Building a Bot with about 0.2% Knowledge in Programming

A while back, I was given the task to create a workflow for a Chatbot based on very vague ideas of what we wanted it to do. With no background on how the technology works, my imagination ran wild (think The Machine in Person of Interest) and it is suffice to say that not much was accomplished. It then dawned upon me that in order to design an awesome bot, there is a need to understand the technology that enables it; to decide what we want it to do, we have to understand what it can do. At least that’s how I see it.

In terms of technology, I think there are a few different types of resources / environments / frameworks that one can choose from, but because I’ve been exposed to all things Microsoft, I’d be working on their version of things. From what I understand, it wouldn’t disadvantage my bot as it’ll still be able to perform on platforms outside Microsoft (aka Skype) like on Facebook.

So I was exploring where to start when I came across the Microsoft Virtual Academy and they had a course “Creating Bots in the Microsoft Bot Framework using Node.js”. It seemed like a decent place to begin so I went ahead to create an account and watch a couple of videos. To my surprise, I was able to follow most parts of it, with difficulties of course, and that was when the idea of starting this series of posts occurred to me. Hopefully, these writings will one day save someone’s life (lol).

So, shall we begin this exciting and possibly excruciating and arduous adventure?