GitHub is taking its AI-powered development tool, GitHub Copilot, to the next level with its vision for the future of AI-powered software development, GitHub Copilot X.
The company is introducing features such as chat and voice interfaces, support pull requests, answer questions on docs, and adopting OpenAI’s new GPT-4 model to provide a more personalized developer experience.
GitHub Copilot Chat: ChatGPT in your editor
Developers will now be able to rely on GitHub Copilot Chat, a chat interface that allows them to take advantage of GPT-4’s advanced technology.
GitHub Copilot Chat helps developers generate code within seconds, but its capabilities go beyond that:
“It recognizes the code typed by the developer, the displayed error messages, and is deeply integrated into the IDE. A developer can receive in-depth analysis and explanations about what code blocks are supposed to do, generate unit tests, and even obtain bug-fix suggestions”
GitHub states in its blog post.
The company emphasizes that this new product builds on the work of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s new Bing. GitHub Copilot Chat is also expected to join the voice-to-code AI technology extension, now called GitHub Copilot Voice, which allows developers to give natural language instructions verbally.
Here’s an example of GitHub Copilot Chat in action in the video below: the developer asks Copilot to help fix bugs in their code. Within seconds, the assistant detects the issues and generates the corrected code.
How to access GitHub Copilot Chat?
GitHub Copilot Chat is in private beta, so access is still limited. However, you can join the dedicated waiting list to be among the first to test it. GitHub specifies that you must have a subscription to GitHub Copilot beforehand.
Copilot for Pull Requests
Copilot for Pull Requests is a new feature based on GPT-4 that supports AI-powered tags in pull request descriptions through a GitHub app. These tags are automatically filled in by GitHub Copilot based on the modified code. Developers then have the option to review or edit the suggested description.
And this is just the beginning for pull requests. GitHub aims to continue evolving the product:
“We are testing new features internally where GitHub Copilot will automatically suggest sentences and paragraphs as developers create pull requests, dynamically pulling information about code changes.”
AI-Enhanced Documentation and CLI Tools
GitHub is launching a new set of AI-powered features to enhance the developer experience, including GitHub Copilot for Docs and GitHub Copilot CLI. These tools leverage OpenAI’s advanced GPT-4 model to provide developers with AI-generated responses to questions about documentation and assistance in the terminal.
AI-Generated Answers for Documentation
GitHub Copilot for Docs is an experimental chat interface tool that provides users with AI-generated responses to questions about documentation. It covers languages, frameworks, and technologies developers are working with, starting with React, Azure Docs, and MDN. GitHub aims to learn and iterate quickly with developers and users of these projects by having them join the waitlist.
The company plans to extend this functionality to any organization’s repositories and internal documentation. Developers will be able to ask questions through a ChatGPT-like interface about documentation, idiomatic code, or in-house software and receive instant answers.
GitHub is also working on enabling semantic understanding across public and private knowledge bases on its platform. This will allow for better personalization of GitHub Copilot’s answers for organizations, teams, companies, and individual developers based on their codebase and documentation.
Moving forward, GitHub is exploring how to index resources beyond documentation, such as issues, pull requests, discussions, and wikis, to provide developers with comprehensive answers to technical questions.
Command Line Interface Assistance
Recognizing that developers spend significant time in the terminal, GitHub is launching GitHub Copilot CLI. This tool aims to help developers compose commands and loops and manage obscure find flags more efficiently.
Powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 Model
GitHub’s latest enhancements to pull requests and documentation are powered by OpenAI’s recently released GPT-4 AI model. This state-of-the-art model is already demonstrating significant gains in logical reasoning and code generation, helping GitHub Copilot better understand developers’ codebases and provide tailored suggestions in PRs and documentation summaries.
GitHub has published a new preview page where you can check out the preview for what is to become the new Copilot X experience.