Last year, Microsoft announced an AI-assisted programming capability in Visual Studio Code through an extension called GitHub Copilot. This was made possible through a collaboration with OpenAI. In essence, GitHub Copilot can be utilized to write code on a developer's behalf after receiving just a prompt in natural language, such as "loop through this array and subtract one from each value in the array". Now, GitHub Copilot has finally reached general availability.
The AI uses the instructions given by the user and generates entire lines of code to implement the command. In fact, it can also suggest complex algorithms and complete boilerplate code such as getters and setters for classes. Developers can swiftly go through the suggested lines of code while picking, choosing, and discarding AI-generated content of their own volition.
GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke noted that:
With GitHub Copilot, for the first time in the history of software, AI can be broadly harnessed by developers to write and complete code. Just like the rise of compilers and open source, we believe AI-assisted coding will fundamentally change the nature of software development, giving developers a new tool to write code easier and faster so they can be happier in their lives.
[...] We specifically designed GitHub Copilot as an editor extension to make sure nothing gets in the way of what you’re doing. GitHub Copilot distills the collective knowledge of the world’s developers into an editor extension that suggests code in real time, to help you stay focused on what matters most: building great software.
More than 1.2 million users enrolled in the preview for GitHub Copilot since June 2021. But the program is now available to all developers for $10/month and $100/year. Verified students and owners of established open-source projects can keep using it for free. The extension is available on numerous editors such as Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Neovim, and JetBrains IDEs.
GitHub Copilot offers a 60-day trial for developers right now and Microsoft plans to make it available to businesses later this year. You can check out the pricing details here.