GPT-Migrate: Automatically Translate Code

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Written By Zach Johnson

AI and tech enthusiast with a background in machine learning.

Migrating Your Codebase to a New Language with GPT-Migrate

Transitioning an existing codebase to a new programming language or framework is often a daunting task. It requires manually rewriting much of the code, moving files around, installing new dependencies, and testing everything thoroughly. This process is tedious, error-prone, and time-consuming.

GPT-Migrate aims to automate much of this grunt work using the power of large language models like GPT-3 and GPT-4. It provides an intelligent assistant that can analyze your existing code, rewrite it in the target language, handle dependencies, debug issues, and even write tests. The goal is to simplify code migration to just a few commands.

How GPT-Migrate Works

Under the hood, GPT-Migrate leverages large pretrained language models to rewrite your code. After specifying the target language, it creates a Docker environment to isolate the process. GPT-Migrate scans your codebase and identifies all the dependencies used. It then installs the equivalent dependencies in the target language within the Docker container.

Starting from your main entry point file, GPT-Migrate recursively works through your codebase, rewriting each file in the new language. The model refers to the original source, leverages its training on millions of examples, and renders a rewritten version.

Throughout the process, the model actively debugs any issues that arise. It can request user input when it gets stuck to help guide the rewrite. GPT-Migrate also writes unit tests using Python’s unittest framework to validate the new codebase. It can even test these against a running version of your original application.

Step-by-Step Usage Guide

Using GPT-Migrate is designed to be simple. Here are the key steps:

  1. Install prerequisites like Docker to create isolated environments.
  2. Get an OpenAI API key to access the language models.
  3. Install the Python requirements for the GPT-Migrate scripts.
  4. Run the main migration script, specifying the target language.
  5. Use the available parameters to customize the process and output location.

Some key parameters include:

  • sourcedir – Source code directory
  • targetlang – Target language like Node.js
  • targetdir – Where to output migrated code
  • testfiles – Files to use for unit testing

Current Capabilities and Limitations

In its current alpha state, GPT-Migrate works very well for simpler codebases in common languages like Python, Node.js, and React. For complex languages like C++, it still needs human assistance during debugging.

The project creators are actively improving benchmarks, expanding language support, and enhancing testing. But it is still early and not yet ready for production systems. Using GPT-Migrate also incurs costs for accessing the language models.

Ways to Get Involved

GPT-Migrate is open source and the creators encourage contributions:

  • Contribute new benchmark examples, especially for complex migrations.
  • Help improve the testing suite for better reliability.
  • Fix bugs, add features, and improve documentation via pull requests.
  • Share language-specific expertise.


GPT-Migrate demonstrates the huge potential in using large language models to automate complex coding tasks. While still in active development, it can already simplify and accelerate code migration for many projects. Expert assistance is also available via their network. GPT-Migrate is an exciting open source project worth following as it evolves.

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