As part of learning about a new library x, I’ll often do a Google search for “library x vs”.

The suggestions Google offers to complete my query are usually interesting, often valuable. They tend to show me popular alternatives. And the search results for any of those “x vs y” queries tend to give me good information about trade-offs. People on the Internet love to argue, especially about the relative merits of technical options.

Trying this right now with “underscore vs”, I can see it completes with “underscore vs lodash”. Entering “react vs” completes with “react vs angular”. “Scrum vs” completes with “scrum vs kanban”. “Mongo vs” completes with “mongo vs couch”. “C# vs” completes with “C# vs C++” and “C# vs Java”.

I can do this trick with concepts, too. “Dynamic language vs” completes with “dynamic language vs static language” and “dynamic language vs compiled language”. “Functional vs” completes with “functional vs object oriented”. “Recursion vs” completes with “recursion vs iteration”.

We all use search engines to give us general information about a term. This pattern is a way to ask a more specific question. I’d be interested in hearing about other useful patterns like this, if you have any personal favorites.