The role of artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly useful. Developers are making the best use of AI tools like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot to better their coding processes, bringing huge advancements for efficiency and innovation. 

AI tools in use

Developers are adopting AI tools to improve their coding experiences. These tools, such as ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot, have gained popularity for their ability to assist in generating code from natural language queries. GitHub Copilot, for instance, integrates with popular integrated development environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio, offering advanced auto-complete capabilities that are context-aware and tailored to the developer’s ongoing work.

Vanessa Freudenberg, a seasoned developer at Croquet.io, shares her insights into the benefits of using GitHub Copilot in her coding endeavors. She describes how the tool has become an indispensable companion in her Visual Studio Code workflow, simplifying complex coding tasks and significantly boosting her productivity. Copilot, with its ability to understand and generate code from natural language comments, is akin to having an experienced coding partner by her side.

Panickos Neophytou, the CTO of NetBeez, adopts a multifaceted approach to AI in coding. He makes use of both systematic and conversational techniques, using Copilot X and ChatGPT as virtual engineering assistants. For Panickos, these AI tools are more than mere code generators; they function as experienced engineers who provide valuable insights and suggestions during the coding process. This dual approach means he is able to tackle coding challenges with confidence and precision.

Shanea Leven, CEO of CodeSee, describes the significance of prompt engineering with AI assistance. She emphasizes that AI tools like Copilot and ChatGPT are most effective when developers provide clear and concise input. By formulating precise queries and comments, developers can harness the full potential of these tools to expedite their coding tasks.

Diverse approaches and techniques

The adoption of AI in programming is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Developers need diverse approaches and techniques to use AI tools effectively. Vanessa, with her focus on GitHub Copilot, exemplifies the efficiency of using AI to improve coding in a specific IDE. Her experience highlights the integration of AI into the coding workflow, making it an indispensable tool for modern developers.

Panickos Neophytou’s systematic and conversational approaches showcase the versatility of AI tools like Copilot X and ChatGPT. By treating these tools as experienced engineers, Panickos gains valuable insights and recommendations that go beyond code generation. This approach clearly shows that AI in coding can be more than just a code-producing machine; it can be a collaborative partner in problem-solving and innovation.

Shanea Leven’s emphasis on prompt engineering details the importance of effective communication between developers and AI tools. Clear and concise queries and comments enable developers to harness AI’s full potential, making the coding process smoother and more efficient.

AI’s strengths in coding

The practical applications of AI in coding are bountiful, and developers have experienced a range of benefits from integrating AI tools into their workflows. Some of the key strengths of AI in coding include:

1. Generating documentation

One of the most time-consuming tasks in software development is creating comprehensive documentation for code. AI tools like ChatGPT excel in swiftly generating documentation based on the code. This saves time and means that documentation is always up to date and accurate.

2. Code generation from documentation

Conversely, AI can also generate functional code from comments or documentation. Developers can describe the desired functionality in natural language, and AI tools like Copilot can convert those descriptions into working code, reducing the likelihood of errors and speeding up the development process.

3. Solving common problems

AI tools prove invaluable in solving frequently encountered programming problems. They can quickly identify and suggest solutions for common challenges, such as implementing well-known algorithms or design patterns, without the need for developers to search extensively or add extensive libraries.

4. Code updating and cleaning

Maintaining and updating legacy codebases can be a daunting task. AI tools come to the rescue by assisting in updating old code to modern standards. For example, they can automatically refactor code to adhere to newer syntax or architectural paradigms, such as converting promise-based functions to the more modern async/await syntax.

5. Speeding up coding

Many developers attest to the significant time-saving benefits of AI tools like Copilot and ChatGPT. By providing intelligent auto-completion and code suggestions, these tools let developers write code faster and more efficiently, allowing them to focus on higher-level problem-solving and creativity.

Alexander Procter

January 16, 2024

4 Min read