Three months ago, GitHub launched Copilot Chat, its ChatGPT-like programming-centric chatbot, out of private preview by making it available to organizations with a Copilot for Business subscription. Today, it’s taking this a step further by also opening up the Copilot Chat beta to all current GitHub Copilot for Individual subscribers in Visual Studio and VS Code. Copilot for individual users costs $10/month and Copilot Chat is a free addition to the existing subscription.
Like similar chatbots, Copilot Chat lives in a sidebar of the IDE and developers can use it for multiturn conversations about coding in general, but more importantly, they can also ask about the code they are currently working on in the IDE. It’s the context, GitHub said when the chat experience first launched, that makes Copilot a more useful tool than a general-purpose chat assistant would be.
“Integrated together, GitHub Copilot Chat and the GitHub Copilot pair programmer form a powerful AI-assistant capable of helping every developer build at the speed of their minds in the natural language of their choice,” writes Shuyin Zhao, VP of Product Management, GitHub, in today’s announcement. “We believe this cohesion will form the new centerpiece of the software development experience, fundamentally reducing boilerplate work and designating natural language as a new universal programming language for every developer on the planet.”
GitHub notes that some of the common use cases for Copilot Chat are real-time guidance to suggest best practices, tips and solutions tailored to the code a developer is currently working on, help with code analysis and fixing security issues — all without having to switch away from the IDE.
In today’s announcement, Zhao notes that GitHub wants to enable “natural language as a new universal programming language” that will democratize software development. That’s a theme we’ve heard from GitHub in recent months and something its CEO Thomas Dohmke has been talking about quite a bit. Because Dohmke is a guest at our Disrupt conference in San Francisco today, we’ll ask him about that — and more — during our onstage interview.