GitHub has expanded its GitHub Copilot Chat beta program from enterprise customers to individual users. This means you can use the Pair Programmer with support from artificial intelligence (AI) when programming in the Microsoft tools Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. The beta feature itself can be used free of charge, but requires registration for GitHub Copilot.
AI support in Visual Studio and VS Code
The public beta program of the GitHub Copilot Chat for business users has been running for around two months, which relies on the large OpenAI GPT-4 language model under the hood and is part of GitHub Copilot X. The AI assistant is now also available to individuals in the Visual Studio IDE and the open-source source code editor Visual Studio Code. The prerequisite for this is to use the paid model “GitHub Copilot for Individuals”, which costs $10 per month or $100 per year.
As GitHub lists, Copilot Chat’s features include assistance in learning new programming languages, troubleshooting bugs, and answers to programming questions in natural language. In addition, GitHub Copilot Chat can, among other things, suggest best practices and tips in real time, analyze code, make suggestions for security fixes, and support debugging code with suggestions, explanations, and alternative approaches.
At the start of the beta version for corporate customers, GitHub presented some features of the AI assistant. For example, if desired, he can explain a highlighted line of code in natural language:
In this example, GitHub Copilot Chat explains a highlighted line of code and includes the context.
Aimed democratization of software development
As GitHub explains in the blog post about the extended beta program, “natural language is a new universal programming language.” The version management platform, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, aims to “democratize software development as we know it.”
There is documentation available for using GitHub Copilot Chat in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code.
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