Thursday, October 05, 2006


Google Code Search and Eiffel

Google has launched Google Code Search, a source code search engine. And what a search engine it is, even though it's still in beta!

Searching for symbols is no problem, and there's full regular expression search. Wow, that must be computationally expensive.

You can search by license - although the Eiffel Forum License is not recognised - perhaps that's another reason why the Eiffel community should standardise on something like the MIT license.

You can restrict your search by language - just add lang:eiffel to your search.

Putting it all together, we could search for Gobo classes that contain old-style creation instructions: Gobo "!!" lang:eiffel. Naturally this search will also include other uses of "!!" within Eiffel code, yet the data we want is there too.

I don't think it will be long before Google Code Search becomes almost indispensible. All we need now is some accepted protocol for the use of indexing clause tags and we will finally be able to realise the potential of indexing clauses!

Wow, it gets better! There's a straightforward API ("RESTful" is the buzzword) using an HTTP "GET" that returns a page of XML, so Google Code Search can easily be incorporated into an IDE.
I was about to fix all these old-style creation instructions in Gobo and then realized that they have all been fixed for a long time.

So, isn't the fact that we get old (or very old) versions of the code an issue if we want to use this mechanism as a way to take advantage of the indexing clauses?
Eric, I guess one can always use Google's "site" operator to restrict the search to the primary development site, which would normally be up-to-date.
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