Developer Productivity Tip – Evernote As A Searchable, Portable Code Snippet Repository

Evernote

One of the coolest things about developing especially when working with an open source product like WordPress, is that if you have a problem the chances are that someone else has already developed a solution for it.

Need a piece of code to prevent YouTube videos from overriding your theme and messing up your content? Somebody has done it. How about preserving the share count on your Twitter buttons after a change of URL? That’s out there too.

If you know how to search for it almost everything you could need is out there, documented and explained by somebody else and ready for you to build upon. No need to re-invent the wheel over and over again. Pretty cool right?

Yes, it is pretty cool if you can actually find what you need amongst the pages and pages of search results, most of which are only vaguely related to what you need or are years out of date. You can spend literally hours looking for that one solution to a problem and when you find it, if your forget to bookmark it or save it you’ll spend hours looking for it again next time you need it.

What if you could have one central repository for all of the code snippets that you come across, complete with images, diagrams and context, that you could access from anywhere?

Using Evernote you could access these snippets from any browser or your cellphone, and they are easily searchable, and can be tagged in ways that make sense to you. Need  to add a function to change post formats for a single category on save? It should be really easy to find if you’ve tagged it appropriately and even if you haven’t Evernotes build in search only has your snippets to wade through instead of the entire internet.

I know Evernote has been around for a long time. I’ve been using it for years but honestly found little use for it, despite actively trying to find use for it, until I started using it to store code snippets that either I have developed or that I’ve found on the web.

Most days someone that I follow on twitter will link to a cool code snippet or function, or I’ll stumble across a cool tip or piece of code that I have no use for right now but may in the future. With a quick click of the Evernote Web clipper (available for IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari) I can save and tag that code in case I ever actually do need it.

The best part of all this, beyond the time saved  by having this repository of snippets always available to me, is that the whole thing is entirely free. A free Evernote account coupled with some free extensions is all that it takes and I get to save time almost every day, instead of hunting down solutions on Google and in forums that I’ve already saved to cloud.