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As programmers we have a lot of inputs:

  1. Ebooks
  2. Code snippets
  3. Interesting emails
  4. Documents
  5. Web articles
  6. Blog posts
  7. StackOverflow questions
  8. Podcasts ...

Which tools do you use to store, organize, search and consult all of this stuff?
Is there a silver bullet solution to handle this huge amount of data?

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closed as not constructive by Yannis Rizos Oct 10 '12 at 2:23

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I would love to be able to search my bookmarks (search the page content, not just the bookmark title, url & tags), at the moment there is no easy way of doing this, as far as I know (other than creating a custom search engine). Suggestions welcome –  Joel Sep 15 '10 at 18:34
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@Daenyth Unfortunately, Delicious doesn't search through the content of the pages themselves, and that's why I dumped it. People have been using Diigo for quite a while. –  user3308 Sep 22 '10 at 7:38
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@Joel: Pinboard (pinboard.in) is a bookmarking service like delicious that has a subscription-base archival service. The archive stores the full-text of all your bookmarks, tweets, notes in Google Reader, etc. It syncs nicely with Delicious, so it's a good option. –  Ciaran Jan 26 '11 at 9:15
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@Ciaran - I ended up writing my own tool to search my bookmarks - www.bookmarkerpro.com ! –  Joel Jul 1 '11 at 22:10
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29 Answers

I've started blogging about things I've learned.

Just a simple free blog, I keep it private, if it's worth sharing I'll spend some time to transform it into a post that's intelligible enough someone else can read it and walk away with something. You can tag ideas and search by grouping later too.

Also helpful for creating an online identity for employment sake.

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i used to do that. but found there were some things that you just don't want to tell the world –  JW01 Nov 26 '10 at 18:10
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I'm currently using OneNote from Microsoft to organize and keep record of most of my data, activities and notes. I'm using its online storage to have it automatically shared between my home desktop, personal notebook and office notebook. Unfortunately it has some limits (for example, no integration with eBooks) but it is the most comprehensive and powerful tool I've found.

I tried for a while also Evernote and, while its online sharing is quite better and it can be used on Android (my current mobile platform), it is not powerful as OneNote.

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+1 OneNote is really handy, it allows you to link notes back to webpages, Outlook mails and tasks. There are a lot of features that are just amazing there... You miss something if you haven't tried it. ;-) –  Tom Wijsman Sep 11 '10 at 14:23
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I've been using TiddlyWiki for a few months now. It's a editable wiki page all contained within a single html file.

The idea is that you make notes (called tiddlers) and edit content via the html/js interface. When you hit save (or the autosave kicks in) it overwrites itself to include all your updates.

It doesn't require a web host or anything complex, just save the .html file on your hard drive and open it in your favourite browser. I have set the file as my homepage and put it in my dropbox so it syncs across all my PCs.

Alternatively, GSto has pointed out that tiddlyspot.com provides free online hosting of tiddlywiki pages with public and private options.

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Stackoverflow/StackExchange

I've gotten in the habit, if its something I don't know, or something someone else might need to know - I'll ask it as a question. that way, if I want to find it later I can reference back in my list and easily find the answer. Plus its reliably good insight half of the time, so I am not trying to implement a method I find out later is just the wrongest way of going about it.

As for everything else, I usually just make sure a copy of the document stays with whatever project its attached to. If its generic or all encompassing, I have a master personal project for that.

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do you really enjoy the Stack Overflow search engine?? You got to be kidding me :). –  systempuntoout Sep 21 '10 at 13:03
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I have searched on google for the answer to a problem, found it on stack overflow, and was surprised to find I authored the question. –  B Seven Oct 10 '11 at 22:52
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Trac

wiki, svn, bug tracker all integrated in one place. cost: £40 per annum all set up, hosted and managed for me by http://hosted-projects.com/

I love it

With a mixture of 'wiki + tickets' you can store just about anything.

I have wiki pages for things like:

  • JobReports (write notes as I code)
  • How To's... (if i find myself repeating the same thing, I'd distil a previous job-report into a 'how-to' page)
  • Best Practices (add to the list of Epiphanies whenever I have one )
  • Incident Reports (if the server crashes, 1st thing I do is create a new Incident page, link it to new 'Job Report' wiki page and then write up my investigations, i.e. write the Linux commands first in the wiki and then paste it into SSH etc)

(Note: I have not been clinically declared OCD...yet!)

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Freemind

It does a great job of storing lots of ideas in a semantic hierarchical manner. Plus, any node can also be a link to a website. Learning how to completely manipulate the Mind Map using only keys is a must (including, adding meaningful color coding skills).

I use this in conjunction with Dropbox to make it the mind maps available on all my computers. I only wish the project had more development effort going into polishing it.

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I use GMail with some Filter/Tag automatic-organisation-fu.

Makes searches really easier too.

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Me to. I regularly email myself snippets and zipped files. –  Christopher Jul 21 '11 at 13:46
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I use Google Docs. It's accessible from any computer with an Internet connection, and it's free so I don't have to pay any fees, I can attach plain text, archived source code and binaries, etc. Documents can be easily organized and search functionality is very fast.

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pmWiki -- a flat-file, PHP (!!!) wiki from "the pumpking for the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler." Okay, so he's no longer the prime, active maintainer, but he's got chops! And the work he put into pmWiki made it a flexible, extensible, secure multi-user simultaneously-editable CMS.

I use pmwiki for a personal site, a commercial-oriented-site and as a departmental knowledge-base-behind-a-work-firewall in my department at work.

It's easy to set up, easy to extend, well-documented, and has a great dev community with ready responses to issues.

Plus, it's a wiki, dammit. Wikis rock! I can create pages with nothing but link-dumps that I can can then organize, re-org, cross-reference, add notes, screenshots, code-samples, and revisit months and years later. It's not in the cloud, so what. I own the data. It's mine!

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Three tools will solve your problem: Evernote, Google Code hosting and SugarSync(or dropbox, etc). All these services are cloud based so they are accessible everywhere. The detailed solution is:

Put ebooks and podcasts in a synchronized folder under SugarSync. Put your code snippets under google code, that the best way to store code. For web articles, blog posts, interesting emails, put them in evernote. You'll find evernote is also a great way to manage your own essays, etc.

For SO questions, of course, SO is the best way to manage them!

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We use Assembla at work to create a company knowledge base (we also use it for collaborating with customers). It has a wiki as well as file uploading tools, so most of the things you mention can be added or linked to.

It's not free (except for open source projects) but it's pretty reasonably priced.

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I am currently using a combination of Evernote and Google Bookmarks. Evernote has a good web application, good desktop clients and good mobile clients. Additionally, I can get by with the free version, as long as I am just using text plus occasional documents and photos and the paid version, while not cheap, is quite reasonable for what you get. I use Google Bookmarks for links - its killer feature is that bookmarks appear when you search Google. I use the Gmarks Firefox addon to make it more convenient. For resources I need to access frequently (or that I should remember to use more often), I use Firefox bookmarks so I can visit them directly from the address bar.

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  • Dropbox for files (http://www.dropbox.com)
  • PpcSoft iKnow for snippets of information (http://www.ppcsoft.com)
  • Opera browser for browsing and bookmarks (with built-in RSS reader) (http://www.opera.com)
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Microsoft OneNote

  • Integrates seamlessly with Outlook
  • Easy to organize, gather context, and make notes readable (Evernote feels like notepad.exe compared to it)
  • Syncs with SkyDrive and Office Webapps so I can work with notes on my Mac or any other PC.
  • Multiple Live editing support so I can share my notes with others during a meeting and have them edit/add content on the same page and it shows up immediately.
  • Can take audio of meetings and make it fully searchable.
  • Handwritten notes become searchable
  • Drag PDFs or any other document into OneNote and it automatically keeps the original and optionally converts it to images to take notes on top of.
  • I could go on for days...
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Duplicate answer –  Lorenzo May 31 '11 at 23:31
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For most of these I just use Google Chromes Bookmarks. With the ability to sync with my google account, my bookmarks are no permanent. No more starting again, or never getting around to transferring them when I get a new computer. Just sign in and sync. I also sync between my home and work computers. And even to my Ubuntu install running in VirtualBox on my home PC.

This way is very simple, but offers a lot of benefits. with very good search.

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The best thing I've come across is Springpad

I've tried a personal wiki, evernote, textfiles on dropbox. . .

I stick with Springpad for the following

  • Online
  • Syncs with iPhone & Android
  • Easily customizable
  • Ability to clip from the web
  • Ability to add by email

I set up notebooks per client, project, technology or language. I can set up reading lists and add alarm reminders to study, personal curricula for skill-building, etc. Each entry can include notes, tasks, tags, hyperlinks, files, books (with links from amazon) and more. The notebooks can have tabs and even be organized into folders. If all else fails, there's a sweet search functionality. Springpad all the way.

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Here are the basics for me.

  • Evernote for web links, blog posts and email.
  • Snippely for code snippets
  • Dropbox for syncing Snippely db, PDFs, backup files, and git repos for configs, etc.
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MindManager

I use this a lot for notes and programming techniques. The integration with MS Office products is handy for me, since we use MS OFfice at work. As Evan pointed out, FreeMind is a great free alternative.

CodeLib .NET

I've been using this for a few years now and have found it to be really cool for storing all sorts - source code, url's images, etc. It's very flexible and highly recomended.

Cheers. Jas.

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Personally I stick to remembering the source's title/context and the key takeaway. This allows to immediately reach out to Google if I need it again.

My doing so is based on two observations:

  1. Memory is powerfully tied to emotions. (i.e. "I found it!")

  2. When I forget a specific point or finding, it invariably means that I'm not entirely satisfied with it (i.e. it didn't "click" or convince me enough to warrant more than immediate attention).

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A combination of https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/read-it-later/ and google bookmarks + google toolbar. Google toolbar helps in integrating your search to your bookmarked items as well, so that is very useful.

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Notebook for Macintosh. I've been using it for several years.

  • A notebook metaphor - with tabbed pages, automatic table of contents, automatically indexes every word in the notebook
  • Outline pages, to-do lists
  • free-form pages
  • templates, customizable look
  • imbed links, images, video
  • free-form content layout
  • diagramming, notes, bookmarks, highlights - can overlay other content
  • Clip any highlighted anything from any application or web page directly to notebook - without even opening notebook.
  • export as a web site
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For each project, I keep a project Wiki using WikiDPad. It is heavyweight enough to do what I need to do, but not overkill like MediaWiki. The trick to keeping organized is to use one medium-sized Wiki per project, not one enormous Wiki for everything.

Home Page

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I don't have any single way- just an ad-hoc approach:

  • Bookmarks for online stuff
  • Searches for mail
  • Crappy memory for books
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Something like Trello could be handy for this. It has checklists for notes, you can reorder notes, tag notes, add links, images, etc.

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For anyone who is a minimalist and a Mac user, try Notational Velocity.

It has an extremely streamlined interface. You type in a title, which will search your notes, or create a new note depending on what action you take. You never have to take your hands off the keyboard as there's a short-cut for everything. Also, if you are entering something while a little heft to it, there's a shortcut to start editing in your favorite text editor.

It syncs nicely with either Dropbox or Simplenote (which is great if you want a cross-platform solution).

I've tried a few other note-takers, but it's the only one I've used consistently. I guess mainly because it's quick, simple, and painless.

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TreePad Business Edition works for me. Reasonable price, though freeware versions are also available. Supports internal and external links, images, ... . It doesn't need to be installed, so you can run it from a USB flash drive.

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I can't believe no one answered Github. It's great; for just code snippets, you can use Gist.

I bookmark interesting articles and use dropbox for everything else. (files, vid tutorials, podcasts)

As for SO questions, well, just SO?

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We came across a similar situation where we had a lot of documents, FAQs to be shared among team members and website visitors and we decided to opt for PHPKB knowledge base software. We have been using it for over 2 years now and I can recommend it to you as well.

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Copernic Desktop Search Linkie

This is my weapon of choice on Windows; it searches PDF and text documents, zip files as well as office files. (In total over 150) I also have it set up to only index a specific part of my external HDD.

As far as Linux goes, I actually just rely on the layout of my files and folders - this leaves a lot to be desired!

+1 for Evernote for notes though, I enjoy being able to ammend and read through notes whilst commuting!

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