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Kite intros code completion for JavaScript developers

Kite's AI-powered code completion technology helps make Python and JavaScript developers more productive with deep learning models that predict the next logical line of code in apps.

Kite, a software development tools startup specializing in AI and machine learning, has added code-completion capabilities for JavaScript developers.

San Francisco-based Kite's AI-powered code completion technology to JavaScript initially targeted Python developers. JavaScript is arguably the most popular programming language and Kite's move should be a welcome addition for JavaScript developers, as the technology can predict the next string of code they will write and complete it automatically.

"The use of AI is definitely making low-code even lower-code for sure, and no-code even more possible," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst at Cognilytica in Ellicott City, Md. "AI systems are really good at determining patterns, so you can think of them as really advanced wizard or templating systems that can try to determine what you're trying to do and suggest code or blocks or elements to complete your code."

Kite's Line-of-Code Completions feature uses advanced machine learning models to cut some of the mundane tasks that programmers perform to build applications, such as setting up build processes, searching for code snippets on Google, cutting and pasting boilerplate code from Stack Overflow, and repeatedly solving the same error messages, said Adam Smith, founder and CEO of Kite, in an interview.

Kite's JavaScript code completions are currently available in private beta and can suggest code a developer has previously used or tap into patterns found in open source code files, Smith said. The deep learning models used to inform the Kite knowledge base have been trained on more than 22 million open source JavaScript files, he said.

Kite aims to advance the code-completion art

Unlike other code completion capabilities, Kite features layers of filtering such that only the most relevant completion results are returned, rather than a long list of completions ranked by probability, Smith said. Moreover, Kite's completions work in .js, .jsx and .vue files and the system processes code locally on the user's computer, rather than sending code to a cloud server for processing.

Ronald Schmelzer, analyst, CognilyticaRonald Schmelzer

Kite's engineers took their time training the tool on the evergrowing JavaScript ecosystem and its frameworks, APIs and design patterns, Smith said. Thus, Kite works with popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks like React, Vue, Angular and Node.js. The system analyzes open source projects on GitHub and applies that data to machine learning models trained to predict the next word or words of code as programmers write in real time. This smarter programming environment makes it possible for developers to focus on what's unique about their application.

There are other tools that offer code completion capabilities, such as the IntelliCode feature in the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE. IntelliCode provides more primitive code completion than Kite, Smith claimed. IntelliCode is the next generation of Microsoft's older IntelliSense code completion technology. IntelliCode will predict the next word of code based on basic models, while Kite's tool uses richer, more advanced deep learning models trained to predict further ahead to whole lines, and even multiple lines of code, Smith said.

AI systems are really good at determining patterns, so you can think of them as really advanced wizard or templating systems that can try to determine what you're trying to do and suggest code or blocks or elements to complete your code.
Ronald SchmelzerAnalyst, Cognilytica

Moreover, Kite focuses on code completion, and not code correction, because programming code has to be exactly correct. For example, if you send someone a text with autocorrect errors, the tone of the message may still come across properly. But if you mistype a single letter of code, a program will not run.

Still, AI-powered code completion "Is still definitely a work in progress and much remains to be done, but OutSystems and others are also looking at AI-enabling their suites to deliver faster and more complete solutions in the low-code space," Schmelzer said.

In addition to the new JavaScript code completion technology, Kite also introduced Kite Pro, the company's first paid offering of code completions for Python powered by deep learning. Kite Pro provides features such as documentation in the Kite Copilot, which offers documentation for more than 800 Python libraries.

Kite works as a plugin for all of the most popular code editors, including Atom, JetBrains' PyCharm/IntelliJ/WebStorm, Spyder, Sublime Text 3, VS Code and Vim. The product is available on Mac, Windows and Linux.

The basic version of Kite is free; however, Kite Pro costs $16.60 per user, per month. Custom team pricing also is available for teams that contact the company directly, Smith said.

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