Simon Willison’s Weblog


picopilot (via) Kyle Carberry's "GitHub Copilot in 70 lines of JavaScript". The title is a little hyperbolic, but the code itself really does implement an OpenAI powered Visual Studio Code text completion extension in 71 lines of code. This is an excellent example for learning what a minimal VS Code extension looks like.

Here's the system prompt it uses:

You provide code completion results given a prefix and suffix. Respond with a JSON object with the key 'completion' containing a suggestion to place between the prefix and suffix. Follow existing code styles. Listen to comments at the end of the prefix. The language is "{language}".

Then it passes the prefix and suffix as two user messages, and uses the "response_format": {"type": "json_object"} option to enforce JSON output from the GPT-4o API.

The feature this is missing is the thing that makes GitHub Copilot so impressive: Copilot does a whole bunch of clever tricks to find snippets of relevant code from the current and other nearby files and includes them with the prompt, resulting in much higher quality completions.