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GitHub code search is usually out there

GitHub code search is usually out there

2023-05-08 11:01:47

Some of the basic duties builders carry out is studying and understanding code. Whether or not planning and implementing a brand new function, investigating a bug, or reviewing a pull request, builders usually spend extra time studying and understanding code than writing it.

That’s why, previously two years, we’ve laid out our plans to improve code search and proven off the technology that enabled us to do so. And at present, our new code search and code view are typically out there to all customers on

Our purpose with the brand new code search and code view is to allow builders to shortly search, navigate and perceive their code, put crucial data into context, and finally make them extra productive. To attain that, we’ve introduced three highly effective new capabilities to

First, a completely redesigned search interface, with options, completions, and the flexibility to slice and cube the outcomes.

Second, we’ve constructed a brand new code search engine, fully from scratch. It’s extremely quick (about twice as quick because the previous code search), way more succesful (supporting substring queries, common expressions, and image search), and understands code, placing essentially the most related outcomes first.

The new code search UI on

And third, we’ve completely redesigned GitHub’s code view, tightly integrating search, searching, and code navigation.

The new code view UI on

GitHub code search places the world’s code at your fingertips. Let’s check out what you are able to do with it.

Fixing a bug

Imagine that a user complains that they received an error message from your service saying “query is not satisfiable.” You’re not sure which system produced this error message, or which repository the code is in.

Without code search, you might have to clone a bunch of repositories and grep through them, or ask a knowledgeable coworker. But with code search, you can instantly search across all of an organization’s code at once:

Search input containing the query org:github

A single code search result for the term

Code view showing the definition of the queryErrorIsNothing constant

This gives back just one result. In it, there’s a constant called queryErrorIsNothing which contains the error string.

In the symbols pane, you can see the definition of the constant, and that it’s used in two places. One usage is here in this file, and another is in a test. If you check where it’s used, you can see why this error is emitted. And by navigating to the test, you can see an example of a query that causes the problem!

Now you have a good understanding of the cause of this error, and even have an example test showing how to trigger it. From here, you could pull up a codespace and dig in deeper, and maybe use GitHub Copilot to help write another test.

Finding a configuration

Imagine your company uses Kubernetes, and the infrastructure team says that they’re running out of memory in their cluster. How much memory are your services requesting? Can you cut back?

Try searching across your team’s code for YAML configuration files containing the word “memory”:

Search results for the query saved:blackbird lang:yaml memory

Immediately, you can see the Kubernetes configuration files for our team’s services, and how much memory they have. You can send a link to this search directly to the infrastructure team, and start a conversation about how much memory is allocated for those services.

See Also

Finding a vulnerability

If your team uses React, you might be familiar with the prop dangerouslySetInnerHTML. That prop allows you to directly inject HTML into an element using a string. But as its name implies, it can be dangerous! If the string being injected into the DOM is untrusted, it could cause a security vulnerability.

Let’s search for usages across github/github, which is the code behind

Search results for the query repo:github/github dangerouslySetInnerHTML

You can immediately see a few results. Some of these are linter rules forbidding the use of dangerouslySetInnerHTML—that’s great! But here’s a component that might be vulnerable, called IssuesShow.

By viewing this component in the code view, you can see its usages by clicking on the name of the symbol. Looks like it’s used in just one other file.

Here you can see the exact route that is used to render this component—and, luckily, it’s part of our sandbox testing environment, so we know it’s safe.

The symbols pane, showing the definition and usages of the ShowIssuesPage component

A new era of code intelligence

Our goal with the new code search and code view is to enable developers to quickly find critical information scattered across their codebase, put that information into context, and ultimately make them more productive. And this launch is just the beginning—GitHub is infusing intelligence into every aspect of software development.

Thanks once more to the numerous customers who supplied invaluable suggestions all through the beta! Should you spot a bug, or have options on the best way to enhance GitHub code search or code view, please share your feedback with us in this discussion.

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