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Programming is 10% writing code and 90% looking up how to do that.
We all know the scenes in Hollywood movies where a nerdy hacker sits in his poorly lit room, types seemingly random keys on his keyboard and a few seconds later the pentagon is hacked! In reality, coding looks very different. Countless times I had to look up simple stuff like “How to format a Java LocalDate” or “Rename git commit after push”.
I hope this blog post will introduce a few sites you didn’t know yet, to reduce your research time in future.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room:
Stack Overflow is a question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers. It serves 120 million people every month, making it one of the 50 most popular websites in the world.
I’m pretty sure there’s a large number of developers spending more time on Stack Overflow than in their IDE.
Next to Stack Overflow, there are 172 more Q&A communities in the Stackexchange network. For example:
for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields
for electronics and electrical engineering topics
for coding challenges
- …and many more!
Working with regular expressions is hard and even if you exactly know what you’re doing, you might want to test your regex to verify that it is correct. Regex101 not only provides a regex tester but also a big library of community-created expressions for almost every use-case.
Explainshell is a fairly unknown page that does exactly what it says. You can paste any Unix CLI command and the page explains in detail what every part of the command does. It helped me quite a lot in the past to get better at shell scripting.
Need some mock data to test your code? Mockaroo provides a simple way to generate a lot of realistic-looking Test-Data. You can choose between more than 140 different types of fake data. From email and IP-addresses to movie titles and many more. It provides also an API to get the test data directly from your code.
The image above is not an error ;). It’s a placeholder image generated by placeholder.com! This page lets you create placeholder images in any resolutions and colours you like. Just open https://via.placeholder.com/900×512.png?text=placeholder.com and adjust the dimensions and text in the URL accordingly.
httpbin.org is a simple website that provides REST-Endpoints for testing. For example:
- https://httpbin.org/delay/x -> Waits for x seconds before responding
- https://httpbin.org/status/x -> Returns a response with HTTP status code x
- https://httpbin.org/ip -> Returns the public IP of the caller
- …and many more! There are lots of other useful endpoints!
Last but not least xkcd. “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”. While not necessarily a programming resource, bookmarking this page is almost required for every decent developer.