Everything you need to know about GitHub Copilot Workspace

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GitHub is building on the success of its existing Copilot offering with the release of a technical preview for ‘GitHub Copilot Workspace’, a comprehensive code development ecosystem built to aid developers. 

In Copilot Workspace, developers are able to utilize generative AI to assist them in every stage of the development lifecycle, the company revealed, from brainstorming and ideation to planning, building, testing, and ultimately running code. 

As with GitHub Copilot, all of these processes are performed in natural language, giving users a “task-centric experience” that leverages different Copilot agents throughout different development processes. 

“We are reimagining the nature of the developer experience itself,” CEO of GitHub Thomas Dohmke said. “Copilot Workspace represents a radically new way of building software with natural language.”

The tool is designed to enhance developer creativity and not to replace it, Dohmke added, noting that the platform aims to “empower” experienced developers while simultaneously lowering barriers to entry for new coders. 

Though the company shared a glimpse of this product at the GitHub Universe conference in 2023, GitHub now has a more concrete preview to share with the world, fit with demonstrable features and functions.  

GitHub Copilot Workspace has developer workflow at its core 

GitHub’s new workspace offering strives to be present at every stage in the development process, the company said, from the beginning of an idea to the finalization of a project. 

As such, Workspace claims to meet developers “right at the origin”, a GitHub Repository or a GitHub Issue, levering Copilot agents to assist developers in getting through the initial stages of development.  

“For developers, the greatest barrier to entry is almost always at the beginning. Think of how often you hit a wall in the first steps of a big project, feature request, or even bug report, simply because you don’t know how to get started,” Dohmke said.

Copilot Workspace can then assist the user in creating a plan by leveraging its “deep” understanding of the codebase, providing a developer with the necessary tools to validate the plan and test the code. 

The plan is created in natural language and is entirely editable, giving developers the option to make adjustments and check them within the workspace. 

“All that’s left then is to file your pull request, run your GitHub Actions, security code scanning, and ask your team members for human code review,” Dohmke said.

Integration and collaboration are key to Workspace 

GitHub places the focus of its offering on inter-team collaboration and user integration into the wider GitHub community.

Developers can, for example, collaboratively share workspaces with their team members through a link. Other members of the team can then analyze a developer's workflow as well as offer their own contributions or suggestions. 

GitHub itself is also already a popular environment for developers, and the firm said it’s accelerating to a future where “one billion people on GitHub will control a machine just as easily as they ride a bicycle”.

Copilot Workspace is therefore built into a huge and ever-growing community of existing developers, offering integration to those who want a seamless experience across both their AI code assistant and their developer community. 

In a similar vein, Copilot Workspace is mobile-compatible, allowing developers an even further level of workflow integration.

“This is our mark on the future of the development environment: an intuitive, Copilot-powered infrastructure that makes it easier to get started, to learn, and ultimately to execute,” Dohmke said.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.