Lesser-Known Github Sourcing Tips

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Searching for Software Engineers? Github.com got plenty of attention from bloggers; you can find a couple of older posts on my blog as well. Recently, I went back to Github to source for top-notch Java back-end coders for a fast-expanding start-up. Let me share some search tips picked along the way.

Choosing Keywords

As a general consideration, to expand the results, it helps to know which skills or technologies imply some other skills, that may not be explicitly named, and drop those words from search.

Here is a practical example. I could include back-end OR server in searching, but these days Java is predominantly used for back-end programming, so these keywords were not necessary, as long as I searched for Java.

X-Raying for Languages

We know that the repositories “tabs” on user profiles include programming languages’ names. So, if we narrow X-Raying to those “tabs” (pages), we can add one or more languages as keywords:

site:github.com inurl:tab=repositories Java Scala Python.

(If you were wondering, the = sign can be replaced by another character without affecting the search).

X-Raying for Languages and Technologies

Github repository pages also have code names and  descriptions, so if we are looking for keywords that mean some software libraries or technologies, but not languages, we can do it in the same manner:

site:github.com inurl:tab.repositories Java Spring NoSQL.

Those familiar with the terminology would appreciate Google bringing in MongoDB as a synonym for NoSQL – quite appropriate for the search since MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database:

 

X-Raying for One “Primary” Language

Repositories pages link to programming language-specific pages, which can be X-Rayed “individually,” as in

site:github.com inurl:tab.repositories inurl:language.Java Spring NoSQL.

I wanted to see members who have used Java a lot, not just occasionally. Unfortunately, there seems to be no straightforward way to search for those. (Google’s Numrange – searching for a range of numbers, that could be of help – hasn’t performed that well lately).

To preview and compare the number of repositories in a given language vs. the total number of repositories, we can try something like

results for repositories site:github.com inurl:tab.repositories inurl:language.php

Public Emails Are Gone

Perhaps in response to some undiscriminating Recruiters who mass-email its users, a few months ago Github removed email addresses from its public profiles. We can still get results for something like

“gmail.com” site:github.com inurl:tab=repositories Java Spring NoSQL,

but those results will eventually be gone. We can appreciate the volume of the newly indexed profiles by looking at

sign in to view email site:github.com inurl:tab=repositories.

To see the “public” email addresses, we now need to be logged in. However, Github membership is free so it’s not a huge problem.

That’s it for now. In a future post, I will cover some aspects of the internal GitHub search, beyond the documented operators. Social List subscribers should expect several extra search facets in the Github Agents to be added shortly.