As a tech enthusiast and programmer, I love trying new platforms that attempt to reinvent the way we interact with computers, the internet, and each other. One of the most outdated yet crucial tools we use every day — the search engine — is due to disruption.
Many companies recognize this and have tried to redesign and reinvent the search process. To stay at the forefront of this search engine revolution and take control over my search results, I experimented with several smaller search engines (most still in beta). One of the most innovative and curated alternative search engines is You.com.
In my opinion, their recent release of YouCode has the potential to reshape how programmers use the internet, expedite problem-solving, and enhance software design. Today I will be reviewing this novel search engine and discussing how I use it to improve my coding.
Modern search engine designs are no longer enough
How do you get better at coding? You practice and try to solve problems faster.
How do you solve coding problems faster? You search for and learn from code snippets and answers on Google.
It’s not hard to see how critical the search engine is for programmers, yet very few of us consider the platform we use and its efficiency in providing the answers we need.
DKB pointed out some of Google’s shortcomings in their article “Google search is dying.” A flood of advertisements and SEO’d nonsense are getting between users and the results they need. People are starting to realize this, yet Google still accounts for 94% of all internet searches.
According to a study done on 150,000 google queries, “code-related searching often requires more effort (e.g., time, result clicks, and query modifications) than general non-code search, which indicates code search performance with a general search engine Google is less effective.”
Paul Graham knew that, way back in 2012 and suggested that someone should “build the search engine all the hackers use.”
Here’s an excerpt from Graham’s 2012 essay:
"The way to win here is to build the search engine all the hackers use. A search engine whose users consisted of the top 10,000 hackers and no one else would be in a very powerful position despite its small size, just as Google was when it was that search engine. And for the first time in over a decade the idea of switching seems thinkable to me."
"Since anyone capable of starting this company is one of those 10,000 hackers, the route is at least straightforward: make the search engine you yourself want. Feel free to make it excessively hackerish. Make it really good for code search, for example. Would you like search queries to be Turing complete? Anything that gets you those 10,000 users is ipso facto good."
YouCode is the first programmer-curated search engine to squash coder’s pain-points
YouCode gets to the heart of what I want from my searches: relevant code snippets, good documentation, and simple tutorials. Its suite of features — or as it's technically called, “apps” — improve search efficiency by removing the pain points that bog down modern searches. What’s more, it’s private, ad-free, and customizable.
Today, I will overview YouCode by sharing new features I use daily via GIF tutorials. I encourage you to try out YouCode for yourself and comment your thoughts on the novel SERP.
Filters for popular coding sites make searches more efficient
StackOverflow comes with built in previews and copy functionality
AI Code Assistant is a novel approach to search engines
GitHub repos are featured in previews for easy access
Tutorials and documentation previewing speed up searches
JSON Validator helps visualize and confirm JSON files
Color Picker allows for easy hexadecimal, RGB, and HSV codes
Bangs make site filtering even faster
For this, you preface searches with '!' (or bang) to view other websites’ search results. I use this especially for StackOverflow (!so) and for API documentation.
YouCode separates You.com from traditional search engines and highlights the innovative nature of the platform. While the platform has its quirks, the direction You.com is taking on SERPs is nothing short of exciting.