What Is Replit Ghostwriter? 

Replit Ghostwriter is an AI-powered coding assistant that can generate code snippets based on the context of your project. Ghostwriter can understand what you’re trying to do and then generate the appropriate code to accomplish that task.

Replit Ghostwriter is integrated into the Replit platform, a browser-based integrated development environment (IDE) that supports over 50 programming languages. Replit is known for its user-friendly interface and collaborative features, and Ghostwriter only adds to this by making the coding process smoother and more efficient.

What Is Github Copilot? 

Github Copilot is an AI-powered code completion tool developed by Github in collaboration with OpenAI. As of the time of this writing, it uses the OpenAI Cortex model and the GPT-4 large language model (LLM). It functions as a plugin for Visual Studio Code and other popular IDEs, including Jetbrains, Vim, and Azure Data Studio. Copilot can assist developers by providing suggestions for whole lines or blocks of code as they type.

Github Copilot works with a broad range of programming languages and frameworks. It has been trained on a wide array of public code repositories, so it has a broad knowledge of many coding tasks. This background allows it to generate relevant code suggestions in real-time. Github Copilot is not designed to take over the entire coding process, but to supplement your efforts by providing intelligent suggestions that can help you code faster and more efficiently.

This is part of a series of articles about AI tools for developers.

Key Features of Replit Ghostwriter 

Replit Ghostwriter offers the following features:

  • Code generation and suggestions: Ghostwriter generates code snippets based on user inputs and suggests code completions.
  • Integration with Replit environment: The tool seamlessly integrates into the Replit online IDE, allowing users to utilize Ghostwriter within their coding workspace.
  • Learning tool for beginners: Ghostwriter serves as a valuable learning tool, offering insights into coding patterns and practices.
  • Feedback loop: The option for users to provide feedback on the generated code continues, helping to improve Ghostwriter’s accuracy and utility.
  • Ghostwriter Chat: Provides an AI-based chat interface, which according to Replit was the world’s first in-IDE coding chatbot.
  • Code context awareness: Ghostwriter understands the context of your code, providing relevant suggestions based on expected behavior.
  • Proactive debugging: Ghostwriter proactively identifies potential bugs in your code and suggests fixes in real-time.

Key Features of Github Copilot 

GitHub Copilot offers the following features:

  • Context-aware code suggestions: Copilot analyzes the context of your code, offering relevant suggestions based on the current and related files, enhancing accuracy in code generation.
  • Integration with development environments: Originally designed as an extension for Visual Studio Code, Copilot now also integrates with other IDEs, including Jetbrains and Vim, as well as third-party developer tools and online services like Datastax, LaunchDarkly, Postman, Hashicorp, and Datadog.
  • Learning from comments: Copilot can interpret comments in natural language to generate code, enabling developers to describe their goals in plain English.
  • Autocompletion of repetitive patterns: Copilot can recognize and auto-complete repetitive code patterns.
  • Support for complex code and refactoring: Copilot can also assist in suggesting complex algorithms and refactoring existing code.
  • Copilot Workspace: Proposes application-building plans from natural language descriptions, creating editable documents for code development​​.
  • Commit message generation: Copilot can generate commit messages based on pending changes, adding efficiency to the documentation process​​.
  • Copilot Chat: This feature provides a conversational experience, where developers can ask natural language questions or make plain English requests, and have Copilot respond with appropriate text or code snippets.
  • Autofix for security scans: Copilot now includes autofix capabilities for security vulnerabilities detected by GitHub CodeQL.

Related content: Read our guide to Copilot vs Tabnine

Github Copilot vs. Replit Ghostwriter: 5 Key Differences 

Here are some of the main areas where these tools differ.

1. Technology

GitHub Copilot and Replit Ghostwriter are both AI-powered coding assistants, but they are built on different technologies. GitHub Copilot currently uses the powerful GPT-4 model, developed by OpenAI. This model is trained on a vast corpus of public source code and other texts. It understands coding patterns, can generate code snippets across various contexts and programming languages, and is able to respond to nuanced natural language instructions. GitHub Copilot can suggest entire blocks of code, including complex functions and algorithms, by predicting the developer's intent based on the existing code and comments.

Replit Ghostwriter is integrated into the Replit online coding platform. While specific details of its underlying technology are less publicized, it's known to leverage large language models to provide real-time coding suggestions. Ghostwriter analyzes the context of the user's current code in the Replit editor and offers relevant completions and corrections. Unlike Copilot, which generates more extensive code blocks, Ghostwriter focuses more on line-by-line suggestions and corrections.

2. Use Cases

GitHub Copilot is designed primarily for software developers working on complex projects. Its ability to understand context and generate entire code blocks makes it suitable for developing new features, writing tests, and even exploring new frameworks or languages. Copilot can accelerate development by reducing the time spent on boilerplate code and offering solutions to coding problems. It's also a learning tool for less experienced developers, providing them with code examples and best practices.

Replit Ghostwriter is suitable for a broader audience, including educators, students, and hobbyist programmers, in addition to professional developers. Its real-time suggestion capability makes it useful for educational purposes, helping learners to understand coding syntax and logic as they type. It can also be used for rapid prototyping and collaborative coding, given Replit's cloud-based environment that allows for easy sharing and collaboration.

3. Programming Languages

GitHub Copilot offers extensive language support due to its training on a diverse set of public source code. It excels in popular languages like Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, and Go. This wide-ranging support makes it a versatile tool for developers working across different technologies and platforms. Its proficiency in various languages means that it can adapt to the specific syntax and idioms of each language, providing relevant and syntactically correct code suggestions.

Replit Ghostwriter, being part of the Replit platform, supports all the languages that Replit offers, which includes over 50 programming languages. This makes Ghostwriter a versatile tool for coding in less common languages. While it may not provide as in-depth suggestions as GitHub Copilot for every language, it can offer high quality suggestions across a broader spectrum of languages.

4. Integration

GitHub Copilot integrates with several IDEs, including Visual Studio Code, Jetbrains, Vim, and Azure Data Studio. These integrations allow Copilot to access the context of the user's code, enabling it to provide more accurate and relevant suggestions. The tight integration with an IDE means that developers can use Copilot seamlessly within their normal coding workflow, without needing to switch contexts or tools.

Replit Ghostwriter is integrated directly into the Replit online coding environment. This integration provides a seamless experience for users of the Replit platform, as there is no need for additional installations or configurations. This integration is particularly beneficial for collaborative projects and education. However, it is less useful to developers already working with other IDEs or development environments.

5. Pricing

GitHub Copilot uses a subscription-based pricing model:

  • Basic: $10 per month
  • Business: $19 / user / month, includes additional features like code completions, chat, CLI assistance, and a security vulnerability filter
  • Enterprise: $39 / user / month, includes additional features like chat personalized to your codebase, documentation search, pull request summaries, and fine-tuned models.

Replit Ghostwriter is not offered as a standalone product. It is included as part of both pricing tiers of the Replit IDE:

  • Free: The free version of Replit provides “limited access to Replit AI”. 
  • Replit Core: This edition costs $20 per month and provides access to full Replit AI capabilities.

Github Copilot vs. Replit Ghostwriter: How to Choose? 

When choosing between GitHub Copilot and Replit Ghostwriter, consider the following factors:

  • Project complexity and scope: If you are working on complex software projects and need extensive code blocks, GitHub Copilot is more suitable. Its ability to generate comprehensive code snippets based on your project’s context helps in developing new features and writing tests. For simpler projects, learning purposes, or when you need real-time coding assistance and error correction, Replit Ghostwriter is the better choice.
  • User expertise and learning objectives: Replit Ghostwriter is better suited to beginners and those in educational settings. Its integration with the Replit platform makes it a great tool for learning and understanding coding patterns. GitHub Copilot, while also a learning tool, caters more towards experienced developers looking to streamline their workflow.
  • Language and framework requirements: GitHub Copilot’s training on a diverse set of public source code allows it to support a wide range of languages and frameworks. This makes it useful for working in popular languages like Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, and others. Replit Ghostwriter, offering support for over 50 languages, is better for those working in less common languages or needing to switch between languages in a project.
  • Integration needs: If you prefer working in a specific IDE like Visual Studio Code or Jetbrains, GitHub Copilot's integration offers a seamless experience. For those who favor a web-based IDE with collaborative features, Replit Ghostwriter, integrated within the Replit platform, provides a more convenient and collaborative coding environment.
  • Budget and cost considerations: GitHub Copilot is a subscription-based service, aligning with professional development needs. Replit Ghostwriter, as part of the Replit platform, offers basic features for free and advanced features accessible under Replit's paid plan.