AI is about empowering your workflow, not about taking over your work. Let’s take this blog to look at that statement. “Empowering your workflow” means that AI augments your abilities. It means we can focus on the code that only we can write and let AI deal with the boilerplate code. It’s about using tools to speed up onboarding and setup. Finally, it’s about moving the security needle towards the developer.

Augment Our Abilities

No matter how many people tell you they are a 10X Developer, don’t believe them. Nobody knows as much as these mythical developers claim to know. That is why we have tools. They exist to help us become the best developer we possibly can be. Bringing AI into an IDE isn’t about how can we make a machine do everything I do, but how can I focus on the real business problems and ignore the boilerplate? Saying “ignore” is a bit of a misnomer because you really need to check the code that AI writes for you, but it gives you a leg up and a large time savings.

Speed Up Onboarding

Microsoft Dev Box is a new Azure offering that allows a developer to have access to a high-performance workstation that is preconfigured and ready to code for specific projects. Whew that’s a mouthful. Let’s break it down though. It’s a machine that is fast to spin up that has all your source code on it and an IDE of choice. You can also set it up with all the required SDKs needed for the software project that you are working on. Then, here’s the genius thing, you can templatize that and spin up a new development environment in a few minutes instead of a new recruit spending a month going through old Confluence documents, PDFs, and markdown files to figure out how to setup their machine.

Visual Studio Unified Settings is a method to store both individual and team settings in Visual Studio and sync those settings in the cloud. This makes setting up a new machine a breeze because all these settings are in the cloud and as soon as you sign in to Visual Studio the settings get pushed to your machine.

That’s great that you can spin up a new machine really quick and get the team settings into Visual Studio faster, but what about all that infrastructure for the enterprise? This is where Azure Deployment Environments fits into the equation. Azure Deployment Environments allows someone to quickly and easily spin up the entire app infrastructure with project-based templates. These templates are consistent and provide maximum security.

AI Security

Microsoft is bringing AI Security into a Copilot. Called Microsoft Security Copilot this AI tool is a security analysis tool that enables DevOps to respond to threats quickly to reduce risk exposure. That’s fine and dandy, but at build they talked about moving security concerns closer to when the developer has a chance to secure the system better. A breach could cost many millions of dollars to fix, but if you could find that same problem in the dev lifecycle it would only cost $80.

Security is moving towards the developer.

They also pointed out (on this slide) that there are 570x more developers than security researchers. This means that the best time to find these security holes is during development. But learning the OWASP top 10 only takes us so far. A Security Copilot would be able to monitor all modern categories of attacks in real time as the developer is coding. Just add a check in hook and the Copilot would run against the code base looking for problems. It sure beats learning the top ten from 2017 when a new top ten was released in 2021. 😉

AI will assist the developer as much as IntelliCode helped us. I can’t wait for these tools to be ubiquitous.