Navi, Claptrap, R2D2. Who wouldn’t love to have a companion at their side that helps them to succeed? Microsoft gave us Copilot, an AI companion that lives in our IDE and helps us code. Close enough!
I’ve been coding with copilot for a couple of weeks now and have some thoughts worth sharing.
The most value I get from copilot is that it allows me to stay in my IDE. There’s few things worse than leaving my IDE to read up on documentation or stackoverflow just because I forgot the order of arguments to some library function. It distracts me and disrupts my flow state.
Copilot helps with that. It provides the best solution that stackoverflow could ever offer and adapts the solution to my code. Correct styling, variable names, everything.
I’m currently working on a utility that parses typescript files and generates excalidraw docs from them. I’ve never worked with the Speedy Web Compiler before, so if I type
// parse module
Copilot will suggest
parser.parse_module().expect("failed to parse module")
All I need to do is hit <TAB> and review the changes copilot made for me. Sweet 👍!
The problems with relying to heavily on the AI is the same as relying on stackoverflow too much.
It can lead to code that is just a collage of other peoples ideas without a coherent structure and vision. It can also give you bad solutions. Either because the AI was trained with bogus data or because it’s bad in your specific context.
TL;DR: Use copilot but don’t have your brain on autopilot. Think and question the code you’re writing.
Github copilot is made possible by having a large percentage of code available on one single website: github. Github is owned by Microsoft. One of a handful of companies that basically make up the whole internet.
I use and love many of the services these mega-corps provide but I hate that this is what the internet has become.
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