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Google launches Project IDX, a cloud-based AI development environment

The IDX project is a nice sandbox where Google demonstrates the power of artificial intelligence to developers.

Google today announced the launch of Project IDX, an AI-enabled browser-based development environment for building rich web and multi-platform applications. It currently supports frameworks such as Angular, Flutter, Next.js, React, Svelte, and Vue, and languages ​​such as JavaScript and Dart, while support for Python, Go, and more is under development.

When creating IDX, Google did not create a new IDE. Instead, Visual Studio Code – Open Source is used as the basis for the project. This certainly allowed the team to focus on integrating with Codey , the Google PaLM 2 base model for programming tasks. Thanks to Codey, IDX supports smart code completion, a chatbot like ChatGPT/Bard that can help developers with both general coding questions and questions specific to the code you’re working on (including the ability to explain it), as well as the ability to add contextual actions with the code, such as “add comments”.

“We spend a lot of time writing code, and recent advances in artificial intelligence have opened up a lot of opportunities to make this time more productive,” explains the IDX team in their post today . “Through the IDX project, we are exploring how Google’s AI innovations, including the Codey and PaLM 2 models used in Studio Bot on Android Studio, Duet on Google Cloud, and other projects, can help you not only code faster, but also write better.”

Not surprisingly, Project IDX, being a cloud IDE, integrates with Google’s own Firebase Hosting (and Google Cloud Functions) and allows developers to pull existing code from a GitHub repository. Each workspace has access to a Linux-based virtual machine and, soon, built-in Android and iOS simulators right in the browser.

While GitHub Copilot, Amazon CodeWhisperer, and others offer similar AI features for programming, Google, focusing on full-featured development, gives this topic a slightly different meaning. GitHub and Amazon also offer cloud development environments: Codespaces and AWS Cloud9. But Google offers its plugins for Cloud Code IDE , with the help of which Codey can be implemented in almost all popular development environments. The IDX project is a nice sandbox where Google demonstrates the power of artificial intelligence to developers, but it’s not yet clear whether it will turn into a full-fledged IDE that developers want to use in their projects.