Oracle Code Assist: Transforming Software Development with AI

DateMay 9, 2024

Oracle has unveiled its latest innovation aimed at enhancing the productivity of developers worldwide. Oracle Code Assist, an AI-driven coding companion, is set to transform the landscape of software development by providing context-specific coding suggestions that are optimized for Java, SQL, and application development on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

Oracle Code Assist is engineered to boost developer velocity and ensure code consistency by leveraging large language models (LLMs) that have been specifically trained to understand and integrate an organization’s coding practices and base code. The tool is expected to be versatile, capable of updating, upgrading, and refactoring code across most modern programming languages.

AI-powered tools are increasingly becoming a staple in the software development life cycle (SDLC), where they contribute to the conception, creation, testing, and management of software, stated Oracle. Oracle Code Assist aims to epitomize this trend by facilitating each step of the SDLC. This includes providing code snippets, conducting dependency analysis, offering error mitigation alternatives, creating test cases, and assisting in annotation, summarization, and documentation.

The tool will be available as a development environment plugin for popular platforms such as JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA and Microsoft Visual Studio Code. It is designed to provide expert, opinionated feedback that helps developers optimize and enhance applications for any operational environment.

The Java Platform

According to Arnal Dayaratna, Research Vice President at IDC, ‘Developers will be able to use Oracle Code Assist to quickly upgrade entire Java applications to newer versions. This ability to rapidly upgrade Java using a coding assistant significantly increases the ability of enterprises to improve application resilience and performance, incorporate the latest JDK features and bolster their security posture.”

Oracle Code Assist is also poised to streamline database upgrades, particularly the refactoring and testing of complex, often customized PL/SQL code which can be both time-consuming and costly. Given the widespread use of Java and databases in enterprise environments, the tool is expected to see broad adoption across major global organizations.

Oracle, known for its stewardship of the Java platform and its pioneering work in the relational database industry, has trained Oracle Code Assist on a vast repository of software developed over decades. This training includes fine-tuning with OCI’s service APIs, coding patterns, and Oracle’s own software development best practices from Java, SQL, OCI, and NetSuite’s SuiteScript, making it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications and deployment environments.

Aanand Krishnan, Vice President of Product Management at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, emphasized the strategic advantages of the new tool. “Custom applications are how organizations globally differentiate themselves, but developing, deploying, and maintaining these applications is labor-intensive and time-consuming. With Oracle Code Assist, developers can increase their work velocity and code consistency, which improves the long-term maintenance of applications in a safe, rigorous, and compliant manner.”

Key Oracle Code Assist Capabilities

Among the capabilities of Oracle Code Assist are:

Code Generation – Automatically generates code based on learned context and patterns. This feature allows developers to quickly create class files, methods, or lines of code, significantly reducing the time spent on writing and debugging.Code Annotation – Enhances the documentation process by generating descriptions of API functionalities, which are essential for the maintenance of applications.Code Explainability – Provides a plain language summary of the code, assisting developers in understanding, reviewing, or refactoring existing code.Faster Code Reviews – Automates the code review process by initiating pull requests and recommending changes based on performance and quality guidelines.Test Coverage Generation – Develops comprehensive unit and functional tests that improve test quality and coverage.

In addition to these features, Oracle Code Assist offers tailored suggestions that align with an organization’s specific coding frameworks, internal libraries, and best practices. It also includes automated language upgrades, robust code analysis, and optimization suggestions tailored for OCI, ensuring that applications not only run smoothly but also comply with organizational and industry standards.

Currently, Oracle developers are using Oracle Code Assist to build new products and services, with plans to make the tool available to Oracle customers in the near future. This development would mark a significant step forward in the integration of AI with traditional software development processes, promising enhanced efficiency and innovation.

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