The Tools Every Bot Creator Must Know
Bot drafts, design tools, bot builders, tools for developers, analytics, and, ultimately distribution and monetization.
With the exploding growth of the ‘bots’ industry in the last few months, it is most likely only the beginning as there are more tools that help bot developers create better ‘bots,’ and in general, makes their lives a little bit easier. Alongside more popular tools, which already accumulated some seniority and got the attention of the media like ‘Watson’ from ‘IBM’ or ‘Chatfuel’ — today it is really hard to follow up with all the startup companies and other companies that launch products in this rapidly evolving field.
It could very well be that bot creators today are dealing with problems that other entrepreneurs can already help them solve or at least deal with them more easily. To this end, I decided to gather a short list of bot developing tools which my colleagues and I have got a chance to explore, ranging from NLP solutions to bot builders, analytics and more, which are already available and can serve you. The list is divided according to categories (some tools may appear under more than 1 category) and includes a short explanation about each tool and a link for further information.
What this list is not about: It is not the “trip advisor of bot tools” and I do not rate these platforms. It should be treated as a menu showing a glimpse ofthe dishes in a restaurant.
If you know any other tools you think should be added to this list, please drop your comment or send me an email with a short description to Ron@IAGO.chat
Table of Contents (Click to Skip to That Section)
- Bot Drafts and Design Tools
- Bot Builders
- Tools for Developers
- Monitoring and Analysis Tools
- Monetization and Distribution Tools
Bot Drafts and Design Tools
This simple tool can make your life much more comfortable. If until today, you had to draft conversation scripts when you imagined how your ‘bot’ is going to look when he gets out there, or how to easily explain to your developer exactly what you want, now you can improve the whole process. What ‘Botsociety’ can do for you is just to draft conversation scripts with a bot. This is most likely the fastest way to create a promo for a conversation with a bot. When all you have to do is just to submit the text (or the photo/emoji etc.) of the user and the bot response (or the other way round).
The result you will get immediately will be displayed graphically on your screen, and you can change different settings such as — the device which shows the conversation (iPhone/Galaxy/Black/white and more), the bot’s profile picture, his name, a number of ‘likes,’ and more.
After you finish creating a conversation, you can also create an animation that simulates the conversation by pressing the ‘Play’ button or to get the conversation in a static way. For an additional fee, you can also download the file in different formats.
‘ChatMapper’ is a tool for writing and testing non-linear dialogs and events for areas where there are more complicated problems such as entertainment, e-learning, emergency response, health diagnosis, sales, customer service, and strategic planning. This is in fact, a visual editor that allows to build dialogs and to manage conversation scripts.
The basic version is free, but for more advanced versions a purchasable product is the commercial version, a way that allows a team to use it simultaneously.
Walkie is a free and simple tool for designing dialogs with your bot. It is especially effective when you just want to draft a conversation script quickly in order to check wording, flow, and the interaction structure. The graphic interface is indeed a little bit limited and does not allow a choice of the mobile device that the conversation is taking place on (it simulates the WEB interface of ‘Slack’), but it compensate with a lot of editing option, adding various types of messages and process, free text typing, JSON exporting, and full integration into ‘Slack’ within seconds.
‘Chatfuel’ most likely does not need too much introduction. It is one of the first companies that presented a simple ‘bot builder’ and didn’t require prior knowledge of ‘coding’. As mentioned on their website, their goal is to “allow everyone to build a bot, easily.” As of today, it seems that ‘Chatfuel’ is providing the best performance in a relation between the simplicity of developing and the level of the features in the bot.
The product was available at first at ‘Telegram’ before ‘Facebook’ opened ‘Messenger’ for developers and grew quickly; but today, Chatfuel’s platform is supporting both applications.
Within the first few minutes after you opened your first account, you can easily understand how the platform is working and how to create your own bot with most of the features that ‘Facebook Messenger’ has to offer: quick response, buttons, and more.
If you are looking to build a fast and simple bot or even MVP for a more sophisticated bot — ‘Chatfuel’ is a great option. However, if you want to develop more complicated bots or even if your bot requires more advance property, there are other more comfortable tools, and I would recommend using ‘FrameWork,’ which is more advance and flexible.
Featured CBM: Botwars: Wit.ai vs. Chatfuel
Motion.ai is a great tool for building bots without any prior knowledge of coding. Here, as well, you can build a bot that has a variety of features that messaging applications have to offer (e.g. buttons, pictures, and much more). But compared to ‘Chatfuel,’ here you can build your bots for a much wide range of platforms like ‘Messenger,’ SMS, ‘Slack,’ Smooch,’ e-mail, web-based chat, and bots that interface to external API. The interface is relatively comfortable and mostly based on a draft of treemaps that contains the possible scripts of the bot.
It is important to note that in contrast to ‘Chatfuel’ — their service is completely free at the moment (unless you have over 100,000 messages in a month). In ‘Motion.ai’ you can use the basic version for free, but if you want to create more than 2 bots or if your bot will send more than 100,000 messages within a month, you will have to pay for one of the packages on the website that travels between 15$, 50$, and 100$.
Featured CBM: Build Chatbots Using Node.js in Motion.ai
‘Flow xo’ is a platform for building bots for ‘Facebook Messenger,’ ‘Telegram,’ and ‘Slack.’ Also, there is no need for prior knowledge of coding. You can use the premade forms in order to make fast bots for content sharing purposes, customer survey, and more in a simple conversation interface.
In the past, the company offered a solution for integrating between third-party programs similar to ‘IFTTT’ and ‘Zapier.’ When the company moved their focus in a tool for developing bots, they used their knowledge and experience they had and was among the first to offer a bot that can easily interface with external services such as ‘Twitter,’ ‘Salesforce,’ ‘Mailchimp,’ ‘Google Drive,’ ‘Evernote,’ and more.
The promise of ‘ManyChat’ is clear — “build a bot for ‘Facebook’ in 2 minutes.” Also, the company started when they were allowed to build bots for ‘Telegram’ and moved their focus to ‘Messenger.’ In ‘ManyChat,’ they give focus for business bots that allows the business proprietor to attach the bot to his page in a simple way and to open a new communication channel with his customers. Accordingly, the dashboard of ‘ManyChat’ is more suited for the business and marketing purposes of the bot creator and allows to distribute the bot more easily, in order to see the performance statistics more comfortably, sending timed messages, and to obtain demographic data on the users.
Recently, the platform also launched a paid pro version that allows expanding the basic options. For example, you can use tags for marketing campaigns or to time messages according to specific audiences, and a precise segmentation that allows improving the engagement with the bot significantly.
Botsify is another builder for ‘Messenger’ bots. It’s the biggest advantage at the moment and is mostly easy to work with ‘Wordpress.’ Additionally, you can also find video tutorials on the platform which is detailed for each step that will help those that want to build their bots in few minutes, even without having prior knowledge in designing bots. Features for marketing the bot, analytics, and integrations are updating frequently; and the tool, despite or perhaps because of its simplicity, is relatively comfortable.
You can create bots for free without any limitation on the number of bots or the number of monthly posts. However, the pricing is based on the number of integrations that you would like to connect to the bot.
Mindiq is a Bot that uses a developing tool without coding. In contrast to other tools that offers a free basic product, in ‘Mindiq’- even the most basic package is offered for 9.99$. On the other hand, you will receive more advanced tools like the ‘Messenger Newsletter’ that allows the sending of newsletters through ‘Messenger.’ The auto-broadcast, which permits the connection of posts to other platforms (‘Blog,’ ‘Youtube,’ ‘Twitter,’ etc.) on the bot through RSS and to send automatic updates that you upload there. Lastly, the ‘Commerce bot’ that allows you to start selling through the bot with fast integration to ‘Shopify’ and ‘Stripe.’
Sequel is a platform for building bots without coding, and is based on forms. Using ‘drag and drop’ interface, you can use one of the suggested forms — A content bot for publishers, personal bot, storytelling bot, game bot or to build a bot from scratch. Some of the features are still not available in its entirety, and therefore, it is possible that sometimes you will feel a bit limited, but for creating a basic bot — we refer to a very simple platform with a good, comfortable interface. Right now, you can create bots for ‘Facebook Messenger,’ ‘Telegram,’ and ‘KIK.’
It is a diverse platform for building and testing bots — for developers and for those who don’t write code. ‘Gupshup’ has a variety of features that allows bot creators to implement the platform tests, hosting, launching, monitoring, searching, and finding other bots. As said, the company has a few tools: the ‘bot builder IDE’ — designated for developers and allows writing a bot in a development environment that includes an analytical tool, NLP, monitoring, and testing. The other tool, ‘Flow bot builder,’ allows building a bot without writing code using a visual editor. Additionally, there are tools for business (bot forms ready for fast launching) and API for external applications.
Read Gupshup Founder’s Piece: Bot Platforms — Easy and Quick Way to Build Advanced Bots
A platform for building bots for Facebook pages. At the moment, it is only in ‘Facebook Messenger.’ The moment you give authorization to ‘ChatClub’ to access your business page, you can choose different models from which your bot will assemble automatically to your page. At the moment, you can choose from 4 different features: Content channels (it allows sending custom content and timed messages). Product catalog (allows building a basic catalog with options to change the title, picture, product description, and a link where you can buy the product). Group chat (allows creating a group chat for followers on the page). And a ‘Contact us’ button that you can link to your mail.
A SaaS platform that enables companies to easily build bots to interact and engage their customers throughout their lifecycle. Converse AI delivers a complete ‘botstack’, from integrations into messaging tools, NLP to it’s unique Chatflow workflow platform, through to human escalation and helpdesk integrations, all without needing to write a single line of code.
Tools for Developers
As of today, it is one of the most popular developing environments for bot developers. It allows building and connecting bots almost for every platform there is: SMS, Skype, Slack, Office 365, e-mail, KIK, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and other services.
With ‘Microsoft bot framework,’ you can download and use ‘SDK’ for ‘node.js’ ‘.NET’ or ‘REST;’ and also expose yourself to new bots through the ‘Bot directory.’ The documentation is very detailed and clear; and also, Microsoft’s tech support and the developer’s community who’s using the platform can help you give a fast response for most of the questions that might pop up.
‘Api.ai’ is providing advanced tools for developers and companies for building conversation interfaces. The company, which is recently purchased by Google, presents a platform that allows developers to integrate conversation interface systems (visual and also textual) in products that they build, and allows a smooth integration with them. This way, developers can save themselves the need to reinvent the wheel and facing challenges such as vocal recognition, identifying user’s intentions, and managing the logic connections. In addition to using the tool for developing bots, you can also use it for other purposes like wearable computing, applications, and products for smart homes.
At the moment, ‘Api.ai’ supports 15 languages; among them are English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.
‘Wit.ai’ provides NLP solution for developers. Using the API, you can use the text recognition and voice detection abilities of the platform completely for free, since it supports about 50 languages. The company was purchased by ‘Facebook’ in early 2015 in order to be assimilated in Facebook’s developer’s platform so that it can be easily used for ‘Messenger’ bots. But it is important to note that it’s not limited to internal use alone, and you can also use all of the abilities of the system for external use as well.
Professional hosting to AI and ‘machine learning,’ editing, permissions, and integrated conversation interfaces analysis environment. Recently, the company released a new set of tools for developers that allow you to create faster bots with conversation interfaces that you can integrate into Facebook, KIK, Slack, Skype, Telegram, and more using the API of the company. What’s really interesting is that the interactions are based on self-learning. By combining simple rules and self-learning AI engine, the bot can manage honest and useful conversations, and with abilities like ‘machine learning,’ it can also detect appropriate relationships.
‘Watson’ probably does not need too much introduction, and on the other hand, this is also not the place to elaborate about the variety of its abilities. We are talking about IBM’s smart system which is based on an artificial intelligence and communicate in a free language (NLP).
With ‘Watson,’ you can improve the abilities of your bot and use his API for an infinite variety of options — starting from the response in natural language to user’s questions using fast data extraction of texts and documents to uncovering insights, patterns, and relations in databases.
Monitoring and Analysis Tools
It is a great tool for gathering analytics about your bot. It allows bot creators to make decisions by using integrated information that gathered in the bot’s conversations history and also from real-time data. This way, you can generate relevant insights on your tough questions about new/repeated/abandoned conversations.
More advanced features also allow the comparison between different conversations, identifying features with high engagements, as well as a conversational analysis that is divided into stages and reaches the visualization of the data with a variety of filters that allows getting deep insights about the user’s behavior.
A relatively new tool that is still in a closed beta version (as at the moment of writing these lines), but you can sign up and get an invitation. ‘Wordshop’ is a tool based on AI that can track your bot in several platforms simultaneously, to alert you when there is a problem or a failure and shows insights based on data that improves your decision-making about the bot activity, and everything is in a conversation interface. You can also get statistics about the bot and to execute direct actions from the conversation interface (big advantage) such as stopping the bot, editing messages, and to take over the bot in real-time in order to give a human response directly with the user.
At the moment, the tool is supporting the following platform; Facebook Messenger, and Slack, and it is for free since the most advanced packages are displayed on the website, and the pricing will be updated soon.
An open-source solution for bot and conversation interface analysis. It is a simple and effective tool that can help you smartly analyze chat bots, voice bots, and in-app conversation interfaces.
In ‘Botmetrics,’ you can track after basic metrics such as the number of users, new users, number of messages sent to the bot, number of bot messages, media activity (uploaded pictures/videos), and also to get insights with recommendations for adding buttons or changing the ‘flow’ of the conversation.
Analytics platform for bots in Facebook Messenger, Slack, and KIK. Also, you can measure user’s retention, engagement, demography, and more on graphs, and it has a rich visual display. You can also get unique statistics for conversation interface and bots such as sentiment analysis in communication, conversation analytics, ‘Slack’ groups, and users activity (multi-user sessions). Also, one of the system’s biggest advantages is its ability to analyze photos and audio files that have been sent to the bot and not only text. You can also get practical insights and allow a human agent to take over the conversation in real-time in case of an alert of failure to the bot when it interacts with the user.
They define themselves as the “Google Analytics of the bots.” A relatively simple SaaS platform for analysis and engagements for bots that provides a detailed analysis and practical insights to improve the bots and preserving users. Supported platforms for the moment: Slack, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger.
Bonobo.ai is a platform for Marketing Automation and Behavioral Insights for bots. Their goal is to enable personalized engagement and help optimize user experience in bots. You can use Bonobo to get to know who your users are, segment and re-engage them with push notifications and campaigns. You can also see all your bot interactions in one place (including photos and buttons), filter conversation using a large variety of filters, and jump into any conversation that goes wrong by pausing the bot. An interesting feature in Bonobo is the conversation timeline, which gives you a comparative view of events and intents across multiple conversations. All platforms are supported (Facebook, Slack, Line, WeChat, Kik etc.). Bonobo requires a personal invitation in order to get access, but you can join the waiting list and get an invitation.
Monetization and Distribution Tools
The most common definition for ‘Botlist’ is the “Bot’s App-store.” It is a site that binds to a huge pool of bots across all the different platforms.
Since one of the biggest challenges of the bot’s industry today is the option to discover, share, and distribute the bots, the registration of your bot in a website such as ‘Botlist’ became a very basic action for the bot creators.
As said, the biggest advantage of ‘Botlist’ is the huge number of the registered bots in it. In addition to that, you can also search bots by different filters such as field of interest or platforms.
This is the first tool (and also the only one in this list) who tries to leverage cooperation between different bot creators and is actually a kind of an ‘ad exchange’ for bots.
Money is still not involved in here (in the meantime), but what you can do in ‘BotRevenue’ is to promote your bot in other bots in order to increase the traffic for your bot; and in return, you will promote other bots with your bot. That’s it, for example, for every 1000 clicks that you will send to another bot, you will receive 750 clicks for your bot (‘BotRevenue’ takes 25% of your commission and use it to display advertisements). The promotion of the bot is assembled from a message up to 140 characters and a link since you can track all the data through the dashboard on the website, which is right now pretty basic, but it should be upgraded soon and will include more advanced data.
The service is active at the moment only for Facebook Messenger, KIK, and Telegram.
A bots search engine. This tool is also designed to help bot creators and users to solve the “discovery” challenge. In ‘Chatbottle,’ you can see the ranking of different bots based on variable parameters that affects the placement of the bots and their final score such as: number of votes in ‘product hunt’, user’s statistics, completing the site profile (suggested commands, trailer, developer’s information, etc.), and ‘verified’ tagging by the website.
You can also filter the ranking by different variables such as Bot’s platform (at the moment, only Messenger/Skype/Telegram/Slack bots are displayed) or categories such as Fun, Filming, Productivity, etc.
Botfamily is an App-store for bots. It allows to search among thousands of registered bots for the following platforms: Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, and KIK.
A huge variety of search categories and files which make it easier to find bots by subjects. You can find a short description for each bot, user’s review, average score, supported platforms, and sharing buttons for social media and text apps (very important for bot creators).