Back in July, the Microsoft-owned software developer service GitHub launched a limited beta test of its GitHub Copilot Chat chatbot feature. In September, the beta version was made available for all of GitHub’s individual developers. Later it revealed it would be generally available in December.
Today, just a few days before the end of December (and the end of 2023 as well), GitHub Copilot Chat has finally entered the general availability stage. In a blog post, the company said both individual users and organizations can access the service on all of GitHub’s paid plans, with support for both Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio.
In addition to the paid plans, GitHub Copilot Chat can now be accessed by confirmed teachers, students, and creators of popular open-source projects for free,
GitHub Copilot Chat is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 large language model. As with other chatbots, it’s designed to allow users to type in text prompts so they can answer questions and even generate code for software projects.
GitHub’s support pages offer more information on what the chatbot can do and cannot do. For example, GitHub Copilot Chat can help explain code in a project to developers and offer suggestions for improvements to that code. It can also generate programming snippets based on the code in the software editor, or any code that the developer highlights.
The chatbot can also look for any errors in a developer’s code, and suggest fixes for those issues. It can also answer any questions a developer might have about coding, fixes, and more.
GitHub does note some of the limitations of Copilot Chat. For example, it may not be as well versed about lesser-used coding languages and structures. Also, if you just want to ask GitHub Copilot Chat about questions or subjects that have nothing to do with coding, you will find that it may come up with answers that are “irrelevant or nonsensical” or it may choose not to answer those kinds of questions at all.