Code How to Start a Telegram Bot With PHP

If you are reading this, you know that chat bots are one of the biggest tech trends of 2016.

The bot revolution is not only about artificial intelligence. A bot can be a tool in your messenger with a simple chat interface that can be used to extend the functionality of sites or services or can even be a standalone application. Bots are cheaper to develop and easier to install, and another great feature is that messengers can be used on every type of device — laptops, smartphones, and tablets. That’s why everybody is crazy about bots now.

And the biggest messenger with an open bot API is Telegram.

What We Are Going to Do

In this article we will create a simple stopwatch Telegram bot. I will show you how to create your bot, connect with analytics, write some code, and finally add your bot to a bot store.

By the way, I’ve already prepared a demo, so you can test it just by adding @stopwatchbot to your Telegram contact list.

Create a Bot With BotFather

The first step to creating a bot is to register the account of your bot in Telegram. And there is a bot for that, called the BotFather. Just add it to your contact list and you’ll be able to create and set up Telegram bots, just by typing the /newbot command and following the instructions of BotFather.

After registering your new bot, you will receive a congratulations message with an authorization token. We will use this token soon to authorize a bot and send requests to the Bot API.

Later you can use BotFather to add descriptions or photos to the profiles of your bots, regenerate tokens, set lists of commands to use, delete accounts, and so on. To get a full list of commands, just type /help in a chat to get a list of BotFather’s commands.

Connect to Botan Analytics

There is no built-in analytics in the Telegram Bots API, but it’s important to know how many users you have, how they act, and which commands they trigger more. Of course, we can collect this information using our own engine, but if we want to focus on bot functionality, not metrics, we just need to use an out-of-the-box solution.

And there is a simple tool to connect your bot to analytics, called Botan. It’s based on Yandex AppMetric and completely free. Using Botan, you can segment your audience, get information about user profiles, get the most used command, and get beautiful graphs right in your messenger, like this:

To get started, you need to register your bot in Botan and get a token. And again, you can do it with a bot, BotanioBot:

Just click the “Add bot” key on the dialog keyboard, type the nick of your bot, and you will get your bot track token. Now Botanio is ready to track your bot events, and you can get statistics by users, sessions, retention and events right in your messenger.

Create and Register an SSL Webhook

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