Searchcode brings regex to code search

The engine's developer wants to expand its language capabilities and double its index of repositories

Searchcode, a source code and documentation search engine, is looking to add regular expression capabilities and double the number of repositories indexed.

With regular expression support, Searchcode could get a power boost in line with Google's now-defunct Code Search application, project developer Benjamin Boyter, said in an email. "Regular expression support would allow developers [the] most power possible to search over code," he said, noting that highly complex queries not possible in existing code search engines would be enabled, he said.

But developing a regular expression capability could be "cost-prohibitive," Boyter said. Support, however, could come from sales of a possible server version of Searchcode. "A downloadable version has the advantage that private repositories can be indexed, including ones that exist in private hosted Bitbucket servers. It would allow companies to index their code without exposing it on the public Internet in any way."

Searchcode, which has been around for about five years, indexes API documentation, code snippets, and open source software repositories. It downloads source code from repositories like GitHub, BitBucket, CodePlex, and SourceForge, then processes it to produce metadata, such as the number of lines, language, and code comments. "It started out as a side project," Boyter said. "I had always wanted to build my own search engine, but the capital expenses are cost-prohibitive. So I started building documentation search over programming APIs." Searchcode has its own free API.

SearchCode works on languages ranging from C to C#, Dart, Go, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, PHP, and Ruby. Boyter wants to expand its language capabilities, double its index of around 7.5 million repositories, and index the publicly available Git repositories hosted by GitLab.

Currently, there are ads on the site to cover basic hosting costs, said Boyter. "Developers tend to be in the group that is not very receptive to advertising," said Boyter. "As such, I will not be looking to make the site a profit machine."

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