Where do you research?

Eileen Rumwell (who needs to turn comments on at her blog) recently asked the question, "Where do you get your .NET information?"  Its an interesting question; one that applies across just about every profession but is of significant importance for developers.  Information changes so quickly that relying on printed material is a liability.  So where do good developers go to find the answers to their questions?  For me, there's three primary places.  Blogs, books and Google.

I consider regularly reading programming blogs to be a class I attend daily.  This "class" primarily consists of reading posts from about 50 different feeds that are relevant to my interests.  blogs.msdn, CodingHorror and DotNetKicks are among these.  Although not a primary resource, I do consider books to be still important in keeping abreast of things in the programming world.  Often I use books as a less frequently used resource for research.  Often this consists solely of reading books related to work.  For example, the last book I read was the Mythical Man-Month; I'll be reading a book on implementing Agile with VSTS next.  My third source of information is primarily for quick searches.  Often this consists of taking five minutes to search for information on a specific, well defined topic, related to a task I'm currently programming or a subject I'm posting about.  These searches take place in three places:  VS help, Google web search and Google groups search.  Which I do in what order depends on the task and where I am.  In VS, the help gets my first attention.  When that fails (as it often does), I go to google groups.  Almost always someone has had the same question that I have and has posted it on Usenet.  Google Groups is the best place to search Usenet to get clues as to possible answers, if not the answer itself.  Once I have a better understanding of the problem and its possible solutions, I can refine this knowledge by continuing to search the web.  There's a higher percentage of crap in a web search, but I often can refine it by specifying a site (i.e., site:msdn.microsoft.com) or -negating -specific -words -that -indicate -useless -websites. 

Anyhow, that's a quick overview of what I do.  I'm always open to finding more useful sources of information.  Post yours here!

Programming Post by: McGurk at 01:50 PM | 3  Replies | Reply
Kick this post:

Aaah, the joys of blarg ging.  I feel so alone, gonna go eat worms.

1 Posted by McGurk on June 15, 2007 06:22 PM (Ri74D)

For my MS SQL needs, Books Online answers basically everything I ever want to know.  In fact, I would consider Books Online to be one of the best written help documents maybe ever.

2 Posted by Hagrin on June 16, 2007 03:59 AM (GtY4z)

I love SearchDotNet its a google custom search by Dan Appleman.

3 Posted by Aaron on June 19, 2007 07:19 PM (ImcHD)

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