GPT-Engineer: The Future of AI-Powered Coding Is Here!

Lynn Mikami
5 min readOct 31, 2023

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GPT-Engineer: The Future of Coding or Just Hype?

Imagine a world where you could build an entire application with just a single prompt. Sounds like science fiction, right? But that’s precisely what GPT-Engineer promises to do. This tool is causing quite a stir in the tech community, and for a good reason. It leverages the power of GPT-3 and GPT-4 language models to automate the coding process, making it easier than ever to turn your ideas into functional applications.

In this article, we’ll dig deep into GPT-Engineer, exploring its capabilities, limitations, and how it stacks up against other tools in the market. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a newbie looking to get into the coding game, this is one article you won’t want to miss.

What is GPT-Engineer?

GPT-Engineer is an open-source tool designed to automate the coding process. It uses GPT-4 or GPT-3.5 Turbo to generate code based on a prompt you provide. In simpler terms, it’s like having a coding assistant that can understand natural language instructions and turn them into functional code. Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

  • Installation: You can install GPT-Engineer via pip or clone its GitHub repository. Once installed, you’ll need to export your OpenAI API key to make it functional.
  • Creating a Project: You’ll need to create a directory with a prompt file that describes what you want the application to do. This prompt file is crucial as it guides the tool in generating the appropriate code.
  • Code Generation: After reading the prompt, GPT-Engineer may ask for additional clarifications. Once it has enough information, it generates the code, which can include backend and frontend components.

Real-World Applications

GPT-Engineer is incredibly versatile. Here are some examples of what it can do:

  • API Generation: Need to create a RESTful API? Just provide a prompt describing the endpoints, and GPT-Engineer will generate the necessary code, usually using frameworks like FastAPI or Flask.
  • Web Forms: If you need a web form for user input, GPT-Engineer can generate that too. It will create the HTML, CSS, and even the backend logic to handle form submissions.
  • Complete Applications: Believe it or not, GPT-Engineer can generate entire applications. For instance, you can prompt it to create a Google Forms clone, and it will generate both the frontend and backend code.

Limitations and How to Overcome Them

While GPT-Engineer is powerful, it’s not perfect. Here are some limitations you should be aware of:

  • Code Errors: Sometimes, the generated code may have errors or bugs. It’s essential to review the code and make necessary adjustments.
  • API Key Requirement: You’ll need an OpenAI API key, which is not free. However, the cost is generally worth it given the time you’ll save.
  • Learning Curve: While GPT-Engineer simplifies coding, you still need some coding knowledge to make the most of it. For example, you should be familiar with the programming languages and frameworks that GPT-Engineer supports.

Despite these limitations, the tool’s benefits far outweigh its drawbacks. With ongoing updates and a supportive community, GPT-Engineer is continually improving, making it an invaluable asset for developers.

How to Get Started with GPT-Engineer

So you’re intrigued by the capabilities of GPT-Engineer and want to give it a spin. Great choice! But before you dive into coding, there are some preliminary steps to take. Let’s walk through them.

Installation Process

Installing GPT-Engineer is a breeze. You have two main options:

  1. Via pip: Open your terminal and run the following command:
  • pip install gpt-engineer
  1. Clone from GitHub: If you prefer to get the latest version directly from the source, you can clone the GitHub repository:
  • git clone cd gpt-engineer pip install .

Note: Whichever method you choose, you’ll need Python installed on your system. GPT-Engineer is compatible with Python 3.6 and above.

Setting Up the Environment

After installation, you’ll need to set up your OpenAI API key. This is crucial because GPT-Engineer relies on GPT-3 or GPT-4 to generate code. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get an API Key: If you don’t already have an OpenAI API key, you’ll need to get one from the OpenAI website. Sign up, and they’ll provide you with a key.
  2. Export the API Key: Open your terminal and run the following command to export your API key as an environment variable:
  • export OPENAI_API_KEY="your-api-key-here"

Now you’re all set to start your first project with GPT-Engineer!

Your First Project: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’ve installed GPT-Engineer and set up your environment. Now it’s time to create your first project. The process is straightforward but involves several crucial steps.

Creating a Directory and Prompt File

First, you’ll need to create a directory where your project will reside. Open your terminal and run:

mkdir my_first_project
cd my_first_project

Inside this directory, create a prompt file. This file will contain the instructions for GPT-Engineer. You can name it anything, but for this example, let’s call it prompt.txt. Open it in a text editor and write your instructions. For instance, if you want to create a simple API to fetch user data, your prompt.txt might look like this:

Create a FastAPI application with an endpoint to fetch user data by ID.

Running GPT-Engineer and Answering Clarification Questions

With your prompt file ready, it’s time to run GPT-Engineer. Go back to your terminal, make sure you’re in your project directory, and run:

gpt-engineer --prompt prompt.txt

GPT-Engineer will read the prompt and may ask for additional clarifications. For example, it might ask what data fields the user object should have. Answer these questions as clearly as possible.

Once GPT-Engineer has all the information it needs, it will generate the code for your application. You’ll find all the generated files in your project directory.

You can test it out by forking the GPT-Engineer GitHub!

Conclusion: Is GPT-Engineer the Future of Coding?

GPT-Engineer is undoubtedly a groundbreaking tool that promises to revolutionize the way we approach coding. Its ability to automate various aspects of software development makes it an invaluable asset for developers. However, like any tool, it has its limitations and should be used judiciously.


What can GPT Engineer do? It can automate coding tasks, generating both frontend and backend code based on a prompt.

What is GPT Engineer language? It uses GPT-3 or GPT-4 language models to understand and generate code.

What is the difference between GPT Engineer and aider? While both are automation tools, GPT Engineer focuses on code generation, whereas aider may have a broader range of functionalities.

Is GPT Engineer free to use? The tool itself is open-source, but you’ll need an OpenAI API key, which is not free.

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