I try to "dogfood" dev.to as much as possible. That means if I want the answer to a programming question I use our search engine instead of Google. This is kind of silly, as Google has the infinite universe of search, and our search is a pretty basic hacked-together search feature that only includes posts from this one website which is itself pretty new.
But it's actually getting pretty good. When I feel unsure about a topic, a lot of the times I can find a really nice personal take on how to explain it and it's pretty reliable. It doesn't need to be better than Google, because that search giant will always be there when we need it, but it should be different in good ways.
Let's take a look at the git rebase query
How about serverless?
Let's try blockchain
The other day, I wanted to look up some of Lorenzo Pasqualis's posts, so I searched his first name.
Let's compare the lorenzo query
The next nice feature, currently not available in the mobile UI, is some simple filtering which is helpful depending on what you're looking for. For example, back to the serverless example. If we're trying to get deep into this subject, we may want to burn through some Podcasts to soak up as much as we can. (At 2x speed for me 😋)
It's not that hard to code up a thing that does a thing. It's very hard to make that thing actually useful. In order to make the dev.to search useful, it took a lot of effort in growing the community, understanding where Google's search occasionally falls short, and having a humbleness to stay in our lane at the same time.
When you see a post from this community, you get some quality signals, some uniformity in terms of comments, and also the ability to ask a follow up question in the comments with a decent chance of getting a reply. It's a lot more than just search.
In a year's time the dev.to search will be much more useful than it is now, but I'm proud to say it's actually pretty useful.