– A Google custom search for .NET developers

So this morning I noticed Google launched a new custom search tool – where you can basically customize the Google search engine to search across a set of sites and perform other customizations. Basically a domain specific search.

Is I mentioned in my last post, I consider discoverability one of the greatest challenges facing developers today (it’s certainly the single greatest challenge I face in my daily work). Somewhere out there are answers to almost every technical problem – but how to find it?

Using Google custom search to create a .NET domain specific search engine was a no-brainer. A quick visit to GoDaddy and who would have believed it: was available!

So here it is – a Google powered .NET domain specific search. I’m still early in the process of adding sites. Some of the choices are obvious (MSDN, duh!). Other sites are those that I’ve had the most luck with finding answers to problems I found challenging.

I’m particularly interested in finding more “experts” sites – those that help answer really tough problems, or those that have advanced content – but that are often lost in the noise. These will get the “by_experts” tag that allow them to really stand out.

So, if you have favorite sites that you think just HAVE to be included in the list, please let me know (by Email or comments). I’m not trying to just build a list of all .NET sites – quite the opposite. There are plenty of aggregators (not to mention general Google search) that are great at searching everything. What I need (and am trying to implement) is a tool I can use for an initial search that has a higher probability of finding a good solution to problems – especially on more advanced topics. Then, if it fails, I’ll go to the broader web search.

Plus, I’ll be adding content to the site on the topic of discoverability in general. Keeping up with rapidly changing technology is no easy thing, and hopefully I can make a contribution to that effort as well.

12 Responses to “ – A Google custom search for .NET developers”

  1. L Werz Says:

    Great Tool

    I would just like to get total results, which is missing. For example: 1 – 10 out of 250

  2. Haacked Says:

    Hi Dan, it seems like everyone is creating a personalized search engine because of this, such as mine:

    However you did the better thing by grabbing a great domain name. Sometimes that makes all the difference so I’d love to support your effort. Please consider adding my blog to your search index.

    Speaking of discoverability, one thing you should consider doing right away is add support for OpenSearch so that users can easily . I wrote up a quick and dirty guide here:


  3. Says:

    […] Dan Appleman takes the .NET focused custom search engine idea one step further by grabbing a great domain name for his search engine. Now why didn’t I think of that! Sometimes that’s all it takes between a search engine that will get used alot (his) and one that won’t (mine). I’d be happy to throw my support over to his, though I’m keeping my baby. The one key difference is I plan to leave my search engine open for others to contribute sites. Perhaps the two will complement each other. […]

  4. Gavin Joyce Says:


    It seems that a number of use created the same thing:

    Maybe we should join forces somehow?


  5. Bryan Thompson Says:

    Excellent!! Very useful.

    In addition to Werz’s suggestion, a configurable number of results per page, maybe?

  6. Arjan Zuidhof Says:

    Nice initiative, I will definitely give it a try. Although I know my way around on it tends to be quite time consuming because just scanning the results takes time in itself.
    Tried your engine on Firefox (2.0), where I didn’t get any results back, it’s like there’s a glitch preventing the results from being displayed… it works on IE6. Strange

  7. Ade Says:

    A little google homepage widget would be a nice addition.

  8. Dan Says:

    Great idea – Google homepage and desktop widgets are now available.

  9. Paulo Cunha Says:

    This is very good.

    I’ve a suggestion, though: what about a custom button for Google Toolbar?

  10. Allan Says:

    Great job,

    Can I request that the sites that ARE included in the searchable sites be included in a seperate page so that people wanting to make recommendations can do so safe in the knowledge that the site is not already listed.

  11. Dan Says:


    It’s something I considered. Part of the problem is, believe it or not, there is no easy way to currently export sites from a Google Custom Search Engine. So I’d have to maintain two lists. For now, you can check by doing a search that starts with “site: …” – that restricts searches to a single site.

    Most of the time I add sites when, after having failed to find what I’m looking for on searchdotnet, I end up finding a solution elsewhere. That’s a good sign that the “elsewhere” site should be included.


  12. Sudhir Mangla Says:

    Hi I would like to mention another search engine for dot net developers which cover all good sites for dot net and related technologies as of August, 2008.

    This developers search engine is inspired by and I try my best achieve even batter results. Both these developers search engines would greatly help the developer’s community.

    DO test it yourself and let me know your comments.

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