16 Sep

Weekly Update 119: The Status of Swift

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We have one more language from our programming mission to get an update for, and it's Swift (including other Apple developer-related searches).

The main sources of data for new Instant Answers so far have been the helpful SwiftDoc.org and Apple's official developer reference. They enable IAs that should greatly help Apple developers.

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15 Sep

Friends Newsletter #70 — The Programming Mission

This is a copy of our monthly friends newsletter. If you want to get it via email, you can sign up on our about page.

DuckDuckGo friends,

We're back, and with exciting news for those who code! Having just passed the milestone of 1,000 Instant Answers, we're now working on becoming the best search engine for developers. We've set up a new forum and are focusing on five languages to get us started: CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Python and Swift.

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10 Sep

Weekly Update 118: Up close with Python

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We're continuing our weekly look into the progress of the programming mission and it's the turn of Python, the only language that let's you fly!

Since the start of the mission, Instant Answer coverage for Python-related queries has increased from 35% to 46%. A lot of this is due to improvements with Python docs, but progress has also been made for Django and with tutorial snippets.

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3 Sep

Weekly Update 117: Progress with Perl

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

After CSS and JavaScript, it's time to look at Perl this week, the language that powers most of DuckDuckGo.

Since we embarked on the programming mission, Instant Answer coverage using PerlDoc has increased dramatically and MetaCPAN is showing more results, having been upgraded to the v1 API. This means that overall Perl coverage has more than doubled from around 20% to almost 45%!

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27 Aug

Weekly Update 116: Focus on JavaScript

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

After concentrating on CSS last week, let's look at another common web language this week — JavaScript.

Similar to other langauges we're focusing on (CSS, Perl, Python, Swift), we initially looked at how many JavaScript-related queries are covered by Instant Answers. At the start of our programming mission it was around 32% but thanks to some cool contributions, it's now over half at 53%! This includes the following new or updated Instant Answers:

Screenshot of the JavaScript minifier

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13 Aug

Weekly Update 114: The importance of IA pages

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

As you know, we have a public list of all live Instant Answers, from cheat sheets to interactive tools, from converters to entertainment data, and more. But did you know that as a contributor to an Instant Answer (IA), you have access not just to that IA's traffic data but also to updating its information?

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6 Aug

Weekly Update 113: Making Swift sing

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

Firstly, thank you to everyone who's been visiting the new DuckDuckHack forum and joining in the discussions and brainstorming. We've been sharing analysis and todo items for improving programming Instant Answers and we're getting results! There are already merged and soon-to-be-merged pull requests for our five target languages: CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Python and Swift. This week, I'd like to draw your attention to the last of those — Swift.

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4 Aug

Announcing the DuckDuckHack forum

Over the past few weeks, we've been working with several volunteers from the community to understand the requirements and best practices for developing high quality Instant Answers.

We've learned:

  • Usage data and metrics are critical to developing and improving Instant Answers, which must be provided by staff at present.
  • Focusing in a single topic area allows staff and contributors to work much closer together and make faster progress.
  • The community needs a new place to plan development and discuss ideas.

We're kicking off this new phase of DuckDuckHack by focusing on improving search results for five programming languages: CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Python and Swift. To facilitate analysis and discussion, we're launching a forum, check it out:

forum.duckduckhack.com

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30 Jul

Weekly Update 112: Scratching your own itch

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We sometimes get messages from people wanting to contribute to DuckDuckHack but not sure what to do. One of the best ways is to "scratch your own itch" and I'd like to share a couple of recent examples of contributors doing just that.

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16 Jul

Weekly Update 110: Show us your code

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'm very proud that we get lots of people starting their programming lives by contributing to DuckDuckGo. Together with the welcoming community, my hope is that it's an opportunity both to learn new skills and to be part of a greater mission that benefits people around the world.

But programming's not easy and we all run into bugs and errors. That's why we have an #ask-anything Slack channel where you can ask for help with any problem, big or small. To make this easier, however, I have one bit of advice for when you seek help:

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9 Jul

Weekly Update 109: Owning the query space

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We often recommend that developers try to "own" a query space, in other words that they develop Instant Answers for a particular topic they're interested in. You are all experts in something and so are better placed than we are to know things like:

  • What content users are looking for
  • What's missing from current Instant Answers
  • What data sources are best

One good example of this is contributor Manraj Singh who has created most of our C++ cheat sheets. Each of them are for a specific C++ niche and form the long tail of searches that only human contributions can properly cover.

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2 Jul

Weekly Update 108: An easy way to help

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

We're very fortunate to have a continuous flow of new and improved Instant Answers (IAs) in the pipeline, and as you know they all need testing on our beta server before going live. Although we're currently focusing on Instant Answers for programmers, you can help with testing IAs whether you're a confident coder or not.

To help out, simply set your default search engine as https://beta.duckduckgo.combrowser instructions are here — and look out for existing regular Instant Answers or new ones in the "IA Testing" tab.

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18 Jun

Weekly Update 106: Acknowledging Community Leaders

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'm pleased to say that in the past couple of weeks we've welcomed two new Community Leaders, PJ Hampton and Robert Gaul. They're both technical members of the DuckDuckGo community and have recently spent a lot of time both working on Instant Answers directly and helping out other contributors. Welcome!

We now have over 20 Community Leaders and they guide the community in various ways, from technical support and advice, to helping with physical meetups, to to answering user questions and suggestions. They're even active outside DuckDuckGo sites, for example on sub-Reddits or social media.

So this week I'd like to acknowledge the great work they put in to make our community a friendly and fulfilling place to be. Community Leaders, we salute you!

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11 Jun

Weekly Update 105: Your Instant Answer stats

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

Did you know that you have access to the traffic for your Instant Answers (IAs)? If so, have you checked it recently? You may be pleasantly surprised.

To take a look, log in to duck.co and visit any of your IA metadata pages. Lower down the page you'll see a weekly-updated chart showing how many times that IA was shown over the past 30 days.

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4 Jun

Weekly Update 104: Programming coverage status update

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

As you may know, we're currently concentrating on improving our Instant Answers (IAs) for programmers, and we're delighted to see people joining in and updating the programming IA coverage table. This week we did some spring cleaning, getting rid of out-of-date information and fixing the status for some IAs. The way we're monitoring progress is not perfect — each IA is very different in what it covers — but taking a rough count about 34% of boxes show partial or full coverage.

A big thank you to everyone who's been helping so far! Every week we see nice comments on social media about our Instant Answers, boosting our motivation to make them even better. And of course, it's not too late to join in :-)

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28 May

Weekly Update 103: Benefitting from outside help

This is a copy of our weekly newsletter for developers which you can subscribe to here.

Hello contributors,

I'd like to share a nice example of collaboration leading to a better experience for users. We have a handy Instant Answer for finding Rust cargo packages which we told the Rust community on Reddit about. They quickly gave us specific suggestions for improvement, Tom Bebbington and PJ Hampton got coding, and now we have an Instant Answer with better triggering and showing more package results - and happy Rust developers!

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