Google on Tuesday announced Project IDX, an AI-enabled browser-based development environment, which is designed to make it easier to build, manage and deploy full-stack web and multiplatform applications.
Instead of building a new integrated development environment (IDE) from scratch, Google has built Project IDX on Code OSS, the same codebase that powers Visual Studio Code, so it should feel very familiar to most developers.
This allowed the company to focus on AI integrations like Codey, a foundational AI model trained on code and built on PaLM 2 (Program Learning Model).
At the heart of Project IDX, Google wants to enable web and app developers “develop from anywhere, on any device, with the full fidelity of local development.” This is achieved by assigning a Linux-based virtual machine (VM) in the Google Cloud to every Project IDX workspace.
Google is also actively working to add first-class support for more project types and frameworks. You can also import your existing GitHub projects into Project IDX so that you can pick up right where you left off.
To make this easier, Project IDX includes a built-in web preview to see app design and behavior. Also, it will soon provide a fully-configured Android emulator and an embedded iOS simulator, all available directly in the browser.
“We spend a lot of time writing code, and recent advances in AI have created big opportunities to make that time more productive. With Project IDX, we’re exploring how Google’s innovations in AI—including the Codey and PaLM 2 models powering Studio Bot in Android Studio, Duet in Google Cloud and more — can help you not only write code faster, but also write higher-quality code,” the Project IDX team said in their announcement.
“Currently, Project IDX has smart code completion, an assistive chatbot, and contextual code actions like “add comments” and “explain this code”. Our AI capabilities are in their very early days, and we’re working on making IDX AI even better at helping you as you work.”
As far as publishing to the web is concerned, Project IDX seamlessly integrates with Google’s Firebase Hosting (and Google Cloud Functions) that makes it possible to deploy a shareable preview of your web app or deploy to production with a fast, secure, and global hosting platform, with just a few clicks.
Currently, Project IDX is in early preview. However, Google has shared an early version of the new platform. Interested developers can check out the Project IDX website and join the waitlist.