GitHub Copilot speeding up developers work
Software Development

GitHub Copilot speeding up developers work by 30% – a case study

date: 16 April 2024
reading time: 6 min

In this article we explore GitHub Copilot and show how we use it within our diverse portfolio of projects, both external and internal.

In the contemporary business landscape, enterprises continually seek avenues to optimise value delivery while effectively harnessing all available resources.

What is GitHub Copilot?

Before we go any deeper, let’s check what GitHub Copilot – a powerful AI coding support tool developed through a partnership between GitHub and OpenAI – really is.

GitHub Copilot functions as an AI companion programmer, providing autocomplete-style suggestions for writing code.

The suggestions and code snippets can be accessed by either initiating the code or by crafting a natural language comment outlining the intended functionality.

GitHub Copilot’s primary function is to interpret users’ intentions expressed in natural language and translate them into code, making it comprehensible for computers. Additionally, it possesses the capability to translate code across various programming languages.

Exploring market trends related to Generative AI

When it comes to Generative AI, at Future Processing we focus on exploring the possibilities of using it in various tasks and internal processes, while continuing to gather experience in commercial projects.

We constantly test our solutions and their effectiveness, we also draw conclusions and learn how to best use the potential of artificial intelligence for us and our clients.

Summary of a Future Processing project of implementing GitHub Copilot for commercial projects

Last fall, we started implementing GitHub Copilot for commercial projects across the company.

It was introduced only to the design teams and clients that were willing to use the tool. After some time, we asked what our developers thought about the tool and how it impacted their work. Here’s what we found out!

  • 43% of people from project teams use Copilot on a daily basis.
  • 30% of them have already passed the so-called verification after 3 months of use, and
  • after the trial period 80% of people decided they still wanted to use it.

Our findings are presented in the graphs below.

When writing new code Copilot increases the speed of work by 34%, while when writing unit tests, it does so by 38%. As much as 96% of developers said Copilot speeded up their everyday work.
the percentage increase in speed while using GitHub Copilot
GitHub Copilot speeding up developers work

It’s good to remember that Copilot will not save the same amount of time in every task, and it will not work in the same way for every job you do, but with properly selected tasks it can help saving as much time as our developers indicated in the survey.

When asked detailed questions, our developers agreed Copilot made them:

  • more productive,
  • allowed them to complete repetitive tasks faster,
  • made them feel less frustrated during their coding sessions.

It looks like Copilot helped them do the tasks which are most tiresome and repetitive, unlocking their time for real creativity and troubleshooting.

how helpful is GitHub Copilot
GitHub Copliot developers survey

Migrating from Angular to React: 40% time savings with AI – a case study

One of our programming teams faced the challenge of migrating a small application from the Angular framework to React.

Looking for ways to optimise and speed up this process, they turned to GitHub Copilot.

When initiating the migration process, the team began with a detailed analysis of the requirements and structure of the current application code based on the Angular framework.

The analysis showed that Copilot is an excellent tool for porting components between technologies, especially due to the large amount of boilerplate code to write.

The team of experts developed a set of standards that the code generated by Copilot had to meet. This important information was used to create a prompt, easy to run in a chat window inside the IDE, opened in the context of the selected component. The code generated in this way could be easily copied to the appropriate component in a React-based application.

Thanks to these activities, the component migration process became more effective, thus accelerating the development of the project.

The entire migration was a success, confirmed by the positive results of a satisfaction survey conducted among the team.

Its results relating to the experience of using GitHub Copilot and the effectiveness of its support in the migration process can be summarised as follows:

GitHub Copilot is a revolutionary tool that speeds up the process of moving applications between libraries. As the task of transferring an application from Angular to React shows, Copilot can automatically rewrite the entire boilerplate of code, allowing the team to focus on business logic and styling.

Thanks to this, teams are able to save up to 40% of time when switching from one technology to another.

Although it may happen that the tool suggests a solution requiring additional work, it is usually helpful and speeds up the process.

Thanks to Copilot, even people who have no knowledge of React can easily understand what is happening in the code. The satisfaction of teams using the tool is at the level of 4-5 out of 5 points.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 – internal tests

Some time ago we had the opportunity to test a new service from Microsoft, intended to make our work easier and more efficient on various platforms and devices.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an intelligent assistant that utilises artificial intelligence and our data from the Microsoft 365 ecosystem to assist with daily tasks, including organising meetings, writing documents, creating presentations, and facilitating team collaboration.

Copilot integrates with applications such as Teams, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and SharePoint and provides helpful suggestions, tips and features based on our needs and preferences.

In our experience, Copilot in its current state has many advantages, which we listed below:

  • It can analyse the content of messages and documents and provide us with relevant information, e.g. meeting dates, related documents and email threads. This is very useful when we want to quickly find something related to our topic.
  • It allows to create automatic meeting summaries that include the most important points, tasks and decisions. This is a great way to increase the efficiency and transparency of conversations. Additionally, you can “talk” to the recording of such a meeting asking additional questions or asking it, for example, to write user stories based on what was discussed. However, it isn’t flawless, and some effort is still required to refine it to the desired level.
  • In mobile Teams, it can summarise what has happened in the thread since the last message we read. This is very helpful when we want to quickly understand the situation and join the discussion.
  • It helps create documents in Word.
  • Similarly, it is available in Outlook (only web-based for now).

We came to the conclusion that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a promising tool that can significantly help organise work and collaboration within a team, but to become a truly useful and effective solution it still requires improvements and extensions.

The implementation of the Polish language is planned for March/April. We will then see if it does a better job of recognising and generating the text we work with every day.

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