Future of TabNine

December 9, 2018

Currently TabNine looks like this:

It’s going to look like this:

The great thing about as-you-type suggestions is that you don’t need to take action to show them: you only need to take a physical action once you’ve decided to accept the suggestion. But as-you-type suggestions shouldn’t be limited to code completion. We should have them for documentation and code examples as well. This information is available already, since you can search online for code examples and documentation. The problem is that this requires a conscious decision: you need to decide to search for the information before you can access it. Some editors show documentation when you hover over an identifier, but this only mitigates the problem and doesn’t solve it: you still need to make a conscious decision to access the information.

While developing TabNine, there have been many times when I’ve typed something like Regex, and then shortly afterwards opened Google and searched for ‘rust regex’. In the future it will just take a single click to go from your text editor to the Regex documentation.

Since TabNine has no externally imposed deadlines, I will impose one on myself: I intend to build this functionality by the end of January 2019, and release it to the public by the end of February. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but on balance it should save users time. Using tools like TabNine has a cost in that you need to spend time looking at the suggestions and judging whether they’re relevant, so they must meet a baseline level of suggestion quality in order to be worth it.

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