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Meet Our Chatbot Developer And Her Opinion on Chatbots vs. Apps

Mona and Alfred working together on our chatbot.

We recently wrote about “How We Achieved To Go From iOS To All Other Platforms In Less Then A Week”. This was done with the help of a Telegram chatbot, which is available for all platforms in the Telegram Bot Store. The person responsible for developing this bot is Mona who is currently working on her bachelor’s thesis covering the topic chatbots. In this article we would like to ask her about the developing process and chatbots in general.

I do not think that chatbots will replace apps in the future entirely. I think they will coexist.

myAlfred: Hello Mona. Where did your interest for chatbots come from and why did you decide to develop this chatbot with us?

Mona: Hi Alfred. When I took a look at the possible topics for my bachelor’s thesis, yours concerning chatbots immediately got my curiosity. Therefore I informed myself a little bit on the internet and my interest grew even more. Then I knew that I would like to write about this topic and develop a chatbot, so I chose it.

myAlfred: Have you had any experience with chatbots?

Mona: Absolutely none. Of course I have heard about those AI chat partners, but I have never developed or even used one before.

myAlfred: What was the best part of developing this Telegram chatbot with us?

Mona: I really liked the whole development process and had a lot of fun working together with the myAlfred team. What I also appreciated a lot was the very detailed developer documentation by Telegram. There is a great introduction for bots in general, as well as an API documentation for multiple different programming languages (e.g. Java) and some bot code examples. That helped a lot during the development.

myAlfred: What were the biggest challenges you had to face when creating this chatbot?

Mona: Even though a lot is possible with the Telegram Bot API, the biggest challenge was working around the limitations of bots and adding all the required features even though some things cannot be implemented the same way you would implement them in a standalone app e.g. for Android or iOS.
A very cool thing is, that you can create a custom keyboard which can simplify the conversation with the chatbot for the user. Yet, there are a lot of restrictions with those keyboards and you can basically just add buttons as UI elements, therefore complex user interfaces are not possible.

myAlfred: What do you think about the potential of chatbots and the statement that chatbots are the new apps?

Mona: I think the potential of chatbots is huge. First of all, it is only just the beginning and this topic is still in its infancy. I am sure that chatbots will become much more sophisticated over the course of the next few years and we — the developers — will have a lot more possibilities to deliver great software via chatbots. Yet, I do not think that chatbots will replace apps in the future entirely. I think they will coexist and for some use cases it is better to create a chatbot, whereas for other use cases traditional apps will still be the better choice.

myAlfred: Thank you very much for this interview and for giving us your personal opinion on chatbots.

Mona: Thanks for the interesting talk!

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