Under used resources - Get all the answers

In any development shop with more than one developer, there is always at least one developer that is THE reference for the project/platform/framework/cms that most developers go to with questions.

Let's face it, developers are lazy. I mean very lazy. I am lazy! So we look for the easy way. The path with the least resistance. Sometimes (maybe most of the times) that is going to see that senior developer and asking him questions.

I am all for sharing knowledge. I will push for that. But what about IRC? What about online forums? Those are very good resources that will give you a lot of answers. Are you using those as well?

There are a lot of articles on the web that talks about how to effectively use IRC and forums. How to ask the questions to get answers. About the Netiquette. I will leave it as an exercice to the reader to find these resources. Why? Simply because Google is yet another resource that is under used. The trick is to know when to use them. Well, try all and you will find out which one works best in which circomstances.

If you get an error message, try google first. Paste the error message within quotes. Leave out the part that is specific about you. For example, if the error is "Cannot find file 4456.txt when trying to save result set". Then you should search google for two strings:
"cannot find file" "when trying to save result set".
Make sure you type it right. Copy and paste is best for that.

If you are looking for an existing module/class/plugin that could fullfil your requirement, then check in google and then in forums.

If you experience a bug and found some information about it with google but you want to know more like why and workaround, then IRC followed by forums worked best for me.

Try them often. Do not give up. They will pay off.

Another resource (when available) is an issue tracking system. Look thru that. Search in it. You will find a lot of answers. When the issue tracking allow you to post support questions, use it! Follow the rules (read them).

After a while you will master the art of finding all the answers by using these resources.

If it works for you, write a blog entry about your findings. It will help you remmeber and it will help others too. That's how you found the answers to your questions, right?

While you are looking in the forum or waiting for an answer in IRC, take the time to help someone else. That's how you are getting your answers anyway, right?

What other resources are you using to get all your answers?

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