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How Tabnine Automates 30-50% of Coding for 1M+ Developers: Q/A with CEO Dror Weiss

How Tabnine Automates 30-50% of Coding for 1M+ Developers: Q/A with CEO Dror Weiss

Roberto Popolizio
Website Planet had the chance to interview Dror Weiss, co-founder and CEO of Tabnine, the AI coding assistant used by top brands like LG, Samsung, Accenture and millions more developers every month.

We discovered how Tabnine accelerates coding, boosts code quality, and enhances developer happiness by automating 30% of code generation while ensuring privacy, personalization, and compliance.

What problems are you solving with your products and services?

Tabnine is an AI coding assistant that addresses some of the most pressing challenges faced by software development teams and individual developers alike:
  • Rising complexity in the applications and software stack
  • A significant shortage of available software engineers
  • Escalating salaries making it difficult to hire enough staff
  • High attrition rates among developers creating gaps in knowledge
  • The constant context-switching when searching for reference code, naming conventions, etc.
  • The long and steep learning curve for onboarding new developers and learning new coding languages
  • The privacy, security, and IP issues around using AI platforms, especially for enterprises
For most software development teams, pressures are mounting. Teams often find themselves mired in complex, sluggish development cycles and drifting deadlines, struggling against the clock to deliver quality software.

The result? Developer burnout, productivity bottlenecks, an inability to deliver high-quality software on time, and a dip in competitiveness for the business.

Tabnine helps development teams of every size use AI to accelerate and simplify the software development process without sacrificing privacy & security. Tabnine boosts engineering velocity, code quality, and developer happiness by automating the coding workflow through AI tools customized to your team. Unlike generic coding assistants, Tabnine is the AI that you control.

Tabnine’s AI-powered tools include real-time code completions within the IDE and Tabnine Chat, a context-aware AI chat for software development. Although Tabnine’s primary audience is enterprise-level R&D teams, we also offer our AI code assistant to individual developers.

Tabnine generates roughly 30% of the code for our millions of users. Since our tools offer code completions and suggestions that are highly context-sensitive and relevant, this results in fewer errors and smoother code reviews down the line. It also encourages the adoption of best practices, simplifies ongoing maintenance, and helps reduce technical debt. Collectively, these benefits lead to better code being shipped, faster.

In addition, Tabnine shortens the time it takes to understand and modify code during maintenance, testing, and bug fixing — Tabnine can explain what a piece of inherited code does and can suggest changes to address bugs and errors.

One of our favorite testimonials was from a developer who tried Tabnine and shared with me that when he uses Tabnine, it feels like an extension of him. That’s the kind of symbiosis we aim for.

Tabnine is not a “pair programmer” or automation intended to replace developers, it’s a tool designed to help developers work faster by eliminating mundane tasks and simplifying the important ones. This way developers will have more time to focus on more interesting and valuable work.

Tabnine is also not just about speeding up coding tasks; it’s about shortening and flattening the learning curve for new languages and systems, easing the onboarding process, freeing up developers to focus on innovation, and lowering the amount of frustration and context-switching.

Tabnine’s Enterprise offering also adapts to our customer’s codebase, promoting best practices and reuse of “good” code, resulting in more consistent, high-quality output across the development lifecycle.

In addition, when it comes to protecting the privacy and security of our customers’ code and interactions with AI, we operate at a higher bar than anyone else in our category. Tabnine ensures this by implementing stringent measures.

Tabnine lives where and how you want it to — deployed as protected SaaS for convenience, on-premises for you to lock down the environment, or on Virtual Private Cloud for the balance of the two. Tabnine guarantees zero data retention, and we never use your code, data, or behaviors to feed our general models.Furthermore, we are relentlessly focused on protecting our customers interests by only training on code with permissive licenses and only returning code recommendations that will not be subject to future questions of ownership and potential litigation.

We respect open source code authors and their rights as well as the rights of each and every one of our customers. As you should expect from any vendor, Tabnine offers proven, enterprise-grade security and meets key industry standards.

Additionally, you can connect Tabnine’s AI models to your own code repositories for even more personalized and relevant code suggestions. This adaptability ensures that the code suggestions are aligned with your organization’s specific coding patterns and practices, making your development process more efficient and secure.

As of today, Tabnine is serving more than one million developers, generating more than 1% of the world’s code, and typically automates 30-50% of code generation. By automating away mundane and repetitive tasks, we have not only saved engineering teams millions of hours of time spent, but have freed up developers to concentrate on more interesting, more valuable, and more rewarding work. For teams, this means faster delivery of superior code, optimizing the software development lifecycle. The tangible impact extends further—easing the onboarding of new developers, lessening the mentorship load on seasoned engineers, and reducing context-switching frustration.

How does your mission differ from the other companies in your niche?

At Tabnine, our mission isn’t just to develop AI tools; it’s to build an AI platform that accelerates and improves the entire software development lifecycle, meets the exacting standards of the most serious engineering teams, and evolves and grows with the software development industry as well as our customers.

Tabnine helps development teams of all sizes use AI

to accelerate and simplify the software development life cycle.

Unlike generic coding assistants, Tabnine is the AI that you control:
  • Private — You choose where and how to deploy Tabnine (SaaS, VPC, or On-Prem) to maximize control over your intellectual property, and you can rest easy knowing that Tabnine never stores or shares your company’s code.
  • Personalized — Tabnine delivers an optimized experience for each development team; it is context-aware, can be tuned to recommend based on your standards, and we offer the option of bespoke models trained on your codebases.
  • Secure — Tabnine is built with enterprise-grade security and compliance at our core. Tabnine is trained exclusively on open-source code with permissive licenses, ensuring that our customers are never exposed to legal liability.
Our mission is to create tools that leverage AI to accelerate and simplify the software development process without sacrificing privacy & security. That’s why we engineered Tabnine Enterprise from the ground up to not exceed the sophisticated demands of organizations. Tabnine’s approach to AI ensures that your codebase remains untouched by third-parties and always under your control.

Our mission is also rooted in trust, good faith, and respect for the developer community, of which we are a part. By ensuring that our AI is trained exclusively on permissively licensed code, we aim to honor the intent of open-source authors — their code is their craft, and we treat it as such. This also helps our Tabnine customers to sidestep copyleft issues.

WSP Interview Tabnine

What do you want to achieve in the next 5-10 years?

Generative AI is revolutionizing the software development lifecycle. Our mission is to seamlessly integrate generative AI across the entire software development process, ushering in a wave of automation and simplification that redefines contemporary methodologies.

We envision AI evolving from its current role as a potent assistant to a comprehensive platform that underpins and accelerates the entire SDLC. As developers, our interaction with AI is poised to reach new heights, with the management and guidance of AI tools becoming the primary means to shape software behavior.

In the years ahead, users will progress beyond merely “prompting” AI systems to engaging in meaningful, two-way conversations with AI agents. Our AI tools will mature, comprehending not just the “how” but also the “what” and “why” of our objectives. We are on the cusp of an exhilarating era where the majority of software creation is facilitated by artificial intelligence, guided by the vision and insights provided by engineering teams.

What industries or business sizes benefit the most from your solutions?

Tabnine’s approach to using AI to accelerate and simplify the software development process can benefit businesses of every size and across every industry. With over a million monthly active users, Tabnine supports code development, deployment, testing, and maintenance across a vast array of companies.

That said, Tabnine’s world-class code completion and chat capabilities, combined with our strict approach to privacy and security, makes Tabnine the AI coding assistant of choice for the largest, most mature software engineering teams and for companies looking for stringent controls over access to their codebase and to their developers’ behaviors and activities. Our fully air-gapped solution is in place across companies in the Fortune 500, highly regulated industries, and within military and government development teams.

WSP Interview Tabnine

And what makes them eventually choose you over your competitors?

Privacy: Tabnine never stores or shares your company’s code, so you can rest easy knowing you can deploy Tabnine where and how you choose (as protected SaaS for convenience, on-premises for you to lock down the environment, or on Virtual Private Cloud for a balance of the two).

Personalization: Tabnine delivers an optimized experience for your specific development team; it’s context-aware, can be tuned to recommend based on your standards, and offers the option of bespoke models trained on your codebases. You control the AI; what code it generates and what code is allowed is critical for our customers.

Compliance: Tabnine is trained exclusively on open-source code with permissive licenses, ensuring that our customers are never exposed to legal liability.

Choice: While other players build a monolithic stack based on their product suite, Tabnine works with all IDEs and SCMs, and can be deployed on every cloud. Moreover, we plan to have Tabnine pluggable into any compatible LLM the customer may have (bring your own model).

What other tools and best practices do you suggest using in combination with your products?

Tabnine’s AI assistant works with all popular IDEs and can be installed on the developer’s preferred editor, including the most popular developers tools like VS Code, IntelliJ, Webstorm, GoLand, PyCharm, Eclipse, Visual Studio 2022, Neovim, and more.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future of your industry?

Recent advancements and the creation of tools like Tabnine have begun to show ways in which AI can help both accelerate and simplify the full software development lifecycle.

But significant fears, uncertainties, and doubt remain. Employees are afraid that AI will take their jobs and are resistant to change how they work. Executives want productivity gains, but are concerned about giving away access to their IP and losing control over their data. Engineering managers are caught in the middle — they need to meet the pace of development expected of them, but need happy engineering teams in order to meet their goals.

While our core mission at Tabnine is to help developers be more effective in every facet of software development through AI, we are unwavering in our commitment to uphold the security and privacy of users’ code, setting us apart in the landscape of AI technology. We believe that setting a high standard for visibility, trust, and respect for data privacy should be a cornerstone of AI companies in order to allow this new suite of tools to flourish and for users to be comfortable adopting them.

For developers, we seek out ways to fit into how they choose to work and design our tools accordingly. We believe that the future of AI enabled jobs should amplify and extend the creativity and skill that people bring uniquely to their work. That drives our total approach to developer tools.

It’s important to highlight that, with Tabnine, the user maintains control over the AI and not the other way around. Organizations have the flexibility to choose their preferred deployment method, we enable the creation of isolated models with no data retention, and code generated by Tabnine does not expose our users to potential license violations.

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