Posts categorized as "project journal":

a bot for sounds

Chatbots are cool.

We are long past the days when texting a bot was just a novelty, a silly pastime, a way to check your Skype connection. In fact I have this hunch that in the near future many of the mobile apps of today are gonna fully transition into a messenger bot model, especially those that do little more than interface users with a real world service.

As features like live location sharing, payment processing and support for natural language input become more commonplace in the APIs of chat applications, there’s less and less incentive for having a dedicated Uber or Domino’s app taking up your smartphone’s precious resources. As a matter of fact both of these companies have already launched Facebook Messenger bots that do pretty much anything a separate app (or, God forbid, a phone call) could conceivably offer.

And that’s all very well and good, but what gets my inner hacker the most excited about this whole deal is knowing that the tech is getting good fast. Chatbot APIs get better by the minute, and there’s always something new and shiny to tinker with. So that’s what I’m gonna do.

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webhooks are hard

It’s been a while since I began toying with the idea of hosting Soundbot on AWS Lambda. Going with a serverless platform seemed like the perfect fit for implementing a simple assistant bot. The bot would receive a short instruction in the form of a message, the Lambda would spring into action, do whatever it had been told to, report back to the user with some sort of confirmation, and die quietly.

It was a match made in heaven: no servers to mantain, no pooling for unread messages, no load balancing; all my needs neatly taken care of by the magic of the Amazon Web Services.

And you know what? I was mostly right.

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