Wednesday 26 June 2019
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Microsoft’s AI-Assisted Intellicode; What You Need to Know

Microsoft’s AI-Assisted Intellicode; What You Need to Know

Artificial intelligence is coming everywhere — including your development environment. Microsoft’s new AI-assisted Intellicode will make programming faster and easier for developers, through AI-enabled suggestions. Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft’s new Visual Studio Intellicode.

Intellicode Suggestions, Powered by GitHub

Every machine-learning artificial intelligence needs sample data. Microsoft pulled thousands of coding examples from GitHub, to train its Intellicode system to identify commonplace practices and patterns. Thus, Intellicode doesn’t just know how programming should be done in theory. Instead, it knows how real programmers code in practice.

Intellicode provides suggestions based on pattern recognition and sample data. It is consequently able to determine what a programmer might be trying to do, identifying common errors and attempting to proactively anticipate what the programmer intends to do. Ultimately, Intellicode will make programming more streamlined and elegant, and hopefully save developers (and their companies) a substantial amount of time.

Only code specifically approved for use with Intellicode has been used by Intellicode, allowing programmers on Github to keep their privacy and security.

Available for Java, JavaScript, and TypeScript

Microsoft’s AI-assisted development environment supports multiple languages, including Java, JavaScript, and TypeScript. As the AI program has to learn each language, its syntax, and its usage, it can’t be applied to all common programming languages yet. However, it’s likely that Microsoft will continue to expand support for other languages, as the base technology is available.

Intellicode is available for JavaScript and TypeScript as an experimental extension, which means it’s still not intended for widespread, mainstream use. Programmers interested in testing it out can download it from the Visual Studios extensions library. Once installed, Intellicode recommendations will start appearing automatically based on context.

A Faster Method of Programming????

Intellicode uses artificial intelligence to augment suggestions as users type different function names, parameters, and more. Intellicode doesn’t supplant features of the development system, but is instead used to add prioritized suggestions where suggestions already existed. On the surface, Intellicode looks very much like any suggestion system.

The unique operations of Intellicode all occur in the background. Unlike existing recommendations, Intellicode uses context in order to determine which functions are most likely to be relevant. In many development environments, these recommendations will be purely based on spelling: the recommendations will only narrow as programmers continue to type. Intellicode identifies what the programmer is attempting to do and makes suggestions based on these actions. Intellicode is also able to operate over a number of different libraries, both on the client-side and server-side.

Intellicode is not yet able to learn from an individual programmer, though this may be something that could be coming to the suite in the future. It is intended to be used to improve Microsoft’s already existing technology, “Intellisense.” Intellisense is Microsoft’s existing code completion and code recommendation service, which is used to contextually list options along with parameter information and basic option information.

While we’re still a long way off from AI being able to write code on its own, Microsoft’s AI-assisted Intellicode is still an intriguing and useful tool. With Intellicode, programmers should be able to program more quickly, as relevant suggestions are provided to them regarding their current tasks. In the future, it’s possible Intellicode will also be able to learn from each programmer, identifying their own code practices, and making suggestions based on the tools they are most likely to use.

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