If you’re looking for a new AI pair programmer for your next web development project, you may be wondering which tool will work best for you (Software developer) and your team. While having so many options is excellent, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each type of AI pair programmer can be overwhelming.
Last year, I got a chance to explore two excellent pair programmers.
1- Github Copilot – Your AI Pair Programmer
2- Tabnine – AI Assistant For Software Developers
This article will demonstrate the difference between Copilot & Tabnine.
Table of Contents
GitHub Copilot is a new GitHub and OpenAI service that bills itself as “Your AI pair programmer.”
It is an AI-powered code completion tool and a Visual Studio Code plugin for software developers that create code for them depending on the current file’s contents and their cursor location.
It truly feels fantastic to use. For example, in this case, I’ve entered the name and docstring of a function that should “Write text to file fname“: Copilot totally wrote the grey body of the function for me! So I press a key on my keyboard, and the idea is accepted and incorporated into my code.
This is far from being the first “AI-powered” software synthesis tool.
In 2018, GitHub’s Natural Language Semantic Code Search proved how to identify code samples using plain English descriptions.
For some years, Tabnine has offered “AI-driven” code completion. Tabnine & Copilot both can produce whole multi-line functions, as well as documentation and tests, depending on the full context of a code file.
This is very exciting for us at fast.ai since it offers the prospect of lowering the barrier to coding, which would be highly beneficial to our objective. As a result, I was especially eager to dig into Copilot. However, as we’ll see, I’m still not sure that Copilot is a boon. It might even end up becoming a curse.
You will have to pay $10 per month to access GitHub Copilot now that it is available to all developers.
Some people believe that GitHub Copilot is outstanding, worth paying for, powerful, and will evolve into a great tool in the future.
However, many people are dissatisfied with this since it is taught using free source code; typical users must now pay to utilize it. This business concept is terrible. Can’t Microsoft provide a corporate version with additional functionality while leaving a free restricted version for regular developers?
Regardless, GitHub Copilot is now a premium service with limited options, but some alternatives exist, such as Tabnine.
What is Tabnine
Tabnine, on the other hand, is an AI coding assistant that helps you become a better coder. With real-time code completion of the project in all of the most common coding languages and IDEs, it will boost your development pace.
Tabnine Protects Your Code Privacy
Tabnine NEVER STORES OR SHARE YOUR CODE.
It trains its publicly available AI models on open-source code that is licensed permissively.
Github Copilot or Tabnine, Which One Is Better
- Tabnine is an AI code completion tool that is based on the Open AI concept & has far more capabilities than Copilot.
- Both offer code completion based on machine learning; but The architecture of Copilot is monolithic, with “one model to rule them all.” Due to the massive amount of computing resources required for training and inference, it is also completely centralised – only Microsoft can train the model and only Microsoft can host the model.
- Tabnine, on the other hand, prefers individualised language models that collaborate after thoroughly evaluating models of various sizes. Why? Because code prediction is a collection of distinct sub-problems that do not lend themselves to the monolithic model approach.
- Tabnine an AI-powered code auto-completion tool discovered that combining specialised models significantly improves the precision and length of suggestions for their 1M+ users.
A significant advantage of Tabnine’s approach is that it can use the appropriate tool for any code prediction task, and for most purposes, Tabnine’s smaller models provide excellent predictions quickly and efficiently.
- Copilot predictions are exclusively Cloud-based, and Tabnine predictions are both locally and cloud-based. GPU, as well as in the cloud, where your code is uploaded, is removed after processing. This is about having the option to process your code in the cloud or not.
- Copilot now only predicts in a few major languages, Tabnine supports over 30 programming languages.
- Copilot is available exclusively for Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio, JetBrains IDE, and Neovim. Tabnine, on the other hand, is compatible with a wide range of editors, including Visual Studio Code, vim, emacs, jupyter, JetBrains editors, Android Studio, sublime text and many more.
- The most significant difference, for now, is that Copilot is still in the testing phase, and much of the code it suggests has not been tested; they even report that the code it predicts may become code with errors or security flaws, in contrast to Tabnine, which is already in production and, in short, already offers what Copilot proposes.
- Tabnine an AI-powered code auto-completion tool provides a private model trained on your code while Github Copilot doesn’t.
- Github Copilot has 3+ integration, whereas Tabnine has 21 integrations.
- Tabnine, Instead of creating a sizeable global model that runs across several programming languages, as Github Copilot does, makes smaller models tailored to each developer’s needs.
With so many tools in the market, how do you know which one is best for your specific use case or skill set?
I recommend you to read this thread by Tabnine CEO. A comprehensive comparison of Tabnine and Copilot.
What Are The Alternatives To Github Copilot
Tabnine has been used a lot in the last year, with Tabnine being the one I use the most these days and a great aid while developing production code. I change editors and work in different languages, AI, etc. It is really evident in an increase in productivity, and the users enjoy the strategy for handling personal data.
The fact that there are more tools to improve developer productivity is fantastic, and the leverage of AI technology is even better. I love that it is becoming more popular and that many devs can boost their productivity.
However, by improving the capacity to write spotless and efficient code, educated by hundreds of thousands of developers, these platforms can be permanently benefitted.
In response to the statement “Who watches the watchmen?” I’d want you to consider the following: “Who will automate the automation?” Don’t get me wrong, I like the notion of having a tool that helps me be more productive; again, I use Tabnine, which is why I draw the analogy, but when I see Microsoft, a large corporation, entering into this, I can’t help but be skeptical.
However, it’s a beautiful moment to be a developer; there have been many breakthroughs in coding, and for the time being, we still create the code ourselves rather than having it generated by a machine. And, as I see it become more widespread, I will provide more information about it in the future.
Why Are Developers Choosing Tabnine over GitHub Copilot
- Copilot queries the model only infrequently and suggests a snippet or a full line of code. Copilot does not recommend code in the middle of the line because its AI model is not well suited for this purpose but Tabnine also suggests full snippets or lines of code, but AI flows with you, so the number of code suggestions accepted is much higher when using Tabnine.
- Tabnine can train a private AI model on specific code from customers’ GitLab/GitHub/BitBucket repositories, whereas Copilot uses a single universal AI model.
- The Copilot model cannot be trained or run by users but Users can run the model on the Tabnine cloud, locally on the developer machine, or on a self-hosted server using Tabnine (with Tabnine Enterprise).
- Unlike Copilot, developers can use Tabnine within their firewall without exposing any code to the internet.
- Microsoft currently only provides Copilot as a commercial product for developers, with no free plan; Tabnine has a fantastic free plan.
Copilot may benefit languages like Go with many boilerplate but minimal meta-programming capability. (As a result, many people now use templated code generation with Go.) It may also be valuable for experienced programmers working in foreign languages because it may help with basic syntax and point to library functions and common idioms.
However, Copilot is now charging for its free services, and customers are unsure if the benefits are worth the money.
Users are increasingly turning to alternatives, one of which is Tabnine.
If young developers are working alone, Tabnine offers a free edition. Tabnine will NEVER store or disclose your code. Any activity that involves sharing your code with Tabnine servers for the purpose of training team models necessitates express consent. So it appears to be the better option.
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