Github Awesome Autocomplete Review

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Thoughts on Github Awesome Autocomplete

It's not every day a really awesome developer reaches out and contacts you. But that happened today, so I was pretty excited to give feedback about the Github Awesome Autocomplete extension and figured the best way to do so would be to write up a quick post about it.

What is it?

GAA is an extension that acts on github and github.algolia.com that adds a fancy search box onto github.

Source:https://github.com/algolia/github-awesome-autocomplete

So the question is how does Algolia's search box compare to github's built in one? Funny enough, a few weeks ago my co-worker asked me if I knew any good open source projects that he could hack on. I searched github and tried to find something for him

I didn't find much when I did my original search, but what about using the enhanced search offered by the Algolia plugin?

This is much more interesting, I can instantly a community of users who are likely to be contributing to interesting projects, a user's profile which might have some good links, and of course the 3 repositories of Bitcoin, search engines, and something from Medium.

Usefulness?

I'd score this one pretty high if you like to browse github looking for projects to contribute to. Or if you're looking for tutorials this is a good way to search for them. Honestly, type in a language, tutorial and poof!

The other thing I could see this as being useful for, is if you need to search your own repositories often for information. For example, when doing the green up application, I often consulted my api documentation while developing to conform my work to the spec. While eventually my browser just autocompleted, this tool would have saved me the effort of clicking through my profile and repositories tab; so I can see it being a productivity boost to companies that have a lot of internal documentation in markdown on github or who check on issues often.

Overall?

Overall, I really like this extension, enhancing the search on github is pretty cool, and the value something like this has to companie's that use github for their day to day work is pretty obvious. The ability to have the extension search private repositories (after oauth) is also handy for anyone hoping to keep their project secret while improving their productivity.

I'd recommend you check it out and see if you can find any interesting projects on github to contribute to or use in your next project!

Trying to nitpick

I felt that I needed to come up with something bad to say about the extension, but the FAQ hits on any major concerns I can think of from someone using it, anything about public users or repo's not being found to where your private repository information is sent to. Thinking about privacy brings me to thinking about the "right to be forgot", in which perhaps one should be able to request their repositories (even their public ones) not be searchable. Though since Algolia pulls the information from the github archives that burden falls more on github than Algolia.

Looking through the issue's page on the github, I can see one enhancement that I think would be helpful as it'd make it really easy to quickly find a file within the repository and check it out (such as when browsing source code that you haven't downloaded to grep). Speaking of issues, according to the current documentation in the README, after connecting with oauth, the extension is supposed to add instant search and suggestion to the issues page as well. I didn't see this happen, but there's also no documentation on what I was supposed to see either. So this area could be improved by Algolia (at least with documentation) to make their extension even better.

Even with that one caveat, this is still a great extension as I've mentioned and I look forward to seeing what new versions bring!

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