Regex Searches: Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!

A session at Boise Code Camp 2014

Session Level: 100

Developers are busy people, running from sprint to sprint, with little time for self-reflection. They don't notice how often they mutter "..how'd he implement that.." or "..where's that method that does X?" They don't notice that the search tool they use to answer these questions is from the 1960s. They don't even seem to notice that 90% of these type of searches fail! Fortunately, a developer turned researcher did notice, and has dedicated the better part of the last decade to eliminating this quiet productivity-killer.

In this talk, I'll use both video examples and a massive repository of real developer activity data to prove that the typically-used regex searches waste a significant part of your day. Yet this talk won't dwell on the past; it focuses squarely on a better search future. I'll provide a tour of Visual Studio's many built in searches, demonstrate two search tools available as extensions, and provide guidelines for better searching. By attending this talk you will become a more effective searcher, a skill that is surprisingly fundamental to software development, and I estimate you can eliminate 10-30% waste from an average sprint.

About the speaker

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David Shepherd

Software engineering researcher with a practical bent - http://bit.ly/SandoSearch + http://bit.ly/SrcMLNet bio from Twitter

David Shepherd is a software tools researcher, turned professional tools developer, turned software tools researcher and open source contributor. Inspired by Andi Marcus's research on "Google-ing source code" he's recently spent his time developing Sando, a free open source search extension for Visual Studio with over 5000 downloads. You'll also find him evangelizing the merits of better code search tools at conferences like devLink. He lives and works in the RTP area where he leads ABB's Software Engineering Research Group.

1 attendee

  • davidcshepherd

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Date Sat 5th April 2014

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