NOTE: This is our second feature about workplace apps powered by generative AI. Read the first one here.
Generative AI coding tools based on Large Language Models (LLMs) are capable of generating code, scanning codebases, translating from one programming language to another, helping to create documentation, and other programming tasks. Many developers use these code generators because they are helpful assistants, which enhance efficiency and productivity.
Developers can now focus on innovating, adding value, and making an impact rather than having to spend time on routine coding tasks. With generative AI, the software development process has become much faster than before.
A GitHub survey of 500 U.S.-based developers at companies with more than 1,000 employees found that 92 percent of those surveyed were using AI code generators. Seventy percent said AI tools help to improve code quality, time to completion, and solve problems.
AI code generators are still assistants, however, not developers. These tools need expert supervision. They are not risk- and error-free. There are security and accuracy concerns. Knowledgeable and skilled developers who understand the context are needed to make sense of suggestions and other content generated by AI — because not everything is correct. Developers need to review the output of these tools.
There are a host of AI coders in the market today and new ones are released frequently. Listed below are five useful AI coding assistants.
Visual Studio Intellicode
Visual Studio Intellicode is available as an extension in Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. This AI coding assistant is designed to identify code context on the basis of the type of code being written, variable names, and functions, and then provide context-based suggestions.
Visual Studio Intellicode has code completion capabilities that help to improve accuracy and consistency, thereby helping to speed up the coding process and enhance developer productivity.
- Whole line autocompletions: VSI can generate an entire line of code at once.
- Recommendations: VSI offers time-saving recommendations.
- Easier repeated edits: VSI detects repetitive changes and identifies locations where the same edit may apply, enabling developers to apply edits easily.
- Quick actions: VSI is capable of recognizing common tasks, recommending the appropriate quick action, and completing it while the developer types.
This open source AI coding tool was developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. It is an open source alternative to OpenAI’s Codex. The authors claim that PolyCoder can write code in C with higher accuracy than Codex or any other gen AI coding tool.
Programmers like PolyCoder because it can generate code relatively fast. PolyCoder is free and accessible on GitHub. It can help reduce software development costs.
- Web applications: Polycoder assists in code generation for web applications.
- Machine learning: Polycoder is capable of generating code for machine learning.
- Natural language processing: Polycoder uses intricate algorithms to generate code from natural language descriptions.
AskCodi is an AI coding assistant that offers a comprehensive suite of development tools that enable developers to code faster and optimize the development process. This AI coder is popular with experienced programmers as well as beginners. It is based on OpenAI GPT. With AskCodi, you can focus on creative and strategic activities while AskCodi handles routine tasks.
AskCodi assists in generating code, creating unit tests, documentation, and code conversion. It can be utilized in the development of both web and mobile applications.
Helpful features include Codi Chat, an AI-powered chat that enables coders to make code conversations, Jupyter Style Notebooks, and Codi Integrations. Quick suggestions offers code suggestions to speed up the development process.
AskCodi is available as an extension or plug in with major IDEs, such as Visual Studio Code, JetBrains, Sublime Text, and VS Code Autocomplete.
- Code generation: AskCodi writes code from natural language prompts.
- SQL query generation: AskCodi assists in generating SQL queries and creating DocStrings.
- Code suggestions: AskCodi suggests code to help developers complete blocks of code.
- Answers to programming questions: AskCodi provides simplified answers to questions about coding.
CodeT5 is an open source AI coding tool based on Google’s T5 framework and developed by researchers at Salesforce. It is trained on more than 8.35 million instances of code that the researchers sourced from GitHub repositories in the public domain.
- Code generation: CodeT5 generates code from natural language text.
- Autocompletion: CodeT5 completes the entire function if the target function name is given.
- Code summarization: CodeT5 generates the summary of a function.
DeepCode AI is a code analysis tool designed for secure development. It supports 11 programming languages, a number of AI models, and utilizes security-specific training data.
DeepCode AI is built to enable secure development by detecting, prioritizing and fixing issues quickly. This makes it possible for developers and security professionals to work together to develop secure applications from the outset rather than having to spend time solving a whole lot of problems.
Developers value DeepCode AI because it is capable of scanning code with a relatively high degree of accuracy. DeepCode AI utilizes hybrid AI and multiple machine learning methods to achieve high accuracy.
- Bug detection: DeepCode AI scans the codebase and identifies potential vulnerabilities.
-Fix suggestions: DeepCode AI provides AI Fix recommendations that developers can review and then apply the fix if required. This helps to accelerate the development process.
- Code search: DeepCode AI Search enables development teams to search code fast. These searches can be saved as custom rules. Application security professionals can utilize custom rules to spot code patterns and development teams can use custom rules to make sure that their code meets quality standards.
So many options
There are many more AI code generators, including OpenAI Codex, AlphaCode, PyCharm, WPCode, Smol Developer, Wing Python IDE Pro, AIXcoder, and Cody(Sourcegraph). Some of these coding tools are open source and free. Many of the proprietary tools have a free basic version. Paid plans are available for the professional versions.
The wide range of generative AI tools available free or at cost make it possible for experienced developers as well as beginners to unleash their creativity and develop impactful software.