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Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetProgramming & Design · 2 months ago

For you older programmers, how did you manage without Google?

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    There were books and magazines. Magazines told you about new technology and books. So you'd buy the books with reviews in the magazines. To buy a book you had to go to the bookshop and fill in a postcard. A few weeks later the postcard would arrive to tell you the book was in the shop.

    p.s. There was no free software. If you wanted to try out a new language you had to pay the full price for the compiler.Also you had to type out a computer program on cards. One card per line. There were heavy if you had a big program. The cards had to be handed in to the computer technician who'd run the program. You could collect the output the next day. If there was an error, such as a missing comma, it then took another day to see if the fix worked.

    See advert. Borland C++ was the cheapest C++ compiler, £495 (£749 with Frameworks), which was a lot of money in those days (£1,086.80 and £1,644.47). The compiler came on 15 floppy disks in a great big box full of books.

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  • Mark J
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    well written help files, examples and literate authors.

    A consistent development environment

    A well designed development environment.

    A staggered release date instead of frequent minor updates leading to contradictikns between versions, out of step focumrntation

    None of the half finished cr*p that is flutter and the like.

    Java suffers from some of the open source bullock's but st leary its reasonably well designed as a core.

  • 2 months ago

    Maybe manage by brain and book.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    2 months ago


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  • garry
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    easy why , we used our brains then ..

  • 2 months ago

    There were these things called Libraries.. lol.. i was 10 or 11 and in the early 90s I would go check out a book from the library and type it into my commodore 16. Then I would make little changes to see what   happened to the program. It was kinda fun.

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Textbooks, notes, office-mates, co-programmers, and personal savviness.

  • oyubir
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    Keep in mind that programmer usually were using internet before you (or your parent) ever heard of internet.

    I am 48 yo. And I had internet at school, and then at every places I worked.

    Not with google at first. But there was NNTP. Those were really the days.

    Because all forums in the world were centralized using not a single server (far from that), but a single protocol.

    So everything that was ever told publicly by anyone on internet was accessible in a far more structured way than google is, even today.

    If you had a question about C, you knew that the answer was either in comp.lang.c newsgroup, or was nowhere (nowhere on internet. As other said, everything about C was in Kernighan/Richie books anyway).

    So you could easily search exhaustively for the answer to your question. And then, if you didn't find the answer, ask the question.

    Back then, people were more rigorous on the "netiquette". And it was, even less than today, appreciated if you asked a already solved question. You'd easily be yelled a "RTFM" or "do a research". But that was justified by the fact that there was, indeed, a FM, and very powerful and comprehensive way to do the research.

    Those nntp group still exist, btw. But now, they are just one of the many sources.

    So, you are stuck with google.

    And google search syntax is easier for non-computer versed people sure, but far less powerful.

    With DejaNews (my favorite search engine for nntp) you could type a search request so accurate (with parenthesed booleans expressions, including word proximities, variants, distance, ...)  that you always had the guarantee that the first answer was the one you were searching for, or that this answer was not yet existing.

    Also, the absence of google made  back then less possible to not have a manual. There was a man page for everything.

    Officially, that is still the case.

    So, for someone of 48 yo, who started programming at a normal age, answer is "we always had google, or things even better than google".

    Now, I am somehow an older programmer than a 48 yo programmer, because I started really soon (I wrote my first hello world at 7. And my first code, a "butterfly chase game", at 9. Which made me start programming almost at the same date as a 60+ yo programmer has).

    And for that "self taught geek kid" phase of my life, yes, indeed, there was no google nor anything equivalent.

    But as other have said, there were books.

    If you have the opportunity (maybe it is available online), you should have a look at ZX81 user manual, for example. Nobody writes manual like that nowadays. And it was supposed to be just a user manual. Which explained the principles of interpreted language, all the syntax, and the internal organization of memory for hackers, the reference of Z80 assembly language (tho you needed another book to really learn assembly. But it gave pointers to needed books. I still remember the confusion in my parents mind when I told them that I wanted "Programming the Z80" by Rodnay Zaks, in English - and as you have already guessed, I am not an English speaker - for my 12th birthday).

    So in that phase, yes, the main source were books, libraries. And reverse engineering of others code.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    In addition to reference books, there were search engines long before Google.  There were also online forums, including Usenet forums, for those of us with BITNET access before the WWW.

  • EddieJ
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    We had paper manuals with indexes.

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