Google has unveiled Project IDX, a new browser-based development environment designed for full-stack web and multiplatform app creation. The new platform integrates AI capabilities and offers support for various frameworks and languages.
According to the Project IDX website, the motivation behind Project IDX was to simplify the complexities of launching applications. The platform offers a web-based workspace that feels both familiar and innovative. Google emphasizes that this is just the beginning of their journey with Project IDX and seeks feedback to enhance the application development process. The platform aims to provide a quick development workflow, support for popular frameworks and languages, app previews across platforms, and advanced AI assistance for coding. Google is inviting developers to join the waitlist for a limited preview of Project IDX.
Built on Open-source version of Visual Studio Code
Google's Project IDX is not an entirely new IDE. It leverages the open-source version of Visual Studio Code as its foundation. This decision allowed Google to integrate Codey, its PaLM 2-based foundation model, which aids in programming tasks. With Codey, developers can benefit from smart code completion, a chatbot for coding queries, and features like adding contextual code comments.
Project IDX operates as a cloud-based IDE. It integrates seamlessly with Google's Firebase Hosting and Google Cloud Functions. Developers can also import their existing code from GitHub repositories. Each workspace on IDX provides access to a Linux-based VM, and soon, it will offer embedded Android and iOS simulators directly in the browser.
The IDX team mentioned in their announcement, “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.”
While other platforms like GitHub's Copilot and Amazon's CodeWhisperer offer AI coding features, Google's emphasis on full-stack development differentiates Project IDX. Google also has Cloud Code IDE plugins, which could potentially bring Codey to almost every popular IDE.