Aider – The AI Coding Assistant That Could Revolutionize Software Development

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Written By Zach Johnson

AI and tech enthusiast with a background in machine learning.

Aider is an exciting new AI-powered command line tool that allows developers to collaborate with AI models like GPT-3 and GPT-4 to write, edit, and improve code. Developed by Paul Gauthier, Aider provides a conversational interface for developers to interact with AI in natural language right within their terminal during the coding process. This has the potential to greatly enhance and accelerate software development by putting the capabilities of large language models to work directly on programming tasks.

With Aider, developers can have fluid discussions with the AI, asking it to create new projects from scratch, make modifications to existing code, fix bugs, write tests, improve documentation, and much more. The AI can then provide code contributions and changes which are seamlessly integrated into the developer’s source files and git repositories. Aider streamlines the process of collaboratively iterating on code with an AI assistant, while integrating smoothly into existing workflows. Its ability to chat with AI models to handle coding tasks could significantly boost productivity for professional developers and lower the barriers to entry for new programmers. Aider represents an exciting step towards the future of AI augmenting human abilities during the software development process.

Key Features

Some of the key capabilities provided by Aider include:

  • Natural language interface – Developers can simply have conversations with Aider in plain English within the terminal to discuss code changes and improvements.
  • Works with source code files – Aider can directly access and modify source code files, allowing the AI assistant to make actual changes to programs.
  • Supports major languages – Python, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and other popular languages are supported by Aider.
  • Writes and edits code – The AI can generate completely new code from scratch or iterate on existing code.
  • Applies changes to files – Edits from the AI are directly applied to the developer’s source files.
  • Git integration – Changes are committed to git with descriptive commit messages.
  • Full codebase access – Universal Code Tags give the AI insight into entire codebases.
  • Undo changes – Easily revert AI-generated changes that are unwanted.
  • Coordinate changes – Aider can modify multiple related files together.
  • Detect manual edits – Changes made directly in code editors are noticed.

Benefits and Implications

Aider has the potential to provide some significant benefits and implications:

  • Increased productivity – Automating coding tasks like boilerplate code could boost developer productivity.
  • Improved code quality – AI assistance could improve code structure, readability, documentation.
  • Faster iteration – Quickly try out different code options proposed by the AI.
  • Democratized coding – Makes AI helpers more accessible to new developers.
  • Collaboration – Facilitates productive symbiosis between human and AI coders.
  • Lower barriers to entry – Reduces the experience required to write quality software.
  • Rapid experimentation – Encourages quickly testing out new ideas.
  • Seamless integration – Fits cleanly into existing developer tools and workflows.
  • Accelerated development – Certain coding tasks could be dramatically sped up.

The implications are that software could be developed significantly faster with the help of AI coding assistants like Aider. This could lead to more rapid software innovation and allows developers to focus on higher-level design challenges.

Usage Examples

To highlight how Aider can be used, here are some examples of real conversations that developers have had with the tool:

Write a simple Flask web app:

Human: Let's create a simple Flask app that displays "Hello World" at the root URL.

Aider: Here is a simple Flask app to display "Hello World":

from flask import Flask

app = Flask(__name__)

def hello():
    return "Hello World!"

if __name__ == '__main__':

Fix a bug:

Human: This code is throwing an IndexError. Can you please fix it?

Aider: It looks like the issue is that `names` only contains 3 elements, but the code is trying to access the 4th element `names[3]`. I've fixed it by changing the index to `names[2]`:

names = ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie']
print(names[3]) # Throws IndexError

# Fixed code
names = ['Alice', 'Bob', 'Charlie'] 
print(names[2]) # Prints 'Charlie'

Refactor code:

Human: Can you refactor this code to be more modular by moving the duplication into reusable functions?

Aider: Here is one way to refactor the code to be more modular:

# Original Code



# Refactored Code

def print_header():
  print("Starting program...")

def get_data():
  data = collect_data()
  return data

def process_data(data):
  return transform_data(data) 

def print_results(data):

data = get_data() 
processed_data = process_data(data)

data = get_data()
processed_data = process_data(data) 

These examples demonstrate how Aider allows developers to communicate with AI models conversationally to accomplish practical coding tasks, while integrating with real codebases.

Future Outlook

Aider is still early in its development but shows promise for the future integration of AI coding assistants into the software development process. Some possibilities for the future include:

  • Support for more programming languages like C++, C#, Java, etc.
  • Tighter integration with code editors and IDEs beyond just the command line interface.
  • Continued improvements to the quality of generated code as AI models advance.
  • Addition of open source AI model options beyond just OpenAI to allow more access and customization.
  • Potential for AI assistants like Aider to profoundly impact how software is designed and written.

As AI coding models become more powerful and accessible to developers, Aider points the way towards AI becoming a collaborative partner in programming rather than just a passive tool. Software development may become vastly more efficient and rapid by leveraging these AI systems as co-pilots.


Aider represents an exciting step forward in bringing natural language AI collaboration into the realm of software development. By providing an accessible conversational interface and directly integrating with developers’ existing tools and workflows, Aider aims to streamline coding with the assistance of large language models like GPT-3 and GPT-4.

While still relatively new, Aider shows the potential for AI coding assistants to significantly augment human developers’ abilities. As this technology continues to improve, Aider could point the way towards the future of programming, where man and machine work symbiotically to build software faster and more efficiently than ever before. The rise of AI helpers that can chat conversationally about code could profoundly impact how we write and improve software.

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