Full-Stack Development

GitHub Copilot: How I'm using it.

There are mixed feelings about GitHub Copilot. Many engineers love and use it daily, while others hate it and think it is harming the developer community.

Personally, I'm one who is really grateful for GitHub Copilot, and I use it pretty regularly.

So how do I use it?

Currently, I use GitHub Copilot chat more than GitHub Copilot autocomplete. For me, Chat has been a huge help as I try to understand a new code base and get quick answers to questions I have about how certain methods or features of a framework work.

I also find GitHub Copilot Chat to be super helpful for generating long, tedious information, like JSON examples, or generating documentation for an API. Using PHP Storm, with GitHub Copilot chat, I can quickly generate a Postman Collection for a group of API routes with a simple prompt.

How I use GitHub Copilot autocomplete is how I would use most autocomplete features. It is pretty fast and can complete things in a much longer format than other autocompletion features can.

Drawbacks of using GitHub Copilot

I'm a big fan of GitHub Copilot and can say without a doubt, it has saved me many hours in development time.

That being said, there are some drawbacks to GitHub Copilot. For one, it generates suggestions based on how you've written code before. This can be close to what you want, but you need to know what you are actually trying to accomplish before using GitHub copilot. Without knowing what you are doing, code can be generated that doesn't do anything like what you hope.

I also think with GitHub Copilot, I've not gained as much experience with the features of my code editor. It is harder to go back to using the editor without Copilot after using it for a while.

One thing that I don't like about GitHub Copilot autocomplete, is that when using a class from another file, the class is not imported automatically. I like traditional autocomplete for this reason, because with a simple tab click, classes can be imported quickly.


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