Today Replit announced ghost writer, an AI-powered coding assistant that can make suggestions to make coding easier. It runs in Replit’s online development environment and looks like GitHub co-pilot ability to recognize and compose code in various programming languages to speed up the development process.
According to Replit, Ghostwriter works using a large language model formed on millions of lines of publicly available code. This built-in data allows Ghostwriter to make suggestions based on what you’ve already typed while programming in Replit’s IDE. When you see a suggestion you like, you can “autocomplete” the code by pressing the Tab key.
Ghostwriter includes four main components: Complete Code (which analyzes what you’ve written and suggests next steps), Generate Code (which creates new code based on your suggestions), Transform Code (which helps you refactor or modernize code to bring it up to standards), and Explain the Code (which analyzes existing code and explains its function in natural language).
From our informal experiments with Replit’s IDE (conducted with a regular account that we registered), we found that Ghostwriter performed the tasks promised in the marketing copy, but not perfectly. In a few cases, autocomplete suggestions got stuck in a repetitive loop or produced code that would still need deep programming knowledge to fit into a project. Replit will likely refine Ghostwriter’s capabilities over time.
When reviewing Ghostwriter, we couldn’t help but notice similarities to GitHub Copilot, an AI coding assistant from Microsoft and OpenAI that has been made public. since July. Like Ghostwriter, Copilot suggests code that automatically completes itself by pressing the Tab key, offers natural language explanations, and translates the code.
For now, Ghostwriter does not replace raw pieces of programming. Rather, it could be viewed as an add-on to existing knowledge or as an automated assistant that could reduce the time you spend on sites like Stack Overflow while asking for help or studying sample code.
Replit makes its online IDE available in several projects which range from free to $7 per month, depending on how you plan to use it. Additionally, Ghostwriter is a subscription service that costs $10 (or 1,000 cycles) per month. The cycles are virtual tokens which represent the computing power on Replit’s cloud servers. Ghostwriter is available through the Replit website.