Why Your Engineering Team Needs a Multi-Platform Search Engine for Their Code Repository Tools

Itay Itzhaki
By Itay Itzhaki
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published June 7, 2022.

A professional lady using a magnifying glass, trying to figure out[see] which search engine to use.

Many experts have talked about how the inability to access information can hamper software engineers’ productivity. In his talk, “The hero’s journey: how we are solving internal technical documentation at Spotify,” Gary Niemen, a product manager at Spotify, mentioned that not being able to find necessary information was among the top three productivity blockers for Spotify engineers.

Quality delivery with speed is the key to staying relevant and competitive in the software industry. As such, you should not allow anything to hamper your developers’ productivity, especially if you can do something about it.

With a multi-tool search platform like Unleash, you never have to worry about your engineers wasting valuable time looking for anything. They’d be able to find everything they need — across multiple code repository tools and platforms — from files to emails, meetings, issues, and tickets, in seconds.

The Average Engineer Wastes up to Three Hours of Their Day Searching for Information

According to a survey conducted by Zapier on how employees spend their time, 73% of workers spend 1–3 hours of their day “just trying to find information or a particular document.” In total, that’s about 5–15 valuable hours a week wasted looking for information.

Easier access to information can make a whole lot of difference. Studies have found that developers are “almost 60% more likely to feel equipped to do their job when they can easily find what they need.” They also get an 11% bump in productivity simply by having a team repository that is easy to search.

A typical developer’s day is spent searching for information across different platforms and code repository tools to enable them to do their jobs. They spend time searching project management tools like Jira to find details about projects or tasks assigned to them. They’ll also need to search through Slack to remind themselves about the discussion details on certain matters. And, when they run into problems with a particular API or need to debug, their first line of action is to search through FAQs, documentation, or code repository tools to find clues or instances of how another developer may have used the same API. Without an efficient search mechanism, all this information may take significant time to find.

Using a multi-platform tool, you can give your engineers a central place to search across all code repository tools and platforms used within your organization. With impressive features like advanced filters and semantic, contextual, and deep search, your engineers will be able to find whatever information they need in one spot in seconds. You’d get to save every engineer on your team considerable time and help them become more productive and better contribute to the company’s bottom line.

Switching Between Multiple Platforms and Code Repository Tools Causes Developers to Lose Focus and Concentration

Searching through multiple apps and code repository tools doesn’t only drain engineers’ productivity because of time wasted; it also breaks their natural flow and concentration, which may eventually decrease the quality of code they write.

The “context switching” that occurs when we jump from one digital app to another causes a lull in productivity and can even produce fatigue. Research suggests it takes 9.5 minutes to regain our flow when we make that switch. Research also indicates that a person who is multi-tasking between 30 applications will make 28% more errors than someone working with less.

Pavel Avgustinov, VP of Software Engineering at GitHub, explained the problem with context switching from a developer’s perspective:

“As a developer, staying in a flow state is hard. Whenever you look up how to use a library, have a test fail because your developer environment has diverged from CI, or need to know how an error message can arise, you are interrupted. The longer it takes to resolve the interruption, the more context you lose.”

However, this wouldn’t be the case with multi-platform search engine tools. Using such tools, your developers can access all information, platforms, and code repository tools from one interface and reduce the effects of context switching. Unleash integrates with several apps used by developers, so it can function as a central workspace for them. That way, they can:

  • Search and locate files across multiple repositories
  • Get a quick overview of their weekly schedule and instantly launch their meeting with the Calendar view
  • Search across their servers and major cloud providers to allow them to instantly monitor or access VMs, databases, storage, and instances
  • See all pending PR and understand the changes that have been made
  • Create an issue, task, document, and so much more, all from one place

Also, suppose a platform or tool that your engineering team uses is not supported. In that case, they can build custom integrations with our exposed SDKs (software development kits) to connect them. Unleash can streamline your workflows and increase productivity no matter what apps you use. And, no matter how you work, Unleash can accommodate your workflows.

Engineers Can’t Reuse Code if They Can’t Find the Code

The mantra “do not reinvent the wheel” encourages developers to reuse code and not to duplicate a method or solution that already exists unless they absolutely have to.

Code reuse — recycling or repurposing code parts to improve existing or create new software—cuts down on development time, avoids code bloat, and lowers development risks. Using a component that is already known and approved means there’s less risk involved in writing something entirely from scratch.

Developers will always run into difficulties, and if your company builds multiple products using multiple code repository tools across different teams, chances are another developer on another team may have used the same API or solved a similar problem. However, because manually looking through various repositories or bug reports can be tedious, a developer will find it difficult to locate helpful code to reuse or study.

Using multi-platform search tools, your engineers can avoid tabbing between GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, or other code repository tools and find all relevant info—documentation, design specs, and everything else — in one place.

Empower Your Developers to Save Time and Focus On Their Jobs

Your engineers spend so much time fruitlessly searching for information and files, which will eventually drain them and keep them from doing their best work. With a multi-platform search tool like Unleash, all of that will be in the past.

Effective code search tools can help developers substantially improve their software development efficiency and effectiveness. The good news is adding Unleash to your workflow doesn’t require a large team of developers or a free weekend to take servers down. You can get up and running in minutes without changing your existing infrastructure.

Not so sure about it? You can try Unleash for free and then decide whether you want to make a commitment or not.