GitHub copilot is an AI pair programmer that helps you write code faster and with less work. This AI tool was developed by GitHub and OpenAI and targets assisting users of Visual Studio code by completing codes. It was first announced by GitHub on June 29, 2021.
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As a plugin to Visual Studio Code, GitHub copilot auto-generates codes based on the content of the current file and current cursor location.
GitHub copilot is very convenient to use and awes the developers with its capabilities. For instance, if you type the name and docstring of a function, then this AI-powered tool will write the codes based on that function. If you wish to add those GitHub copilot-generated codes, simply select Tab on the keyboard to accept those codes and insert them into your code.
How does GitHub Copilot operate?
Based on how you code, GitHub Copilot can suggest complete lines of code or entire functions. By reading the function name you have declared, Copilot can predict your code and assemble codes from user comments.
The GitHub Copilot editor extension sends your comments and codes to your GitHub Copilot service. It then synthesises and suggests codes using OpenAI Codex. It works after reading through all the open-source codes on the GitHub repos worldwide. From this, it collects the data and tries to find the best possible code on it. Repetitive code patterns are most advantageous in GitHub Copilot as developers can generate the rest of the code with ease. Above all, the AI programmer also helps its users learn new programming languages as well.
What technology is used for GitHub copilot?
It uses a language model technology called GPT-3 which produces human-like text, capable of producing valid computer code. Copilot has trained on public GitHub repositories of any license.
What are the features of GitHub copilot?
Copilot is trained on billions of AI tools. It is like putting knowledge at your fingertips, saving you time and helping you stay focused.
Extends your editor
Copilot is an extension of Visual Studio Code, which implies it will work wherever Visual Studio code works like a machine or the cloud. The speed is just mind-blowing as it is fast enough to use as you type.
Speaks different languages
You are in charge
You are the Copilot who is always in charge while using GitHub Copilot. You can ride through the different alternatives, choose which codes can be accepted or rejected and manually edit the suggested codes.
What are the advantages of GitHub Copilot?
GitHub copilot is powered by Codex, the new AI system created by OpenAI and it is more than just automating codes. It can understand more contexts than most code assistants.
Based on the contexts provided in a docstring, comment, function name or the code itself, copilot synthesizes matching codes. With the guidance of OpenAI, GitHub Copilot is designed to get smarter at producing safe and effective codes as coders use it.
What other advantages does GitHub copilot offer? Let us see:
Comments are converted into codes
Simply give a comment describing the logic you need,
and let GitHub Copilot assemble the code for you.
Autofill of repetitive codes
Copilot only needs a few examples to generate codes fast. Repetitive code patterns are auto-filled for generating boilerplate vastly.
Easy and convenient testing
The testing phase is the most important one in an ideal software project. On importing a unit test package, GitHub copilot suggests tests that align with your implementation codes.
What are the new approaches? Get access to a variety of approaches as solutions with GitHub copilot. You can either use the provided codes as such or edit as you need them.
Confidentiality of the codes
Copilot can assist coders while working on a new language or framework or even while learning to code. This AI-powered tool helps developers in handling bugs or learning new frameworks. This way developers need not dive into the huge piles of formal documents or search the internet.
OpenAI and Stack Overflow Integration
Generally, if programmers who are not using Copilot bump into a situation in which they don’t know how to do something, they Google for answers. This is where Stack Overflow posts play their role. Stack Overflow posts will have accepted answers that correctly say what can be done.
The Stack Overflow is a forum of programmers’ discussions that help in understanding different aspects. Stack Overflow integration with GitHub Copilot will reduce the need for some of the many Stack Overflow queries that programmers make daily.
Is GitHub Copilot going to be the future of AI-powered coding?
Copilot is a great platform for languages like Go, which are high on boilerplate. It also comes in handy for languages that lack meta-programming functionality. For programmers who are not familiar with a language, Copilot can help in getting basic syntax correctly and point to library functions and common idioms.
Copilot is currently in the stage of instigation and it is too early to judge the new technology. In the normal course, in a few years, or maybe even months, more competitors will come up with similar ideas. This would push GitHub to revise and ramp up its tool.
GitHub copilot is expected to change over time because, in terms of the design of the product and implementation, it has been done by machine learning researchers. For procuring the right essence of human-machine interaction solution, GitHub Copilot will have to think beyond the currently used language models and integrate a more accurate solution that endorses human-machine communication well.
Endnote: How good is GitHub Copilot?
Copilot helps programmers solve problems, write tests, and find out new APIs without having to go for extensive searches on the internet or sites like Stack Overflow.
It has been tested against a set of Python functions that have good test coverage in open source repos by blanking out the function bodies and asking GitHub Copilot to fill them in. For the first try, it could get 43% of the output right, and after ten attempts the rate improved to 57%.
If you ask us, we say it is getting smarter all the time!
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