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Show HN: Devbook – Search Engine for Developers (usedevbook.com)
168 points by mlejva 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 52 comments

Hello, I'm one of the creators of Devbook. My co-founder and I are both developers and we created Devbook to solve our own problem. We realized we spend more and more time searching for information on Google or retrieving data/information from 3rd party tools. It feels like we spend more time outside our IDE than in it. We think there should be a better way and it should be made specifically for developers to make them more productive and not less. That's why we started building Devbook - a search engine for developers.

We are starting with a very simple version 1.0 where we let you search StackOverflow and public code on GitHub. Devbook is a desktop app that works similarly to Spotlight on macOS. You hit a shortcut, a window appears and you can start typing. We built the first version with developers' productivity in mind. You can control the whole app without touching the mouse. Our goal with the first version was to minimize context switching you as a developer need to do when looking for basic information on the internet.

In the near future, we plan to add more integrations in which you can search and more features focused on improving customizability and general user experience.

The app is free right now. In the future, we will introduce a subscription plan. But we would like to always offer a free plan. Also, to fully use the app, you don't need to sign up.

Currently, we support only macOS. Happy to answer any question.

This is neat! Did not have much luck searching for that on neither SO or Github "python unique list values ordered". The first answer on Google is what I would expect: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/44628186/convert-python-...

Given it is bound to a general shortcut ala Alfred (or Spotlight), would it make sense to integrate with the former for people who use it?

  curl cheat.sh/python+unique+list+values+ordered
returns the most-upvoted answer on that SO question.

With the Free vim plugin¹, typing the question into your code buffer followed by `<leader>KK` should bring the answer up in a pager, `<leader>KP`/`<leader>KR` should paste it after/over (replacing) the question, and `<leader>KC` should toggle the explanatory comments. Seems like a greater ‘minimiz[ation of] context switching’ to me.

¹Emacs, Sublime, VSCode, IDEA, and QtCreator plugins with varying feature sets also available. No affiliation. https://github.com/chubin/cheat.sh#editors-integration

> curl cheat.sh/python+unique+list+values+ordered

Wow, my mind is blown! I've been using cheat.sh for a little while now, but really only as a glorified man page interface...my mind is blown in a bunch of other ways that it can be used...Only now looking through what else is possible. I guess i should have actually read the manual on cheat.sh! Thanks for sharing! TIL

We actually use Google's Search API under the hood. It might be possible that Google is giving you different results in a browser based on your search history.

Can't really speak on integrations with Alfred and similar app right now. The idea is to build a separate app just for developers when they are searching for information.

> It might be possible that Google is giving you different results in a browser based on your search history.

This is actually from an Incognito window (same result in Firefox): https://imgur.com/tWCWQW1

> The idea is to build a separate app just for developers when they are searching for information.

Right makes sense but if I could have everything integrated with the launcher I use, it would extremely helpful, atm your default shortcut is the default shortcut of Alfred for example.

And for completion, here is Alfred performing the same search: https://imgur.com/iIkGdO1

Ah yes, you're right. I forgot we sort questions based on their upvotes.

The follow up question I hope someone can answer is how does google sort them?

This is a bit of a cop out answer, but Google probably sorts them based on something derived from PageRank: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

In other words: according to some approximation of the authority of the page, given the graph of links to that page, and their estimated authority in the domain of the searched keywords -- it's possible (and likely, I think?) they aren't using stack overflow's vote counts in their sort at all.

> We actually use Google's Search API under the hood. It might be possible that Google is giving you different results in a browser based on your search history.

Cool project!

Just a heads up, the Google search API provides different results than the normal Google web search. [0] It uses a different index that isn't as big, and handles term matching a little differently. There will be a personalization element for different results, but there are a lot of results that Google just won't be return through the search API.

I also work a lot with the google API for Runnaroo [1] (and the Github and Stack Overflow APIs).

[0] https://support.google.com/programmable-search/answer/70392?...

[1] https://www.runnaroo.com/search?term=python+unique+list+valu...

Does it support dedup in GitHub search? I spend way too much time going through duplicate searches.

I like the idea of in-IDE search to avoid context switch. However, I can only see the top-voted answer and can't even see what the question was. So I had to click on the link and open the browser anyways. Is it possible to add more context to completely avoid opening the browser? If so that would be a deal breaker for me compared to the VSCode/IntelliJ stackoverflow plugins (https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=Alexey-S..., https://plugins.jetbrains.com/plugin/9513-stackoverflow)

Also, can search on Github work without connecting accounts? By default Github allows you to search without logging in. So I was confused when I was asked to connect my Github account.

> See more of a question When you have selected a SO question, you can press enter or click on its title to display the full question with all the answers. Then you can press ESC to go back. Given you feedback, we didn't make that obvious enough.

> Context Yes. We want to release a VSCode (and other IDEs+editors will follow) extension that will understand your current working context. The goal is to eliminate browser as much as possible. This way, for example, we would be able to extract errors from your terminal and offer you answers even before you start searching.

> Unauthenticated search Unfortunately, GitHub let you do only 10 searches per minute as an unauthenticated user. We seemed to go over that limit fairly often from our internal testing. Once you authenticate yourself you get limit of 30 searches/minute. Eventually, we want to build our own index and use our API.

Thank you for trying out the app!

Gotcha! That's really useful. But yeah, the default looks of the underlined title (plus the trailing "open in browser" icon) make it really look like clicking would open the browser so I didn't bother clicking on it. It'd be nice if that's more clear.

> extract errors from your terminal That sounds useful but challenging. Looking forward to seeing that ITF.

> github search Y understood now.

Nice work!

What on earth? A Mac only application, that searches websites anyway? Why is it not a web based search engine?

Why not? The UX of a native App can be 10x better, when I’m programming I’m 100% of my time on a Mac. Why I should use a lesser medium like a web browser? Kudos to the developer

Okay good for you, meanwhile the other 90% of the developer world using Windows and Linux are excluded because they can’t use this application to search websites...

It seems to have multiple issues.

StackOverflow and GitHub could be formatted with great effort, and stuff like language docs. But not blog posts which differ highly in formatting and need to display images, at that point, you're just outputting the webpage in an IDE. You'd also need a way to index/retrieve those blog posts.

But, you also want actual browser features, as tabs are useful for further reading or comparing various things, or something to look at later.

Just using multiple screen displays is good enough.

oil shouldn't smell right?

I used to use Dash [0] all of the time when I was traveling a lot because I loved having all of the relevant docs and stack overflow questions available offline. How does your offering compare to theirs?

0: https://kapeli.com/dash

We don't let you search in docs right now. That will come later on. What we offer right now is search on StackOverflow and public GitHub code.

Later on, we want to add many other integrations and offer a single input to let you search in all of them. We want to let you search in your infrastructure and actions you can do with them (we built Sidekick for this - https://getsidekick.app), docs, your local code, your team wikis, other 3rd party dev tools like Sentry, etc.

Also, we want to add "context". With this feature Devbook will understand what you're currently working on in your code editor/IDE and will offer you suggestions based on that. For example, you might get errors in terminal, Devbook will parse them and automatically search for answers. This way you will have answers for you problem without even having to search for anything.

I think Dash has a lot going for it despite not being cross-platform. I switch between nvim, xcode and pycharm throughout the day and like being able to look up a term without internet from any editor with a shortcut.

Dash is pretty essential to my development workflow. I’ve found using Dash through the Alfred integration combined with multiple monitors to be very productive.

While Dash isn't cross platform, there is Zeal https://zealdocs.org/ which works on Windows, Linux and macOS. It's very similar.

I'm already using https://devdocs.io that aggregates a lot of docs pretty neatly, but would love to try your project when it arrives on Linux.

Does it work without the internet? As of right now I'm using Dash to search the docs of every language I use and stack overflow while I'm offline for maximum focus.

This sounds brilliant! Unfortunately "Dash" is not super search-friendly; do you have a link I can check out?

I’m assuming https://kapeli.com/dash

Not currently. It wouldn't make sense. We use Google search API and GitHub API to give you results.

Looks good ! Well done on launching it.

Side Note Tip (VSCode): I was amazed the other day,that I can "search inside" the VSCode terminal window with "grep -rn mystr *" and then Ctrl+Click on the file results and VSCode will open it on the line numbers !

That's pretty useful tip, I had no idea either! I'll try it out next time when searching in VSCode.

it's a separate app? why not an IDE plugin? if i am going to switch apps away from my IDE then i am going to use a browser

This is awesome. Will definitely give this a try. I've been thinking of making something like this, but for research of technical topics. Google results a lot of the times are SEO'd to shit and it's difficult to get any good answers anymore. So lately I've been searching HN, Reddit and Twitter more as it's much easier to get good information. Using Google's search as you all are but giving a better ui and ux is a fantastic idea.

Thank you. Let me know if you run into any problems or have any question.

Agree on the SEO point and generally results from Google. It has happened to me many times that I wasn't able to find the link I needed just because Google decided I don't needed based on my previous behavior + other variables.

I was just thinking today, mostly because of Mojeek, that to beat Google, you need to be better in at least one area. Once people use your search engine on a daily basis, you can add more areas where you can deliver better results. Just keep chipping away. It’s impossible to beat Google as a general search engine from the get go, but if you can become a tool people rely on, it’s possible to become really big.

The fact that google/bing/ddg and the others cant tell the differens between C, C++ and C# makes the market ripe for improvement.

I downloaded it, installed it, searched for "SwiftUI button". The correct answer was the 3rd result. The first two results weren't even relevant at all.

I love the concept but this is going to need to be a lot more accurate on basic searches for me to trust it with anything more robust.

I guess the question is how fast did you arrive at the correct answer compared to switching to a web browser, googling the question, and sifting through those results before getting a "hit" (or whatever your default process would be).

Somehow syncing Github was not part of the onboarding process? You might want to add it to make it easier to get started.

I guess I'm too used to StackOverflow's UI - will be hard to switch!

But funny that a Pioneer company is building a dev version of the startup that got Daniel Gross into YC :)

The name made me think it must be a custom-made Linux laptop with 4 screens, 10 ports (for each USB version), SD card reader, a 69 TB SSD, 420 gigs of RAM, floppy disk drive and all the other things that True Professional Developers care about for $9.99

This is neat. I love the master search for developers fetching content across the reference tools. Looking forward to using this.

Amazing app! Is there a way to change the global keyboard shortcut after it's been set in v0.0.1?

Not yet. Will come in tomorrow’s update!

Don't have a mac, but looking forward to testing it on linux!

Does stackoverflow offer an offline copy for individual languages?

This is cool! Simple and solves a real problem. Good job!

Is it opensource?

Stories in VSCode, Tinder in VSCode, and now StackOverflow in VSCode.. what's next, in-app payments in VSCode?

Why the downvotes sir, arent we all up for gig economy in VSCode?.. :(

Tried it, liked it. Good job!

Mac only. Oh well...

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