A free tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is bringing the emerging field of AI for code to hobbyists, students and professionals.

Developed by University of Oxford spinout Diffblue, the tool Diffblue Playground is set to be the first experience of AI for code for many users.

The tool is designed to mimic how humans perform unit tests, a standard practice in software development where the smallest individual components of a source code are tested to ensure they perform correctly.

Diffblue Playground is designed to generate such unit tests in a matter of seconds, requiring no effort from the human user. In doing so it is hoped that it will help learners better understand their code and learn the best practices for software testing.

AI for code as a learning tool

Playground is a freely available variant of Diffblue’s main product, Diffblue Cover, which is used by multinational companies around the globe.

The company hopes that by releasing this free version, it will be able to provide support for would-be developers who are currently learning how to develop software.

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“This is our way to connect with the next generation of developers. Since we founded Diffblue, we’ve wanted to get AI for code into the hands of as many developers as possible,” said Daniel Kroening, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, founder and CEO of Diffblue.

“According to Stack Overflow, over 80% of developers code as a hobby, and we’re excited to finally be able to offer it to the community of developers hungry for freely available resources,” added Peter Schrammel, CTO of Diffblue.

AI for code

The emerging field of AI for code

As demand for coding expertise continues to grow, so does the availability of AI for code tools that speed up the process of software development.

However, these have so far mostly remained in their infancy, with mature products largely only being available to the enterprise community.

“Until now, access to AI-powered automated unit testing products has been limited to commercial enterprises, and we look forward to seeing the reaction of the developer community,” said Schrammel.

“With Diffblue Playground, we’re excited to show the world the power of AI for Code and the boundless potential of using next-generation technology to improve the way in which we test and develop software,” added Kroening.

“We know that testing remains a real and growing pain point for developers and we anticipate significant demand from developers around the world who can use this for free.”