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Software developers, popularly knows as Programmers, are those cretures which "get stuck" most often. Sometimes they are stuck in code, sometimes in functional specs, in technical requirements, in test cases, or sometimes even in code review! Most often, a developer will be stuck doing what she does best - programming. A developer, irrespective of the technology she is working on, will often need lot of "Help" on the technology / coding. Sometimes she is using a latest technology / framework and not much is known about it, yet some other time she is working on something niche which exists but is not known to many, and in some cases, she is using outdated stuff to which all outdated support is available.
So, generally, when a developer will need assistance during coding, what does she do? What are her options? Search for the probable solution on the Internet, check with friends, or read help - online/offline.
- The most favoured and usually quickest option is the Emperor Google: Yes, Google turns out to be most trustworthy companion of a developer. Would you believe that Google has an archive of newsgroup messages since before the advent of Linux! Because of Google's awesome technology, it can crawl through millions on blogs, forums, and online help sites to bring out the most relevant content. No wonder, it still is most favoured source to turn for help.
- Second most favoured option is Emailing lists and Newsgroups: Usually developers exchange email addresses whenever and wherever they meet, so that they stay connected with like-minded folks. Whenever someone faces an issue, she can simply shoot an email to this wide group and expect an answer pretty quickly.
- Another not-so-favoured option is Vendor sponsored resources: This is quite rare and not all developers have access to this. It usually is shipped with new product releases to a specific set of priority customers, and those developers will then have exclusive access to the help documents.
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