Oracle Code Assist to enhance developer productivity and code quality

The interview with Vijay Kumar and Aanand Krishnan delves into Oracle Code Assist, an AI-driven tool designed to enhance developer productivity and code quality.

Aanchal Ghatak
New Update

The market for AI-powered development tools is robust and growing, driven by the need for efficiency and code quality across industries. In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformative force, opening new avenues for efficiency and innovation.


Recently, Oracle launched its latest offering, Oracle Code Assist—an AI-powered code companion aimed at accelerating development velocity and ensuring code uniformity.  During an interview with Dataquest Vijay Kumar, Vice President of Product Marketing for App Dev Services & Developer Relations at OCI, and Aanand Krishnan, Vice President of Product Management at OCI, shared insights on Oracle Code Assist. Excerpts from an interview: 

Can you provide a specific example of how it has helped the Oracle developers?

Aanand Krishnan: Oracle Code Assist has proven highly beneficial for our internal developers by addressing several key challenges they face. For instance, one of the most immediate and significant impacts has been in the realm of documentation. The tool's chat feature allows developers to ask open-ended questions, which helps them quickly understand complex code bases. This is particularly useful for new team members who need to get up to speed quickly.


Additionally, unit test generation has become much more efficient, allowing developers to create comprehensive test cases with ease, thereby ensuring higher code quality and fewer bugs. Annotations and code understanding features are also critical, as they help developers maintain consistent and readable code. These functionalities not only save time but also reduce errors and improve overall productivity by automating mundane and repetitive tasks. 

What specific challenges or pain points does Oracle Code Assist address for developers?

Vijay Kumar: Oracle Code Assist addresses several critical challenges that developers face during the software development process. One major pain point is the need to write repeatable code snippets, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors. By automating the generation of these snippets, the tool allows developers to focus on more creative and complex aspects of their projects.


Another significant challenge is debugging and testing. Oracle Code Assist helps streamline these processes by providing tools for unit test generation, code analysis, and error detection. This not only speeds up development but also enhances code quality and reduces the likelihood of bugs.

Documentation and code understanding are also key areas where developers often struggle, especially when dealing with legacy code or large codebases. The tool's ability to annotate and summarize code makes it easier for developers to understand and maintain their projects. Overall, Oracle Code Assist helps developers by automating routine tasks, reducing errors, and improving productivity.

Will it support the other languages and platforms used by Oracle customers beyond just Java and SQL?


Aanand Krishnan: Yes, Oracle Code Assist is designed to be a polyglot tool, meaning it will support a wide range of programming languages beyond just Java and SQL. This includes major languages such as Python, Terraform, and others that are widely used in infrastructure as code scenarios. While we have specialized assets in the Java and SQL space due to our extensive expertise and customer base in these areas, the tool is built to cater to a broad spectrum of programming needs.

Our goal is to make Oracle Code Assist a versatile tool that can handle the diverse requirements of developers working across various platforms and languages. As we continue to develop and enhance the tool, we will expand its capabilities to support even more languages and frameworks, ensuring it meets the evolving needs of our developer community.

What is the rollout plan for Oracle Code Assist? Will it be made available to all Oracle developers at once or will there be a phased rollout?


Vijay Kumar: Currently, a large subset of our internal developers are already using Oracle Code Assist. Our initial focus has been on ensuring that these developers can leverage the tool to enhance their productivity and code quality. This internal deployment helps us gather valuable feedback and make necessary improvements before a broader release.

Aanand Krishnan: The rollout plan involves a phased approach. Initially, Oracle Code Assist will be made available to all Oracle employees who are involved in developing various Oracle services. This internal phase allows us to fine-tune the tool based on real-world usage and feedback. Eventually, we plan to extend access to our entire developer ecosystem, including external developers who use Oracle's platforms and services. This phased approach ensures that we can provide a robust and reliable tool that meets the needs of all users.

How is this announcement relevant to the Indian market?


Vijay Kumar: Oracle Code Assist is designed to be a global tool, accessible to developers worldwide, including those in India. Since it runs on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, developers in any location can benefit from its capabilities. This makes it highly relevant to the Indian market, where there is a significant community of developers working on various Oracle platforms.

Aanand Krishnan: Additionally, while the initial release supports English, we have plans to extend support to other major spoken languages. This will make it easier for developers who prefer to work in their native languages to interact with the tool. By providing language support and ensuring accessibility, we aim to make Oracle Code Assist a valuable resource for developers in India and around the world.

How do you incorporate the human-in-the-loop approach in the development and deployment of generative AI systems, and what role do you see that human intervention playing in ethical outcomes? 


Aanand Krishnan: Incorporating the human-in-the-loop approach is crucial for ensuring that our AI systems are both effective and ethical. With Oracle Code Assist, we have implemented several features to address security, privacy, and legal concerns. For instance, the tool includes mechanisms to protect customer information and ensure that the code suggestions provided are free from security vulnerabilities and non-permissive licensed code.

Vijay Kumar: We follow strict responsible AI guidelines, which dictate how we handle customer data and ensure ethical outcomes. These guidelines are part of Oracle's broader commitment to ethical AI practices. Human intervention plays a critical role in this process, as our developers and ethical review teams continuously monitor and review the AI's outputs to ensure they align with our standards.

By maintaining a human-in-the-loop approach, we can adapt and improve our AI systems based on real-world feedback, ensuring they remain ethical and effective in diverse scenarios.

How will it handle intellectual property and privacy concerns around sharing code snippets and templates between developers?

Aanand Krishnan: Oracle Code Assist includes several features designed to address intellectual property (IP) and privacy concerns. One of the primary mechanisms is ensuring that customer data and proprietary code are handled appropriately. The tool has safeguards to prevent the misuse of sensitive information and to ensure that code suggestions do not include non-permissive licensed content, such as GPL-licensed code. 

In terms of privacy, Oracle Code Assist adheres to strict data protection regulations and customer agreements. This includes mechanisms to identify and block security vulnerabilities in the code suggestions provided. By incorporating these features, we ensure that developers can use the tool confidently, knowing that their IP and privacy are protected.

Additionally, Oracle follows responsible AI practices, which include regular audits and reviews of the AI's outputs to ensure compliance with ethical standards. This comprehensive approach helps us maintain trust with our users and uphold high standards of security and privacy.

What is the roadmap for future enhancements to Oracle Code Assist? How does Oracle plan to continue improving the tool over time?

Vijay Kumar: We are in the early stages of developing Oracle Code Assist and are committed to continuously improving and expanding its capabilities. While the current focus is on enhancing features for Java, SQL, and application development on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, there are many potential directions for future enhancements.

One area we are exploring is deeper integration with DevOps processes, which would help streamline the entire software development lifecycle from coding to deployment. We are also considering expanding support for additional programming languages and frameworks to meet the diverse needs of our developer community.

Our roadmap includes regular updates and enhancements based on user feedback and emerging trends in the AI and software development landscape. By staying attuned to the needs of our users and the evolving technological environment, we aim to keep Oracle Code Assist at the forefront of AI-driven development tools.

What is the pricing model for Oracle Code Assist? Will it be available as a standalone product or an add-on to existing Oracle products?

Vijay Kumar: At this stage, it is premature to discuss the specific business model and pricing for Oracle Code Assist. Our immediate focus is on building a robust and effective tool that can enhance the productivity of our internal developers and eventually benefit our customers.

Once we have refined the tool and ensured it delivers significant value, we will address the packaging and business model aspects. This may involve offering it as a standalone product or as an add-on to existing Oracle services. Our goal is to make Oracle Code Assist accessible and valuable to as many developers as possible, and we will determine the best approach to achieve this as we move closer to a market release.