Amazon announces general availability of CodeWhisperer

Amazon has decided to provide its AI-based coding assistant at no cost for individual developers, which is a competitive move against its Microsoft-developed counterpart which charges $10 per month. The Code Whisperer tool is now available to everyone who signs up to use it, announced Amazon.

Last year, Amazon launched CodeWhisperer as a preview. Which developers can use within various integrated development environments (IDEs), like Visual Studio Code, to generate lines of code based on a text-based prompt. Although initially, exclusive to Amazon Web Services users, the recently introduced free tier of the AI-based coding assistant should upgrade its accessibility for developers who are not AWS subscribers.

In a blog post, Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, said the goal of CodeWhisperer is to make software developers more productive.

Barr said CodeWhisperer analyses several signals to suggest appropriate bits of code, including cursor location, preceding code, comments, and code in other project files. The software, he said, is trained on billions of lines of code in open-source repositories, internal Amazon repos, API docs, and online forums.

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CodeWhisperer also understands how AWS services work and so is capable of generating potentially useful suggestions for those building on the AWS platform. The preview version of CodeWhisperer can deal with code in Python, Java, and JavaScript, in the context of VS Code, IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, WebStorm, or AWS Cloud9.

“CodeWhisperer will continually examine your code and your comments, and present you with syntactically correct recommendations,” said Barr.

“The recommendations are synthesized based on your coding style and variable names, and are not simply snippets.”

CodeWhisperer offers various functionalities to upgrade the coding experience for developers. Along with filtering out potentially biased or unfair code suggestions and flagging code that favours open-source training data, it also has security scanning features which detect vulnerabilities in a developer’s code and suggest solutions. Moreover, CodeWhisperer also now supports various programming languages, including Python, Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, C#, Go, Rust, PHP, Ruby, Kotlin, C, C++, Shell scripting, SQL, and Scala.

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Compared to Amazon’s AI-powered coding assistant, GitHub’s Copilot tool was launched earlier in June 2021. However, while Copilot generates and recommends code within an IDE, it is only free for students and developers working on popular open-source projects. All other users are necessary to pay a monthly fee of $10 or an annual fee of $100. Furthermore, DeepMind, a division of Google, has its own AlphaCode tool, but it is still in the testing phase.

Amazon recently revealed another AI-related development, the launch of Bedrock, which facilitates the creation and expansion of generative AI applications for companies. Bedrock offers a range of foundational models (FMs), such as Anthropic’s Claude, Stable Diffusion, and Amazon Titan, which developers can build upon to generate text, answer queries, create summaries, and perform other tasks. This feature is expected to simplify the process of creating AI-powered tools for third-party entities.

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