By Jeff Carson, Sr. Director of Presales Architecture, ClearScale

A new type of developer tool has emerged recently that is changing how software engineers code – the AI coding companion. AI coding companions are software programs that can generate code suggestions based on code comments or existing code requests. Today’s AI coding companions can write functions, make API calls, and even spin up website pages in seconds. As the technology improves, AI coding companions can fulfill increasingly complex, discrete software development tasks with minimal user input.

AI coding companions are possible because of recent advances in machine learning and large language model (LLM) technology. On the machine learning side, coding companion developers have been able to train these programs with billions of lines of code. And then LLM technology is what gives them natural language processing capabilities that make interacting with AI coding companions incredibly easy.

Amazon CodeWhisperer is Amazon’s coding companion service that is easy to install, easy to use, and can help build applications faster and more securely with AI. CodeWhisperer is a powerful service that can not only generate high-quality code from natural language such as comments but also ensure secure development along the way. CodeWhisperer is an important tool to have in the toolkit, especially at a time when organizations are looking to accelerate development lifecycles and increase engineering productivity.

What Can Amazon CodeWhisperer Do?

Amazon CodeWhisperer’s primary function is to generate code in real time based on instructions or task descriptions given by users in the comment form. The code that CodeWhisperer outputs could be short snippets or longer functions. The service looks at users’ comments and existing code to determine the correct course of action. CodeWhisperer also can highlight code that is based on open-source training data. This allows developers to quickly review external sources and add necessary attributions.

Of course, what makes CodeWhisperer stand out compared to other AI coding companions is that it integrates seamlessly with other AWS services. CodeWhisperer is optimized for working with AWS APIs, which is how cloud engineers tap into any service, from Amazon S3 and AWS Lambda to Amazon EC2, and Amazon DynamoDB. CodeWhisperer will even analyze code and make suggestions on AWS cloud services that could be useful.

Although CodeWhisperer can be used by non-developers, the tool makes the most sense for engineers who can review and validate CodeWhisperer’s outputs. The service is free to use by individuals and offers unlimited coding recommendations.

How Does Amazon CodeWhisperer Improve Code Security?

When it comes to security, CodeWhisperer can find vulnerabilities or problematic code written in Java, JavaScript, and Python. It can determine when code does not live up to current security best practices, even for code that wasn’t generated by CodeWhisperer.

Engineering teams can also control access to CodeWhisperer through a single sign-on interface, as well as use AWS IAM to manage how different users or groups with users interact with the tool. Furthermore, organizations working on machine learning applications can lean on Amazon CodeWhisperer to identify possible biases in their code. Removing such biases is paramount for ensuring products released to the public are fair.

How Does Amazon CodeWhisperer Improve Developer Productivity?

Another area where Amazon CodeWhisperer shines is in how it helps developers write better code at a faster rate. Engineers can customize CodeWhisperer so that it is aware of certain libraries, packages, APIs, classes, and functions. This enables CodeWhisperer to make relevant suggestions to developers on how to improve their code.

I was personally surprised by how drastically it accelerated my personal coding efforts in Python 3.11. I quickly found myself relying on it to generate code I could have written from scratch, as I realized the time savings it afforded me over typing it out by hand. My assumption was that there would be a gain, but I quickly found CodeWhisperer a true companion to my coding efforts that I could rely on.

CodeWhisperer also works with 15 programming languages, including many of today’s most popular, such as Python, JavaScript, and Java. Engineers can integrate the service with their preferred IDE, including JupyterLab, Visual Code, and Amazon SageMaker for more intense machine learning use cases.

According to AWS, developers who used CodeWhisperer during the company’s preview of the service were 27% more likely to succeed and 57% faster on average at executing the task at hand. Over the long term, results like these can translate into immense value creation for the organization.

Incorporate Amazon CodeWhisperer into Your Software Engineering Practice with ClearScale

At ClearScale, we help organizations take full advantage of the AWS cloud to achieve ambitious business goals. This often includes working with teams to incorporate new AWS products and services into existing cloud environments. Tools like Amazon CodeWhisperer can also be the impetus for companies to finally migrate to the cloud.

If your development team is looking to boost productivity, reduce risk, and increase engineering speed, CodeWhisperer is the answer. Coupled with all that AWS is doing on the Generative AI front (link to a GenAI resource), CodeWhisperer could be another way to gain a competitive edge in fast-changing industries. ClearScale’s AWS application development services can help you get there.

Schedule a call with one of our cloud engineers or solutions architects to learn more about what it could look like for you to start using Amazon CodeWhisperer in your organization today.

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