Project Blackbird – Github’s New Search Engine

Github, one of the most popular code hosting platforms, is set to simplify developers’ lives. Dealing with one of the biggest bottlenecks in troubleshooting, the search for a particular element across the codebase, it is set to resolve in the publically launched beta version of their project “Blackbird.”

Whether planning to launch a new feature, resolve a bug or troubleshoot an element, a developer spends much time reading, understanding, and searching for a codebase. Now Github has been experimenting with a lot of existing technology for their code search engine, even including popular names like Elasticsearch, but has yet to give a fitting solution.

The problem remains the same, the scale at which these existing solutions are expected to work. No matter what the aide was, the situation remained unsolved. The result was always the same. That is, The user experience could be better, indexing could be faster, and it’s expensive to host.

Determined to solve this issue once and for all, they initiated the development of a search engine, written from scratch, optimally built in Rust to tackle this problem. In the blog released by Github, they discussed how they had improved the code view capabilities to enable a better search, navigation, and understanding of the codebase. This new feature is even a critical component in times like these, where every tech company is trying hard to balance the cost of operation and staying profitable. This feature helps them in increasing the productivity of their employees.

While listing the improvements, the redesigned search interface is number one, which can provide suggestions, and completion and slice and dice the results. This feature heavily improves the user experience as developers will find it easier to look for specific information across the codebase.

The second improvement is Blackbird, the new search engine built entirely from scratch. This faster, better-optimized tool is more capable than the old search and supports regex matching, symbol search, and substring queries. On top of that, it is designed to understand the codebase, hence increasing the relevancy of the results.

A third and major improvement is the redesigned code view that closely integrates the search, browsing, and navigation across codebases. It helps a new developer to holistically understand the existing codebase with better clarity on how different pieces fit together and understand the bigger picture in a better way.

Various examples demonstrate how efficient and a game-changer this new project can be. A user can specifically search for a particular error message, search it across the codebase with one click, understand why it is happening, and solves it in one go.

Not only that, another use case, and quite an effective one, was to search up the configuration of existing projects, and based on that, an optimal resource allocation can be done.

Conclusively, from searching a piece of code to understanding every working component to find security vulnerabilities, this new project enables all such use cases in a powerfully quick way.

Project Blackbird, git hub’s new search engine, is out now for the public to use and is being tested in the beta phase, and so far, users seem to love this new addition.


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