Searching through your code just got easier in GitHub

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GitHub has announced major updates to its search engine as it looks to help users save time and stay focused on their work at hand. 

For starters, the search engine will now come with a separate interface, but once the work is complete and the product is ready for wider adoption, it will be integrated into the main github.com experience, it was said. 

Not all GitHub repositories can be searched through the new engine, but it’s not a tiny database, either. More than five million public repositories can be searched, including highly popular ones, as well as all public repositories of users in the technology preview. 

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Users can also search their own private repositories in the technology preview, as well.

Explaining the changes in a blog post (opens in new tab), GitHub’s Pavel Avgustinov said finding good results will be easier, as devs will be able to search for an exact string, with support for substring matches and special characters. They’ll also be able to use regular expressions (enclosed in / separators).

Search can also be refined through filters like language:, path:, extension:, and Boolean operators (OR, NOT). Search for definitions of a symbol with symbol: has also been made possible.

The new-and-improved search engine is currently available in preview, with an initial goal looking to get the community’s feedback and help.

Anyone looking to participate should first sign up for the waitlist here (opens in new tab). After that, when the technology preview becomes enabled in the account, they can go to https://cs.github.com (opens in new tab) and try it out. 

Going forward, GitHub will seek to include every public repository, and grow the list of supported languages. Search capabilities will also be improved with scoring and ranking heuristics, while the team will further experiment with APIs and integrations, to see which ones would be most impactful.

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.