Catbot the Chatbot!

I wanted to try building my own chatbot and there are now a number of sites which help you do exactly that, for free. There are some well-known sites like Chatfuel or Wit.ai but I came across a site called Dexter and decided to start there. I’m really glad I did because they’ve made it incredibly easy to create your own chatbot.

There’s no coding required, which is helpful for someone like me who has no idea what they’re doing. The site gets you up and running immediately by allowing you to dive right in and start creating a script for your chatbot. The help documents available on Dexter are well-written and within a few hours, I was able to share my chatbot with friends.

This is what the Dexter interface looks like. When you write the script, you begin to understand what kind of logic the chatbot uses and can build increasingly more sophisticated chatbots. Let’s just say my chatbot is more friendly than sophisticated.

I created my chatbot on October 15. At that point, there was no option to share my chatbot on a website, so I decided to share via Facebook messenger. To do this, I had to create a Facebook developer account.

And also create a Facebook page. I’m not sure what to do with these things, but I made a cute profile photo for the page.

This is what the chatbot looks like in Facebook. It’s fun – you can watch live while people interact with the chatbot and immediately step in to respond directly in the chat or to update the chatbot logic.

A day after creating the chatbot, I logged back into Dexter and discovered they had released a new feature which allows you to place the chatbot on your website. I did this immediately and if you click on the little chat bubble in the lower right corner of the screen, you can talk to the chatbot. It works properly on a desktop but mobile seems to have some issues.

I definitely encourage anyone who has no idea what they’re doing but are curious about making a chatbot to try Dexter. I had originally planned on testing out the various chatbot sites to see which I liked best but Dexter has been a great learning experience so far, so I might just stick with them.

I’m sure that CatBot will continue to evolve – it’s only been a few days, so I have a lot to learn. But I’m really happy so far with the results.