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John Conwell: aka Turbo Research in the visual exploration of data

I recently read a blog entry that was talking about why some programmers have problems using an API that makes use of the factory pattern.  The entry tries to break programmers down into categories based on how they go about the task of programming, how they investigate APIs, and how tight or broad their focus lies. 

This got me thinking.  How do most programmers discover a new API?  What is the first thing you do when you realize you need to use the ABC class (or group of classes in a namespace)?  Do you open your copy of MSDN?  Do you go straight to Google (or your favorite search engine)?  Do you create a test application and just poke around with the classes, use the IDE's intellisense to investigate all the operations it can offer?  Do you open Reflector and read its code?  Do you just ask the guy next to you?

What techniques do you use to explore and learn an unknown API?

 

Posted on Monday, October 31, 2005 5:38 AM Ramblings | Back to top


Comments on this post: Survey: How do programmers discover an unknown API?

# re: Survey: How do programmers discover an unknown API?
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For me personally it is a combination of things usually. If I only know what kind of thing I need I'm often searching the web. Then MSDN might help to look at what other classes are in the namespace, or sample on how to use certain features. Object browser (is that correct name?) is often used to see what other methods / properties a class has or what it is inheriting from etc.
Left by Rob on Oct 31, 2005 6:01 AM

# re: Survey: How do programmers discover an unknown API?
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Addendum: and of course my co-workers help out as well. But that is usually topic based. In other words, I know they know something about a specific feature or topic of the system / platform.
Left by Rob on Oct 31, 2005 6:02 AM

# re: Survey: How do programmers discover an unknown API?
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Reflector... no question. You can launch into MSDN and Google from Reflector :)
Left by Mat on Oct 31, 2005 10:10 AM

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