Copilot or similar tool integration in R Studio - plans?

I have a significant investment into more than a decade's worth of teaching R at introductory and advanced levels in bioinformatics and related domains, with R Studio. Of course, this all needs to be completely rewritten from the ground up this year, because of ChatGPT and Copilot and related AI-tools.

The basic decision that I need to make within the next six to eight weeks or so is: do I wait for availability within RStudio, or do I switch my courses to Visual Studio? What's the word on this?


(If you ARE Posit, you're welcome to contact me off-list for background.)

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I thought this was going to be a post saying you were going to stop using RStudio if they stuck Copilot in there, which is what I'd recommend. Its ethically suspect:

and I don't think a company, especially one that claims to be working for the public good, should dirty itself with association with such ethically poor entities. But hey, if there's money in it, it'll happen, or someone else will write an integration...

Let's not make this a copyright thread, shall we? That's not the point. It would be unethical to not teach students the practice that they are going to use in the "real world"; after all they are investing into what they believe is a cutting edge education. It's not me who makes that decision, it's they.

So I'm genuinely curious how Posit sees this.


I could be wrong, but I believe that its Github Copilot themselves that developed their integration via the use of extensions for VS Code (also Jetbrains IDE and Neovim) ; Rstudio IDE has long supported 'addins'; Perhaps you could contact Github Copilot and ask for such an an addin for your preferred platform? or could you start an open source project to develop one ? (I don't know about the legalities of that).

RStudio won't support Copilot anytime soon. RStudio is free and open source, whereas Copilot is a proprietary Microsoft technology, and Microsoft only licenses it for use with their official, closed-source software and plugins. The few third-party plugins that exist function by ripping off binaries from the official plugins, which of course isn't something we're going to do.

There is a possibility that Microsoft and Posit will come to some agreement that permits Copilot inside RStudio, and there is also a possibility that RStudio will implement a Copilot-like AI programming assistant using open data and technologies. However, neither of these are likely to land in the next 6 months (and certainly not in the next 6-8 weeks), so if Copilot integration is a requirement for you, VS Code is the way to go.

A few links that might be helpful:

This 3rd party plugin provides ChatGPT integration into RStudio. It's not as slick as Copilot integration -- you have to be more specific about your intentions, etc. -- but it's pretty cool. If you have your students on an RStudio Server, you could have it preinstalled.

There's also this Github issue requesting Copilot support in RStudio -- feel free to comment/upvote.


There is also the {gpttools} package specific to R use - GitHub - JamesHWade/gpttools: gpttools extends gptstudio for package development to help you document code, write tests, or even explain code


Thanks for the perspective Jonathan. I really appreciate it. I think I'll see if a hybrid solution will work, where we'll have VS and RStudio pointing to the same project folders.

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