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GitHub's Copilot Chat enhances code quality and efficiency
Thu, 12th Oct 2023

GitHub, the world's leading AI-powered developer platform, has unveiled the results of its latest research on GitHub Copilot Chat. This innovative tool harnesses the power of natural language to provide real-time guidance and assistance to developers, all within their integrated development environment (IDE).

In the study, developers were introduced to GitHub Copilot Chat for the first time, and the outcomes were nothing short of remarkable. The quality of code, both in terms of authorship and review, demonstrated significant improvements.

Mario Rodriguez, VP of Product at GitHub, expressed his enthusiasm for these findings, stating, "We built GitHub Copilot and GitHub Copilot Chat to improve the lives of developers by helping them focus, keeping them in the flow, and empowering them to find more joy in their work. The results have shown that these AI tools are doing that and more."

Key findings from the research include:

  • Increased Confidence: An impressive 85% of developers reported feeling more confident in the quality of their code when using GitHub Copilot and GitHub Copilot Chat.
  • Efficiency Boost: Code reviews were not only more actionable but also completed 15% faster when GitHub Copilot Chat was employed.
  • Enhanced Flow State: A staggering 88% of developers maintained their flow state, experiencing increased focus, reduced frustration, and a greater enjoyment of coding with GitHub Copilot Chat.

GitHub's commitment to code quality is evident in its efforts to measure it. The platform employs a rubric of five metrics:

  • Readable: Code that is easy to read facilitates maintenance and documentation.
  • Reusable: Promoting code reuse fosters collaboration and consistency.
  • Concise: Less repetition in code enhances understanding and reduces errors.
  • Maintainable: Reducing dependencies ensures code longevity and reuse.
  • Resilient: Code that remains functional even in the presence of errors guarantees reliability.

The research sought to determine whether GitHub Copilot and its chatbot features would enhance perceived code quality, reduce code review time, and produce code that passed unit testing. The findings unequivocally demonstrated that developers felt their coding improved when using GitHub Copilot.

One senior software engineer at a Fortune 500 company noted, "The code was so clean, I could just look at the code, know what was going on, and bring it over fairly easily to my codebase. So, I felt the code quality was very clean and easy to understand."

GitHub Copilot Chat also had a remarkable impact on code reviews. Developers found that their code quality improved when using it, and these code reviews were 15% faster. A substantial percentage of comments were accepted, with almost 70% of participants embracing comments from reviewers using GitHub Copilot Chat.

These results underscore the potential of GitHub Copilot Chat to transform collaboration, especially within larger engineering teams in larger organizations. Reduced time spent on pull requests and code reviews allows developers to focus on high-priority changes. Moreover, starting with high-quality code eliminates the need for rollbacks and additional testing.

The benefits extended beyond code quality. Last year's research highlighted how developers felt more fulfilled and less frustrated with GitHub Copilot, allowing them to focus on more satisfying work. This year's study reinforced these findings, with 88% of participants experiencing reduced frustration and increased focus. Staying within the IDE meant less time searching and more time in the coveted flow state.

A senior systems validation engineer summed it up, saying, "Copilot Chat was a really useful tool for checking basic things without me needing to go to Google or Stack Overflow."

In conclusion, GitHub Copilot Chat's impact on code quality, efficiency, and developer satisfaction is undeniable. It is poised to revolutionize the way developers work, fostering a more enjoyable and productive coding experience. As GitHub continues to innovate, the future looks promising for developers worldwide.