Facebook Chatbot: Things I wish I knew sooner
In this article, I put together some of the non-obvious things which I encountered while building and publishing my first Facebook bot. They are very simple, I wish I understood some of them sooner, so I could be more productive during the process.
Although it’s very tempting to jump right into building your first bot as soon as possible, and this is what Facebook encourages you to do with 10-minute start guide, Facebook Messenger platform is more powerful than you might think, take time to go through every page in the documentation, so that you understand your future bot’s full potential.
Facebook messenger platform is still in beta. Even though the documentation is very well written, I often find myself looping around docs and open one page after another until I end up with something like this.
Just save the links you need into your bookmarks bar. Here are some of the most useful pages.
Understanding ‘Edit Page Subscription Fields’
When I first saw ‘Edit Page Subscription Fields’, I didn’t realize what all the fields stand for, and I also didn’t get that there is explanation for that. Well, here it is. If you didn’t know what all of subscription meant either, you will after you read these docs. Simple.
messages maps to Message
messaging_optins — Plugin Opt-in
message_deliveries — Message Delivered
message_reads — Message Read
messaging_payments — Payment (beta)
messaging_pre_checkouts — Pre-Checkout Webhook
messaging_checkout_updates — Checkout Update
messaging_account_linking — Account Linking
messaging_referrals — Referral
message_echoes maps to Message Echo
If you want to grant other people permission to test your chatbot, you should go to the app (not page!) dashboard and click Roles and then add testers.
Submitting bot for review
When you just start creating your bot, only you and allowed testers can interact with it. After you’re ready to make your bot public you are to go through a certain process of review. It sounds scary but it’s very easy. I got my bots approved within 3 to 24 hours, even though you get following message when you submit (image below).
All you need is:
- set profile picture for your app 1024x1024
- examples for different use cases of your bot
- description of your bot
- screencast showing your bot’s interactions