Create a Serverless, Watson-Powered Chatbot for Your Business

Add a conversation widget to your web page that handles questions for you

Glynn Bird
Apr 11, 2017 · 4 min read
  • Do you have a Facebook page?
  • Can I make a booking?
Concierge chatbot, in three stages.

Pre-requisites

Before you can build your own chatbot, you must sign up for some accounts and install some tools on your machine.

  • Bluemix sign up for a Bluemix account. There’s nothing to install on your machine as Bluemix hosts its services for you in the cloud.
  • OpenWhisk — In your Bluemix dashboard, visit the OpenWhisk page to download and configure the wsk command-line tool using those instructions. OpenWhisk is IBM's serverless computing platform that lets you host code in the cloud without paying for dedicated computing power to run it.
  • Watson Conversation — In your Bluemix dashboard, find the Watson Conversation service in the catalog and sign up for an account. Make a note of the username and password of your service — you’ll need that shortly.
  • Concierge Chatbot — run npm install -g concierge-chatbot to install the chatbot generation script. You may need to prefix that command with sudo depending on how Node.js is configured on your machine.

Roll your own chatbot

To create a chatbot, simply run concierge-chatbot from the command line. You're prompted for your Watson Conversation credentials and details about your business (ignore the questions about Cloudant for now):

How does this work?

There’s lots going on here, so take a breath and see what you’ve created.

Storing your conversations

If you would like to store the conversations that your widget has then you need to add a database. You’re going to spin up a Cloudant NoSQL database and ask the OpenWhisk action to store the conversation data as it happens.

  1. In the Cloudant service’s dashboard, create a new database called “concierge” (or whatever you like)
  2. Re-run the concierge-chatbot supplying the Cloudant URL and database name when prompted

Free and open-source

All of the code described here is free for you to use and modify yourself:

IBM CODAIT

Things we made with data at IBM’s Center for Open Source Data and AI Technologies.

Glynn Bird

Written by

Developer @ IBM. https://glynnbird.com

IBM CODAIT

Things we made with data at IBM’s Center for Open Source Data and AI Technologies.