We All Google, All The Time

No matter how experienced they are, or what the technology in question is, everybody Googles, all the time.

Why We Google

Sometimes We Don’t Know

Sometimes, we don’t know. When I created my first Salesforce CLI plugin, I’d never used TypeScript before. I could have tried to figure it out from the sample plugin code, but it seemed unlikely I’d learn the basics that way, so I Googled ‘typescript tutorial’ and learned just enough to get going. As development progressed I probably Googled another 20 times for specific features. I won’t remember most of this the next time, so I’ll run similar queries again. Even if I do remember it, I’ll still Google it again.

We Don’t Want to Ask for Help Too Soon

I’m a big fan of the 15 minute rule — if you are stuck with a problem you have have to try to solve it yourself for 15 minutes before asking for help, but if you haven’t solved it after that 15 minutes you have to ask for help. The actual length of time is irrelevant, it’s more about encouraging developers to be self-sufficient and investigate problems they encounter, but also not waste too much time if they are really stuck. I’ll wager quite a bit of any 15 minute investigation will be spent typing terms into Google.

As an aside, instituting a 15 minute rule can be a real eye opener. You’ll be amazed at the amount of people that will:

  • distract someone, anyone, rather than spend a moment thinking about the problem
  • spend days struggling with the problem, convinced they are going to solve it in the next hour or so, in the face of all the evidence

We Can’t Follow Everything

In an ideal world I wouldn’t need to Google as I’d read and digest every relevant blog post and article. In the real world this would mean (a) I wouldn’t get anything else done and (b) I still wouldn’t read everything as the amount of relevant information is increasing exponentially. I won’t read it all after Googling either, but the page ranking algorithm seems to do a pretty good job of identifying the most relevant hits. Of course I never verify this, so it’s possible that I’m missing some good articles, but at some point you have to trust something (as I’m far too fond of saying, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)

The Only Constant is Change

Even if it’s an area that I’m really familiar with and a scenario that I’ve coded many times before, I’ll still play a provisional (from Golf Monthly):

If, after playing a shot, you think your ball may be lost (outside a water hazard) or out of bounds you should play a provisional ball. The purpose of the Rule is to save time.

I have my existing approach, and I’ll use that if it’s still the best way. What I won’t do is assume that the way that I did it last time is still the best way (this is an example of The One True Way, a Rogue High Performer trait). If the scenario involves lightning components it’s highly likely that there is a new approach, or if a Salesforce release window has passed, a slew of new standard components that I can use. If the scenario involves JavaScript, there will be likely be another couple of versions of the language and a dozen new frameworks to decide between! Whatever I’m doing, I’ll take the time to Google to check if there are any tricks I’ve missed.

Much like the provisional ball, the purpose if this is to save time — I’ll take a bit longer to carry out the initial work, but the amount of future work will be reduced.

We Don’t Feel Bad About It

But new developers sometimes do, which is crazy. In a world without search engines it would be like having access to the best reference library in the world, but never using it because you were embarrassed that someone who had already read the book would see you looking something up!

I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, 6 x MVP and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom who are hiring.

You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog

CTO at BrightGen, author Visualforce Development Cookbook, multi Salesforce Developer MVP. Salesforce Certified Technical Architect. I am the one who codes.

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