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Amazon CodeWhisperer joins packed AI code completion market

AI code completion tool Amazon CodeWhisperer is now available for developers who are willing to wait.

Amazon CodeWhisperer, an AI-powered coding companion, is now available for preview. The tool joins a burgeoning list of AI code completion tools on the market.

The developer tool, which can autocomplete entire functions and save developers time, supports multiple languages and IDEs, according to an Amazon Web Services blog post attributed to Jeff Barr, chief evangelist of AWS. CodeWhisperer, which is trained on billions of lines of code from a diverse set of data, uses contextual clues to drive code completion recommendations that developers can accept as is or modify, according to AWS.

Despite the apparent benefits, low-code/no-code approaches to software development have many drawbacks that developers should take into consideration, said Larry Carvalho, an independent analyst at Robust Cloud. Those drawbacks include unproven code efficiency, limited capabilities and ties to specific infrastructures, he said.

Developers will join a waitlist to try out CodeWhisperer

Developers who want to try out Amazon's new code completion tool can join the waitlist by filling in a request form. Once a developer has received a preview access code, they can install the AWS IDE Toolkit, enable the CodeWhisperer feature and start using the tool, Barr said in the AWS blog post.

For example, if a developer types "#See if a number is pr," CodeWhisperer will offer to complete the word prime -- and if the solution is accepted, the AI-driven bot will then suggest a definition and even a complete function, which the developer can then accept or modify, Barr said.

The preview supports Java, JavaScript and Python, using Visual Studio Code, IntelliJ Idea, PyCharm, WebStorm and AWS Cloud9, with AWS Lambda coming shortly, according to Barr.

Code completion tools trending

Forrester Research speculated in its 2022 software development predictions report that most development tools will include an AI bot by the end of this year -- a prediction that looks set to come true.

In addition to CodeWhisperer, a long list of technologies have appeared to help developers reduce bloat, Carvalho said.

One of those tools, GitHub Copilot, was made generally available this week. Other competitors include Tabnine, which allows developers to train the code completion AI on their own code, and Kite Team Server, which supports more than a dozen languages, including JavaScript, Java and Go. Additional players in the AI code completion space include DeepMind's AlphaCode and IBM's Project CodeNet.

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