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Amazon acquires Fig to enhance the command line for developers

Amazon.com Inc. has acquired Fig, a startup that focuses on providing developers a better experience at the command line interface with tools such as autocomplete and collaboration.

In the announcement today, Fig Chief Executive Brendan Falk said the company and its team would be joining Amazon subsidiary Amazon Web Services Inc. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Although developers spend a great deal of time in integrated development environments, which are programming tools used for writing and editing code that look like a text editors, the command line is where a lot of brute configuration and setup happens. It’s a program that takes commands directly from the user and passes them directly to a computer’s operating system line by line.

In most instances, the command line interface is far more austere than an editor, offers a less interactive user experience and is more difficult to work with. With Fig’s autocomplete offering, users get suggestions on what commands or flags come next, which takes a great deal of burden off developers and operators who are doing work at such a low level.

Amazon’s interest in Fig’s product aligns with the company’s developer-centric trend of providing systems that shift the burden of building and shipping applications off software engineers and operations. In April, Amazon released CodeCatalyst, a unified cloud software development service designed to reduce the time for team to build and deploy software on AWS.

Falk also said that Fig would be part of Amazon’s ultimate vision to incorporate artificial intelligence into more of its developer-focused products. “AWS believes that generative AI represents a major technological shift to transform the way its customers build,” Falk said.

Amazon already provides coding support for developers with CodeWhisperer, which is and AI-powered coding assistant that resides in IDE and generate computer code automatically, provide real-time code suggestions and more. The addition of auto-complete at the command line terminal, which could in time be powered by a generative AI, would complete the pair of interfaces where developers do most of their work.

Amazon’s competitors have similar AI-powered coding assistants that the company is trying to keep up with, such as Microsoft Corp.’s GitHub Copilot X and Google LLC’s Duet AI assistant for coders and Studio Bot for Android developers.

Since launching in 2020, Fig raised $2.2 million in seed funding and now boasts thousands of developers and large organizations using its service including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Atlassian Corp. and Salesforce Inc.

As for the future of the product, Falk said, “Existing users will continue to be able to use Fig and will receive ongoing support.” He added that with the acquisition, existing first-tier “Fig Team” features are now free to users. However, new users will not be able to sign up as the company focuses on integrating with AWS.

Image: Pixabay

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