Help API of Software

With stackoverflow and plethora of blogs coming in, there’s a tendency to default to them to find solutions rather than references like man pages. Most of the software has a way to find help while staying inside the software (command line etc.). One of the best things you can do while learning a new tech is then to identify what is the Help API of that software.
This also includes references documents where EVERYTHING about that tech is mentioned and indexed.

For example,

man pages

man -k <query> gives you list of man pages (from whatis database) where the query string can be found.

inspect all python functions available for an object

dir(name_of_variable) lists all symbols of a module

postgresql:

  • help is the mother of all helps.
  • help for the all SQL commands: \h
Available help:
  ABORT                            CREATE USER
  ALTER AGGREGATE                  CREATE USER MAPPING
  ALTER COLLATION                  CREATE VIEW
  ALTER CONVERSION                 DEALLOCATE
  ALTER DATABASE                   DECLARE
  ALTER DEFAULT PRIVILEGES         DELETE
  ALTER DOMAIN                     DISCARD
  ALTER EVENT TRIGGER              DO
  
    .....<removed for brevity>....
  • help for all psql commands: \?
General
  \copyright             show PostgreSQL usage and distribution terms
  \crosstabview [COLUMNS] execute query and display results in crosstab
  \errverbose            show most recent error message at maximum verbosity
  \g [(OPTIONS)] [FILE]  execute query (and send results to file or |pipe);
                         \g with no arguments is equivalent to a semicolon
  \gdesc                 describe result of query, without executing it
  
  .....<removed for brevity>....