🤖🔍 Tabnine and GitHub Copilot:
A Comparison of Code Completion Tools

Piotr Leś Frontend Developer

Looking to enhance your coding experience? Check out our comparison of Tabnine and GitHub Copilot and discover which one can save you more time and boost productivity.

💰 Pricing | Tabnine offers a free plan and costs $12 per user per month if billed annually or $15 per user per month if billed monthly. GitHub Copilot costs $10 per month, per user whether billing monthly or annually. However, Copilot currently does not offer a free plan. Both tools also have enterprise plans available.

👨‍💻 Code Completions | Both tools offer whole lines and full functions completions. However, only Tabnine offers midline completions, which suggest real-time code completions as you type. At the moment, Copilot does not support this feature.

☁️ Cloud/Offline Mode | Both Tabnine and GitHub Copilot work in cloud mode by default. Only Tabnine offers an Offline mode, which allows the Tabnine AI model to run locally on the developer’s machine without transferring code over a network. This is an essential feature for security reasons, especially when the developers are working on confidential code.

🔒 Code Privacy & Compliance  | Tabnine guarantees that user code is never used for training the publicly available model. Users can voluntarily opt-in to share their code to improve the public AI model, but it requires the user to make a conscious choice to do so. In contrast, GitHub Copilot collects “User Engagement Data” that includes pseudonymous identifiers and general usage data, which cannot be turned off.

🧠 AI Model Training | Tabnine has two AI models – a Public model that is trained on open-source repositories with permissive licenses, and a Private model that is trained only on the user’s private codebase. Users can enable both models or choose to use only one of them. In contrast, GitHub Copilot trains its public model on natural language text and source code from publicly available sources, including code in public repositories on GitHub.

🔌 Integration | Both tools integrate with popular code editors through their respective extensions and work with many different programming languages. Tabnine has a user-friendly dashboard where you can edit the settings and see statistics such as how many lines it autocomplete and how much time you saved by using it.

👨‍💻 Conclusion

Both Tabnine and GitHub Copilot offer great support for writing code, with good integration with most popular IDEs and a wide range of programming languages and technologies. However, in terms of security and data privacy, Tabnine is the clear winner, offering more transparency and customization options, such as the ability to only use a private AI model. Tabnine is clear about its privacy rules and does not collect any data other than what the users agree with.

In summary, while both tools have their pros and cons, it’s important to evaluate them based on your specific needs as a developer.