Pardon me for a moment while I put on my “old fart programmer” hat.
While doing development these days, there’s no question Internet access is critical to success and fast turnaround.
Back in my early days, we had books, user groups (you know, people actually coming together in the same physical and geographical room and talking face to face), and at best there was USENET newsgroups. Once DejaNews came along to archive newsgroups, that was most useful towards finding information because you know someone asked about it before. Then mailing lists started to become more centralized, such as Apple actually hosting a majority of mailing lists dedicated to their topics (developer, administration, etc.). Those lists along with their archives was a growing source of reference. Again, because you know someone asked the question before or encountered the problem before.
Forums have been useful, and then new things like stackoverflow.com and github have proven to be invaluable. I punch into Google a programming question, and SO and GH come up in the top all the time. Someone’s dealt with the same problem, or someone has posted code to it. Heck, I remember WAY back in my Metrowerks days having the PowerPlant Contributed Class Archive, where other PowerPlant developers would contribute C++ classes to Metrowerks to host in the CCA for the convenience and use of other PP developers. I contributed a good bit of code to that. I haven’t done the same with my Cocoa and Cocoa Touch work, but sooner or later that will be remedied.
It’s just wonderful tho how far things have come. It used to be so difficult to find things, and many times you were the one that got to scout out the problem and share the answer. Now, chances are good others have come before you and willing shared their information. The community has grown, both in numbers and in giving spirit.
Such a wonderful time to be a developer. You kids don’t know how good you have it. 😉