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Integrating Continue AI with VS Code to Boost Coding Efficiency

Integrate Continue AI with VS Code to boost coding efficiency and productivity. Learn setup, features, and benefits.
Continue AI

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to advance rapidly, developers are looking for ways to harness the power of Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-4 to boost productivity and creativity. To bring these cutting-edge capabilities directly into our coding environment Continue AI, an open-source tool, is designed. Continue AI is an extension for popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) such as Visual Studio Code and JetBrains. In this article, we will go through Continue AI and understand its integration with IDEs, key features, and benefits. We will also see how to use it in VS Code. 

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Continue AI
  2. Integration with IDEs
  3. Key Features and Benefits of Continue AI
  4. Integrating Continue AI to VS Code

Below, let’s understand Continue AI and how we can use it to enhance productivity. We will also see how we can integrate it with VS Code.

Understanding Continue AI

Continue AI allows developers to integrate LLMs into their existing workflows easily. With just a few clicks, you can select code, provide instructions in natural language, and use commands like ‘/edit’ to guide the AI in generating, improving, and explaining code sections.

One of Continue AI’s key innovations is its “steps” system. This system breaks down actions into small units that can be stacked and combined to handle even the most complex coding tasks. This approach makes it easy to experiment, iterate, and refine your code with the help of AI. The steps are executed on a server that acts as a bridge between the IDE and the graphical user interface, ensuring that AI processing happens easily in the background without slowing down the coding environment.

Continue AI is an open-source project at its core. This openness encourages community contributions and ensures that the tool remains adaptable to the changing needs of developers. The project has gained significant attention and support from the developer community.

Integration with IDEs

Continue AI offers tight integration with IDEs that developers use the most. Available as an extension for VS Code, it is easy to get started. It also provides a plugin for JetBrains IDEs like IntelliJ, PyCharm, and WebStorm, allowing developers to leverage its AI capabilities across a wide range of programming languages and frameworks.

VS Code:

JetBrains:

Source: Continue AI

Key Features and Benefits of Continue AI

Streamlining the AI Coding Process

Many developers use Continue AI to make LLMs like ChatGPT more efficient for coding. Continue AI removes the need to jump between various tools and programs by letting these models operate freely within the IDE while we finish coding. By letting AI do tedious or complicated jobs, this integration can help developers save some time and finish the job early.

Autocompletion

Continue AI excels in providing real-time code autocompletion. This helps developers write and optimize code more efficiently, reduces complex load, and minimizes workflow interruptions. 

Contextual Assistance

Developers can highlight code sections and ask questions directly within the IDE. This interaction provides immediate feedback and helps them understand and debug complex codebases. 

Customization and Control

Unlike traditional AI tools that often function as black boxes, Continue AI upholds transparency and hackability. Developers can create custom commands, manage context from various sources, and integrate different LLMs, including those hosted locally or on private infrastructure. This ensures that developers retain control over their development data and processes.

Continue AI also offers enterprise solutions that enable entire engineering teams to use their capabilities. These solutions include enhanced data collection and feedback mechanisms, ensuring that the LLMs are always up-to-date and tailored to the team’s needs. This enterprise focus helps organizations stay at the forefront of AI-driven development practices. 

Integrating Continue AI to VS Code

We will now see how to get and use Continue AI in VS Code.


Step 1: In VS Code, open the extensions marketplace, and in the search bar at the top, type ”Continue AI” to find and install the Continue AI extension.

Step 2: After installing the extension, we may need to configure it. Open the settings and search for ‘Continue AI’  to find configuration options specific to the extension. Configure settings such as API keys, preferred models, and other customization options as needed. This setup ensures that Continue AI integrates seamlessly with your development workflow.

Step 3: Highlight the code where we need assistance. We can use natural language to guide the AI.

Step 4: 

  1. To ask a query or to give commands on a selected code, select the code and use cmd+L. It will open a prompt space where the selected code will be attached. We can then give any command we want.

Give the command: “Explain the following code.” 

  1. To edit a code, select the code and press cmd+I. This will open a prompt space. Mention the edit we want to do and press enter. This will edit the code accordingly. Use keyboard shortcuts to accept [Cmd+Shift+Enter] or reject [Cmd+Shift+Backspace] the edit.

Let us try giving the command: “Change x to y.”

  1. To find the error in the code, select the code and then press cmd+L or cmd+I and then press cmd+shift+R.

Thus, Continue AI helps us understand, edit, or find mistakes in code very easily. We can also configure settings such as adding the API key safely and choosing the preferred model.

Conclusion

Continue AI represents a significant development in software development tools. It combines the power of AI with the flexibility of open-source development. It offers a robust solution for developers seeking to enhance their productivity and control over their coding environment. As AI continues to evolve, tools like Continue AI will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping its future.

References

  1. Continue AI Documentation
  2. Continue AI: GitHub Repo

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Shreepradha Hegde

Shreepradha is an accomplished Associate Lead Consultant at AIM, showcasing expertise in AI and data science, specifically Generative AI. With a wealth of experience, she has consistently demonstrated exceptional skills in leveraging advanced technologies to drive innovation and insightful solutions. Shreepradha's dedication and strategic mindset have made her a valuable asset in the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence and data science.

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