User Tools

Site Tools


The Search

A search for the right command line option, for the right checkmark to set, or generally the right setting to achieve your goal in some software is something we all did before, at varying levels of desperation and frustration.

We read documentation, we google, we ask questions on StackOverflow or StackExchange or OSDev or wherever we think we have the best chances of getting an answer by a competent individual. And if we play it nicely, we do it in this order.

That isn’t the end of the story, though.

Only searching for the right setting for your immediate problem, and plowing on as soon as you’ve found it, is a recipee for long-time failure. Perhaps not of your project, you might even succeed with that, but failure of yourself as a person.

Once you have found the answer, sit back for a moment and take a second look. At the documentation you have just found. At the Google hits your keywords produced. At the community where you asked your question(s). Instead of applying the answer you got and immediately getting back to producing code, you should take the time to really take in the results of your search.

Interrupting your project for half an hour to really read the blog article, the documentation, to really familiarize yourself with a community relevant to your work, to figure out how it ticks and how you can get friendly and helpful answers without alienating people, is an investment, but it is one that will pay off.

My current project is a somewhat huge translation / re-editing work, and finally gave me the excuse to dabble in LaTeX. Over time, I found the documentation, I found the resource, and I found the community, and I have read much more than what I apparently needed to set section titles just so.

In this, I learned many things I could well use a bit later in my project, I learned things I could use in other projects yet to come, and I learned enough about the subject as a whole to make competent recommendations on to-use-or-not-to-use of LaTeX at my day work, which resulted in significant improvements in our software documentation (both for us doing the writing and our customers doing the reading).

Merely looking for the cryptic commands to set my section titles just so would (perhaps) made me succeed in my immediate project, but wouldn’t have taught me to become a halfway-competent LaTeX user.

I think there is a message in there.

negix/thesearch.txt · Last modified: 2018/09/10 16:21 (external edit)