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increasing development velocity with generative AI coding assistants

Generative AI coding assistants can significantly increase development velocity in multiple ways.

Table of Contents

  • What is Developer Velocity?
  • GenAI Coding Assistants
  • GenAI Increases Velocity
  • Sonar and AI Coding Assistants

What is Developer Velocity?

Developer velocity refers to speed and efficiency with which developers can create, modify, and deploy high-quality code. It is about enabling developers to complete their roles as efficiently and rapidly as they can while maintaining the quality of their finished work. 


Boosting developer velocity can be achieved by incorporating efficient code development tools, automatic code analysis, and techniques, such as automation, code completion tools, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. 


High developer velocity leads to faster time to market, increased productivity, boosted team morale, and enhanced business agility for competitive advantage and market responsiveness.

What are Generative AI Coding Assistants? 

Generative AI coding assistants, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, help software engineers with many parts of coding and development. They use Machine Learning (ML) models. 


These Large Language Models (LLMs) are typically trained on big datasets of code and natural language; to create code, recommend improvements, and automate various operations. These tools go beyond traditional code completion by generating entire code snippets or segments based on natural language prompts or partial code inputs. 


Examples of Generative AI coding assistants include GitHub Copilot, which is built on OpenAI's Codex model, and various other tools that leverage advanced language models to facilitate code creation.


While these tools offer valuable support, it's essential to do a thorough code review and understand the generated code to ensure it aligns with their project requirements, coding quality standards, and security considerations.


How can Generative AI Coding Assistants Increase Development Velocity? 

Generative AI coding assistants can significantly increase development velocity in multiple ways:

Rapid Prototyping an Idea 

AI-generated code swiftly produces code snippets, algorithms, and complete modules from high-level descriptions. This functionality enables developers to quickly convert ideas into actual prototypes which results in faster iteration and creativity.


Developers can use this to enhance creative problem-solving by taking several solutions to a single problem and reviewing the ways it could be applied in the specific use case. A developer can submit a prompt in the form of a problem statement and get a variety of algorithmic techniques or design patterns that could be applied to the issue. 


This wide variety of options promotes creative problem-solving and assists in exploring different possibilities that may not be immediately evident. The developer can take the simple version of that code and further adapt and merge. 

Accelerated Conceptualization

Since AI can rapidly convert broad concepts into functional code, developers can devote more time to conceptualizing innovative projects and designs. Using AI prompts, a developer may explain a needed function for code in natural language and the AI-generated code would produce what is necessary to create the needed code. 


This quick translation from thought to execution greatly increases the initial conceptualization. 

Repetitive Tasks

There are many parts of coding that are recurring and monotonous. AI coding assistants may automate processes such as boilerplate code setup or environment configuration. 


Creating boilerplate code is a typical and ongoing process in software development which can pushed off to AI coding assistants. They can automatically generate this code by using predefined templates for prevalent coding patterns, classes, or functions. 


This can save developers time and also code standardization. 

Iterative Development and Feedback Loop

With AI coding assistants, the cycle of development may be decreased because of the rapid creation of code. This means an increase in the volume of code generated, both from the speed of output of the code generation AI tools and from the diversified participation of individuals in the development process. 


This can contribute significantly to code reviews, testing, and feedback. Using a solution like SonarQube or SonarCloud will help facilitate instant feedback and automated code reviews to ensure the produced code is Clean, and living up to company coding standards. 

Language and Framework Agnostic

A good percentage of AI coding assistants are not limited to a specific programming language or framework. They can create prototypes in a variety of languages or frameworks, providing flexibility and the freedom to select the right tool for the job at hand. 


This can help developers comprehend and write code in several languages. This ability is especially useful in diverse environments where developers may be more skilled in different programming languages. 


Using  Sonar Solution, which covers over 30+ programming languages, can help support developers' efforts in this area. 

Processing Complex Concepts

Even though the most up-to-date AI coding assistants may not be able to process complex code well, they could still be utilized to simulate certain scenarios that help the developers troubleshoot and comprehend the consequences of specific coding choices. 


This may help the developer process and simplify the solution to the problem code they are facing. 

Development Tool Integration

Coding AI assistants such as GitHub Copilot and Amazon CodeWhisperer are available as IDE (Integrated Development Environments) extensions. As add-ons,  AI-code generation becomes a natural part of the developers’ workflow, increasing productivity without causing too many interruptions. 


To maximize the code quality of AI-generated code, SonarLint IDE extension can check the code being developed on the fly and help you find and fix issues right away in your local environment. This combination of using SonarLint alongside AI coding assistant in the IDE ensures the code being developed is of high quality.

Documentation

AI coding assistants can help generate and update technical documentation which is generally a tedious task. Ensuring documentation is correct and up-to-date is critical for proper project management and scalability. 


AI code assistants can help with explaining and documenting your code by producing code comments that describe what the section is supposed to do and how it is integrated into the larger project. This enables you, and others, to better understand the code that was produced.  

Sonar and AI Coding Assistants

AI coding assistants can help drastically increase development velocity and productivity but there will still be a need to review and ensure the generated code is of high quality and functions as expected. To extract maximum value from AI in code generation, organizations must establish tools, processes, and metrics that prioritize code quality, security, and reliability. 


By utilizing the Sonar solution, developers can use automated code reviews to ensure the generated code is clean, works as expected, and complies with the coding standards. 


SonarLint, in tandem with SonarQube or SonarCloud, transforms your code review process, ensuring AI-generated code is as clean and secure as possible. By seamlessly integrating into your development workflow, the Sonar solution proactively identifies and assists in rectifying code quality and security issues in real time. 


This is the most trustworthy way to effectively navigate and mitigate the risks inherent in AI code generation.


Sonar enables development teams to reduce risk, ensure code quality, and extract more value from code written by both AI and humans in a predictable and sustainable manner. Sonar's solutions provide the most effective and reliable way to implement AI code creation. 


Contact us to learn more about Sonar's solution