Friday, September 19, 2008

How Stack Overflow is helping me

Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror has recently moved Stack Overflow to public beta. According to my user profile, as of today I've been using it for 35 days and I've found it amazingly useful.

When you're coding there is often a question that has an easy answer but you don't know the answer off the top of your head and your initial searches on Google don't reveal it. I have found that a well worded question on Stack Overflow will usually yield an answer within a few minutes. More complex and difficult questions sometimes take longer.

This is the equivalent of turning around to your 2 or 3 colleagues who are sitting near to you and saying "hey, how do you create a C# continue statement in Ruby?" except you're saying it to 1,000 compatriots on Stack Overflow.

I'm very impressed.


  1. When asking your question be precise.
  2. Ask a question that has a definite answer that will help you move on to the next problem when answered.
  3. Give (as brief as possible) some background to your problem if relevant. Your language (don't assume that everyone codes in C#), OS, platform.
  4. Return to the question and mark one as correct - if appropriate and also vote up any other answers that were useful.
  5. Thank the people that answered your questions.

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