done, how do I find the information I need. Here’s what I told him.
There are a number of simple tricks that often bring back useful results.
C#as a search term to constrain the results to those that mention the language I’m using
MSDNmeans that results from MSDN tend to come to the top of the pile. Interesting that this is often faster than searching MSDN directly.
site:blogs.msdn.comto search Microsoft Blogs directly is also useful.
Dan Appleman believes that one of the major impediments we face today, as developers, is one of discoverability - how do we find out what we need to know. His response to this problem is searchdotnet a search engine for just .NET material. SearchDotNet is a Custom Google Search, so you get all that pagerank goodness, but with a dedicated .NET flavour.
I read a lot of blogs to stay up to date with what is happening in the field - a useful side effect of this is that I’m often aware of others who are already working in an area when I have a problem. This gives me additional search terms to use that are often useful - for example, when searching for a solution to an NHibernate problem, adding “ayende” to the search often brings the useful results to the top.