Simon Willison’s Weblog

The technology behind GitHub’s new code search (via) I’ve been a beta user of the new GitHub code search for a while and I absolutely love it: you really can run a regular expression search across the entire of GitHub, which is absurdly useful for both finding code examples of under-documented APIs and for seeing how people are using open source code that you have released yourself. It turns out GitHub built their own search engine for this from scratch, called Blackbird. It’s implemented in Rust and makes clever use of sharded ngram indexes—not just trigrams, because it turns out those aren’t quite selective enough for a corpus that includes a lot of three letter keywords like “for”.

I also really appreciated the insight into how they handle visibility permissions: they compile those into additional internal search clauses, resulting in things like “RepoIDs(...) or PublicRepo()”