We Tried 10 ChatGPT Coding Alternatives So You Don’t Have To


In the ever-evolving world of software development, developers are constantly seeking intelligent tools to enhance their coding abilities and streamline their workflows.

While AI companies have been around for a decade, the AI battle has been heating up aggressively in the past 6 months since the birth of ChatGPT.

But since then, there are many other similar coding alternatives - some built from the ground-up while others built upon OpenAI's technologies.

In this blog post, we explore the top 10 ChatGPT coding alternatives, examining and comparing their features.

Popular AI Search Tools Amongst Developers (according to Stack Overflow)

In the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023, developers were asked "Which AI-powered search tools did you use regularly over the past year, and which do you want to work with over the next year? Select all that apply."

Out of 63,024 responses, ChatGPT emerged as the preferred AI search tool among respondents, with 83% having utilized it in the past year.

In comparison, Bing AI ranked as the second choice with a usage rate of 20%.

While the excitement surrounding emerging AI search technology continues to rise, competing with ChatGPT's established user base remains a challenge for other tools.

Only four options received selections of 10% or higher from respondents interested in trying them in the coming year.

Credits: Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023

How Are We Comparing Them?

We will be asking 2 questions that are close to what you as a software engineers will encounter previously.

  1. General reasoning and pros and cons comparison: "For React, why should you use functional component instead of class component?"
  2. Code generating question: "Given an integer x, return true if x is a palindrome, and false otherwise." (Yes, it's a LeetCode's easy question)

We will also be evaluating their unique features, ease of use, and usefulness for coding.

And since your time is probably precious, we will write a TL;DR in 5 words or less for each of them.

Note: We excluded Neeva AI because they have pivoted after its acquisition by Snowflake

1. ChatGPT (83.24%)

ChatGPT is a model developed by OpenAI that interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.

It is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.

ChatGPT is fine-tuned from a model in the GPT-3.5 series, which finished training in early 2022. It was trained using Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), using the same methods as InstructGPT, but with slight differences in the data collection setup.

OpenAI is an American artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory consisting of the non-profit OpenAI Incorporated and its for-profit subsidiary corporation OpenAI Limited Partnership. OpenAI conducts AI research with the declared intention of promoting and developing friendly AI.

TL;DR: All-purpose tool without latest information

As the most popular AI tool among developers, ChatGPT does a pretty good job of succinctly answering our questions, whether they are general inquiries or requests to generate code.

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2. Bing AI (20.6%)

Bing AI, also known as Bing Chat, is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by Microsoft and released in 2023. It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-4 foundational large language model (LLM) and has been fine-tuned using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.

OpenAI has declined to reveal the technical information such as the size of the GPT-4 model. What we’ve known is that GPT-4 is a large multimodal model (accepting image and text inputs, emitting text outputs) that exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks.

TL;DR: Updated information but has bugs

Coming in 2nd on the popularity list, Bing AI can be a better alternative to ChatGPT if you require up-to-date information, but it falls behind significantly when it comes to generating code (there's even a UI bug).

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3. WolframAlpha (13.36%)

WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine that answers factual queries directly by using algorithms and built-in knowledge on a wide range of topics, including mathematics, science, history, and many others. 

It computes expert-level answers using Wolfram’s breakthrough algorithms, knowledgebase, and AI technology.

The key difference between ChatGPT and Wolfram is that the former is based on statistical approaches to training large language models (LLM), while Wolfram is a symbolic computation engine (meaning it is heavily math-based).

TL;DR: Not for most developers

As of today, it appears that Wolfram Alpha may not be the best option for our day-to-day engineering needs, but it can be incredibly useful for individuals who work extensively with mathematics, visualization and data.

4. Google Bard AI (9.86%)

Google Bard is Google’s answer to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It is an experimental conversational AI service powered by Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), seeking to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of Google’s large language models. 

The LaMDA model is trained on some 137 billion parameters, while GPT-3.5, the basis for ChatGPT, has 175 billion, suggesting Google’s version could have a more limited scope.

TL;DR: Cool integrations, provide 3 drafts

Despite joining the scene 6 months after ChatGPT and being in the early experimental phase, Google Bard is a rather competitive product. Google Bard excels in its seamless Google integrations by allowing you to export the output tables to Google Sheets or code to Google Colab.

It also generates 3 drafts instead of 1, which can be useful for comparison and obtaining the best result.

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5. Phind (3.28%)

Phind is an AI-powered search engine designed specifically for developers. Optimized for technical questions, Phind instantly answers questions with simple explanations and relevant code snippets from the web.

 Founded by Michael Royzen (previously at Lyft, Cloudflare and Microsoft) and Justin Wei (previously at Citadel, Google and Adobe), the Y Combinator-backed startup is powered by large, proprietary generative AI language models that are able to search the internet and generate updated answers based on information from multiple sources.

TL;DR: ChatGPT, but for developers

Given that Phind is using GPT-3.5 to power their search, it is not surprising that we get very similar results to those produced by ChatGPT, which is powered by the same technology.

What stands out is the option to opt for shorter answers and add code or context for better results.

You can run the code in Replit in 1 click.

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6. You.com (2.54%)

You.com is a search engine built on artificial intelligence that provides users with a customized search experience while keeping their data 100% private. 

You.com summarizes the best parts of the internet for you, with private ads and privacy options. Its AI helps you find the most relevant results from the web and apps that you can sort and prioritize for an optimum search experience.

You.com was founded in 2020 by Richard Socher, the former chief scientist at Salesforce, and raised $25M in July 2022 to fuel its AI-powered search engine.

TL;DR: Not developer-focused, UI can improve

While asking questions to You.com, we realized that the answers are in a big block, which makes them less readable.

Additionally, it does not intuitively provide code snippets unless explicitly prompted, which might explain why it is currently lagging behind other AI search tools that preceded it.

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Question 2 (Explicit prompt to write the code)

7. Perplexity AI (1.17%)

Perplexity AI is a web crawler that uses machine learning to generate general answers to your queries and then offer a series of website links. It unlocks the power of knowledge with information discovery and sharing. Perplexity AI is powered by large language models, specifically OpenAI’s GPT technology.

Perplexity AI was founded by 4 co-founders who were previously at OpenAI, DeepMind, Meta AI, Quora, Databricks etc. The small interdisciplinary team also included members from top companies such as Palantir, Nvidia and Google.

Earlier March this year, Perplexity AI raised $26 million to compete in the AI search engine war.

TL;DR: ChatGPT with web crawling capabilities

Overall, Perplexity AI does a commendable job of answering our queries and assisting us in generating code snippets. Personally, what stood out to me was the intuitive user interface that enables seamless follow-up questions and further exploration.

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8. Quora Poe (1.02%)

Quora Poe is a chatbot service developed by Quora that gives users the ability to chat with a range of chatbots developed by different companies. These include well-known chatbots like ChatGPT, and in a limited capacity, the newer GPT-4 language model version of ChatGPT.

Poe stands for “Platform for Open Exploration” and was launched in December 2022.

TL;DR: Chatbots aggregators, ideal for comparing

Without subscribing to Poe, you only get a few messages per day with the more advanced chatbots. Subscribers get 600 GPT-4 messages and 1,000 Claude+ messages a month. After that, response times and accuracy can be worse, depending on how busy the service is.

All in all, Poe serves more as a wrapper for other AI search engines and chatbots, so the results are similar to using the other tools directly

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9. Andi (0.31%)

Andi is an AI-powered search engine that uses generative AI and language models combined with live data to generate factually correct answers to questions, and to explain and summarize information combined from the best sources. It is a search chatbot that is accurate, ad-free, and privacy-focused.

Behind the scenes, it's a new type of search engine that uses generative AI and large language models (LLMs) combined with live data, smart algorithms and semantic search technology. Andi works like humans do, combining language models with reasoning and common sense. This means it can think before it answers, and doesn't make things up like other chatbots.

TL;DR: Early stages with potential

From our experience, Andi appears to be lagging behind the other chatbots on the list.

At first, it seemed like it did not generate any code snippet even when given an explicit prompt, and the results seem less relevant.

However, we notice there's a "Generate Text" button that did indeed generate the code from the search results.

Overall, the product looks like it has potential and might be more useful if the features are not "hidden".

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10. Metaphor (0.20%)

Last on the list is Metaphor, who set itself out to redesign web search from the ground up using AI.

Backed by Y Combinator too, its first public beta, Metaphor V1, is the only internet-cale neural search engine powered by novel LLM architectures and self-supervised objectives.

TL;DR: Google without advertisements (yet)

Metaphor reminds us of Google as it returned a list of links instead and could not generate any code snippet.

While it offers a cleaner interface and delivers more accurate results without paid links, we wish it provided short descriptions of each website to help us better understand what to expect when opening the links.

Overall, might not be the best tool for software development work.

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In this blog post, we have embarked on a captivating journey through the realm of ChatGPT coding alternatives and how developers leverage these tools can streamline their workflows, receive intelligent suggestions, and conquer complex coding challenges with ease.

As the future of development continues to unfold, embracing AI-powered coding alternatives will become increasingly vital. The potential for increased efficiency, creativity, and problem-solving is vast, opening doors to new possibilities and propelling the industry forward.

So, whether you're a seasoned developer or an aspiring coder, it's time to embrace the power of ChatGPT coding alternatives.

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