Building A Skype BOT
When you want to get the weather or check a stock quote do you load up a browser, surf to a website, enter the details and then continue with what you were doing?
]]>You don’t have to. BOTS are a great way to expose functionality to users via a chat message. You could provide a Skype account that listens for incoming chat messages and scans the text to see if it can recognize a command.
For example WEATHER 89119.
Once it recognizes a command it will then go off and get the response for the user. The benefit it the user never has to go through the process of hunting down the data in a browser.
One example of a Skype enabled BOT is from WeatherBug. WeatherBug allows you to get back weather data for US ZipCodes simply by adding the WeatherBug to your buddies list and sending it a simple string.
Echo123 is another example of a BOT that you are probably already familiar with. ECHO123 simply echo’s any text message you send, or if you make a call it records your voice and plays it back to you.
BOTS are very simple to build, in fact there is very little Skype code required in building a BOT. You simple need to register interest in the incoming chat message and figure out what the use is trying to do, and then action the request. Most of the work will be in processing the strings the user has typed in.
BOTS can provide all kinds of information, you could build a BOT that provides landing times for aircraft, movie times at cinemas, TV listings, stock quotes, or metric to imperial conversions. If you can figure out the incoming text message from a user then you can do anything.
You shouldn’t run the BOT from you main account or every time someone sends you a message your BOT code will action and scan the message looking for commands. You probably don’t want to provide your chat buddies with a full weather forecast every time they ask you what the weather is like. So if you do build a BOT make sure it has it’s own Skype account.
LearningZone Video & Sample
To help you get started, I have created a simple BOT application that functions as a very simple calculator, provides 20 minute delayed stock quotes and proves a 5 day weather forecasts for US ZipCodes. You’ll find a 40 minute recording on building the BOT and the source code over in the LearningZone.
If you have a BOT or know of any comment below.
Handset up for grabs
It looks like I was a little late in putting out the contest for the Perfectel handset, so unless there are any entries before the 12pm deadline today then I restart the contest for next week.