Aider AI Revolutionize Your Coding Process

Aider AI Coding Assistant

As a developer, you’re always on the lookout for tools that can streamline your coding process. Enter Aider AI, an AI Coding Assistant that is transforming and automating the way developers code.

This AI-driven tool isn’t just another coding assistant; it’s a game-changer that offers a plethora of features to make coding more efficient and enjoyable.

What is an AI Coding Assistant?

An AI Coding Assistant is a software tool that leverages artificial intelligence to provide coding suggestions and generate code based on the user’s input. These assistants are integrated into popular Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and can comprehend natural languages, making them an invaluable asset for developers.

Why Choose Aider AI as Your AI Coding Assistant?

Aider distinguishes itself among AI coding assistants with its unique ability to construct entire codebases and iterate on existing code. It’s powered by GPT-4 and also supports GPT 3.5, making it a versatile tool for developers working with different languages.

Aider is not just a tool for generating code; it’s a comprehensive solution for developing on top of existing projects, even very large ones. This feature is incredibly beneficial for developers who need to maintain and improve extensive codebases.

Aider simplifies the process of committing, diffing, and undoing changes proposed by GPT, eliminating the need for copy-pasting.

How to Install and Use Aider AI

Installing and using Aider is a completely straightforward process. The assistant is command-line based, making it a bit more complex than other tools, but it’s still understandable and easy to use for developers familiar with command-line interfaces.

To install Aider, you can use a Conda environment we explain how to install Anaconda on my GPT-Engineer guide. After cloning the repository and creating/activating the Conda environment, you have to install Aider by using “pip install aider-chat” or “pip install -r requirements.txt”.

Once installed, you can start using Aider by typing ‘aider’ in your terminal and following the prompts.

  1. Package Installation:
    • Run pip install aider-chat in your command line.
    • Use pip install git
    • Execute pip install -e .
  2. OpenAI API Key Configuration:
    • Store your OpenAI API key in the aider.config.yml file.
  3. Install Universal Ctags:
    • This is crucial for using Aider and GPT-4 with large repositories. Universal Ctags allows Aider to construct a map of your entire git repository, improving GPT-4’s understanding and modification capabilities for larger codebases. Install it as per your system’s instructions.

Aider’s Unique Features

One of the most exciting features of Aider is its ability to use Universal C Tags. This feature allows the AI to understand the context of large codebases, overcoming the limitations of other AI coding assistants.

With Universal C Tags, Aider can provide more accurate and relevant code suggestions, improving the quality of the generated code. Universal C Tags support a lot of programming languages, making Aider versatile for projects in different languages.

Iterating on Existing Projects with Aider

Aider excels at iterating on existing projects, even large ones. For instance, if you need to upgrade a component in a Ruby on Rails project, Aider can handle it.

It interacts with you during the coding process, confirming whether the file it’s about to modify is read/write and instructing you to run specific commands when necessary.

Command Line Interface

Aider’s command line interface provides various commands for adding files, committing files, dropping files, clearing, getting the diff, and exiting. This makes it a versatile tool for managing your coding projects.

Aider supports commands from within the chat, which all start with /. Some of the most useful in-chat commands include:

  • /add <file> to add matching files to the chat session.
  • /drop <file> to remove matching files from the chat session.
  • /undo to undo the last git commit if it was done by aider.
  • /diff to display the diff of the last aider commit.
  • /run <command> to run a shell command and optionally add the output to the chat.
  • /help to show help about all commands.

Tips for Using Aider

The creators of Aider provide several tips for using the tool effectively. For example, they suggest thinking about which files need to be edited to make your change and adding them to the chat.

They also recommend performing large changes as a sequence of thoughtful bite-sized steps, using Control-C to safely interrupt GPT if it isn’t providing a useful response, and using the /run command to run tests, linters, etc and show the output to GPT so it can fix any issues.

GPT-4 vs GPT-3.5

Aider endorses all OpenAI’s chat models, inclusive of the freshly launched gpt-3.5-turbo-16k model.

Optimal outcomes are more probable with the GPT-4 models, attributed to their extensive context windows, systematic adherence to system prompt instructions, and enhanced competency in performing coding tasks.

GPT-4 models are equipped to frame code modifications as basic “diffs” and utilize a repository map to augment their capability in altering larger codebases.

Contrastingly, GPT-3.5 models have experimental support and are bound to edit moderately smaller codebases. These models exhibit a decreased ability to comply with instructions and do not possess the capability to return code edits in a compressed “diff” format.

Therefore, Aider must command GPT-3.5 to return a fresh copy of the “whole file”, inclusive of edits. This process swiftly consumes tokens and may exhaust the limits of the context window.

Aider deactivates the repository map feature when operating with GPT-3.5 models. The context window of gpt-3.5-turbo is insufficient to incorporate a repo map. An evaluation is pending to ascertain if gpt-3.5-turbo-16k can exploit a repo map.

Practically, this implies that you can utilize Aider to edit a set of source files that aggregate to the sizes below. You are encouraged to add only the specific set of files to the chat that are relevant to the change you are requesting. This strategy minimizes the usage of the context window and costs.

Context Size and Edit Format

The README provides a table that compares the context size, edit format, maximum file size, and repository map support for different models (gpt-3.5-turbo, gpt-3.5-turbo-16k, gpt-4, gpt-4-32k). This information could be useful for developers who are deciding which model to use with Aider.

File Size
File Size
gpt-3.5-turbo4k tokenswhole file2k tokens~8k bytesno
gpt-3.5-turbo-16k16k tokenswhole file8k tokens~32k bytesno
gpt-48k tokensdiffs8k tokens~32k bytesyes
gpt-4-32k32k tokensdiffs32k tokens~128k bytesyes

Demo of Aider AI Install and Guide

This is an extremely useful guide by Prompt Engineering on YouTube.

Conclusion: Transform Your Code with Aider AI

Aider is more than just an AI coding assistant; it’s a tool that can revolutionize your coding experience. Whether you’re working on a new project or improving an existing one, Aider can provide the tools and suggestions you need to code more efficiently and effectively.

Want to try out some of the latest groundbreaking AI Agents? Check out our other Automation Agent guides on SuperAGI and GTP-Engineer to learn more about the latest developments in AI Agents and AI coding assistants.

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