Google’s Project IDX: Development environment with AI assistant in the cloud
With Project IDX, Google has introduced a web-based development environment. It aims at cross-platform projects for the web and the mobile operating systems iOS and Android.
The Project IDX front end is built on top of Code – OSS, the open source foundation for Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. The backend runs in the Google Cloud, and the individual workspaces are implemented as Linux-based virtual machines.
frameworks and languages
So far, only icon images and no screenshots of Project IDX exist, and the web address in the image cannot be reached, but the project can be found at idx.dev.
With an import function, Project IDX can take projects directly from GitHub repositories. The development environment also comes with templates for new projects with the supported frameworks.
AI helper with PaLM basis
Google’s family of language models Codey, like GitHub Copilot, is specifically designed to create code. Codey is based on Google’s LLM (Large Language Model) PaLM 2 (Pathways Language Model) and is already used in Google’s Colab.
Project IDX integrates Codey for autocomplete and code generation from an integrated chatbot. On top of that, the AI model can convert code from one programming language to another and create comments. With the prompt “explain this code” Codey tries to explain existing code.
Preview and Hosting
The development environment offers an integrated preview function for web applications. Project IDX will soon also integrate an emulator for Android apps and an iOS simulator.
The development environment offers a connection to Google’s Firebase Hosting service for providing the applications.
More information can be found on the developer blog at Google. If you want to try Project IDX, you can sign up for the waiting list on the project page. The project is currently in alpha status. There is no information about the pricing model or the start of a public beta phase yet.
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