Microsoft, HackerRank Launch Bing Search Tool for Programmers

Microsoft and HackerRank have delivered a new Bing search feature that enables developers to quickly find solutions to coding queries.

Bing search

Microsoft and HackerRank, a site that provides programming solutions for developers, have teamed up to launch a new feature for Microsoft's Bing search engine that enables programmers to find solutions to coding queries directly within the search engine.

When coding, programmers often run into issues they don't understand or on which need more clarity. Sometimes it's something simple or vaguely familiar; other times it could be something they've never seen before. So they go to programming solution sites like Stack Overflow or cull through search engines to find results that can help them out.

The process is not much different from a writer who runs into a term or usage they may not be familiar with—they do a search for a definition and get back to writing. In programming, however, there are typically more steps involved, as well as the trial and error of finding the right solution.

So, with the new Bing feature, instead of searching across multiple Websites, coders can now find, edit and use coding solutions in real-time without needing an integrated development environment (IDE), said Vivek Ravisankar, CEO and co-founder of HackerRank.

"This is one of the most common productivity pitfalls for programmers today," said Marcelo De Barros, group engineering manager at Bing, and Ravisankar in a jointly penned blog post on the new search feature. "If you want to improve on or learn a new algorithm, you search in engines and figure out which blue link to click. Then, you have to transfer all of this into your editor. You trial and error until you find the right solution. If only there was a way to search a function and immediately see the solution in one step. Starting today, you can."

The code for the new search feature runs on a live code editor within Bing's search engine, the post said. The launch of the new Bing search feature for programmers comes on the heels of Microsoft's Build developer conference recently held in San Francisco.

"Typically, engineers go to search engines to get answers on various sites like, Stack Overflow, Stack Exchange and other blogs," the post said. "Now, you have a streamlined alternative that will not only spit out the code solution you need but also edit the code and play with it in real-time. No IDE installation required. This will save you endless time you used to spend going back and forth from search to your code editor."

The joint Microsoft/HackerRank solution provides programmers with a fast, easy way to find useful solutions to programming problems.

"In addition to learning how a certain algorithm/code is written in a given language, users will also be able to check how the same solution is constructed in a range of other programming languages too—providing a Rosetta-stone model for programming languages," De Barros, who is group engineering manager for the UX features and shared tools at Bing, said in the HackerRank post.

On its Website, HackerRank describes itself as a site for hackers from all over the world to solve programming problems in different computer science domains like algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and to excel in different programming paradigms like functional programming.

With a tagline of "everything you need to become a better programmer," HackerRank provides developers with information to sharpen their programming skills. The site also enables developers to compete in hackathon competitions and to collaborate with and learn from the growing community of developers that use HackerRank.

However, the company's bottom-line service is to rank programmers based on their coding skills to help companies find talented developers and reduce the time it takes to hire engineering staff.

HackerRank has helped more than 1,000 companies, including Twitter, VMware, BNY Mellon and Pure Storage, discover and hire skilled software developers, and, likewise, connect the millions of skilled developers around the world with companies looking to hire them, the company said.

Meanwhile, in other developer-related Bing news, Microsoft released a preview version of its Bing Maps V8 (version 8) control, a major update to the company's mapping platform for Web and mobile applications.

First announced at the Build conference, the new Web control and its interactive software development kit (SDK) offer new tools for developers looking to incorporate map data into their business intelligence (BI) and analytics applications. During a Build session, Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager in Microsoft's Bing Maps Customer Advisory group, said: "About 70 percent of all the apps out there that are using Bing Maps today are using it for some sort of business intelligence," including asset-tracking apps.