Michael Washington is an ASP.NET, C#, and Visual Basic programmer. He has extensive knowledge in process improvement, billing systems, and student information systems. He is a Microsoft MVP. He has a son, Zachary and resides in Los Angeles with his wife Valerie. He is the founder of the Ai Help Website, located at: http://AiHelpWebsite.com.

He has recently written a book, An Introduction to the Microsoft Bot Framework. In the following interview, he tells us about his book, the Microsoft Bot Framework, and why your organization or business may need a chatbot.

Q: Tell us about your book.

A: My book covers using Visual Studio 2015 to create chatbots using the Microsoft Bot Framework. The purpose of this book is to demonstrate, provide examples of, and to explain important concepts of the technology.

Q: What is the Microsoft Bot Framework?

A: The Microsoft Bot Framework allows you to easily create chatbots. You can create chatbots that interact with your users naturally wherever they are, including Facebook, text, Skype, Office 365 email, and other popular services.

The Microsoft Bot Framework contains the following components:

  • Bot Framework Developer Portal – A service that helps you connect your chatbot to communication channels. First you write a chatbot, and register it on the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal. The Bot Framework Developer Portal will then forward messages to users, and will send the user’s messages back to your chatbot.
  • Bot Builder SDK – A C# and Node.js open source SDK hosted on GitHub (https://github.com/Microsoft/BotBuilder-Samples). Bot developers at Microsoft created this library to encapsulate functionality required for conversational bots. It is a powerful framework for constructing bots that can handle freeform and guided interactions.  In addition, by leveraging the Microsoft Cognitive Services, you can enable your chatbot to see, hear, interpret and interact in more human ways.
  • Bot Directory – A directory of chatbots that you can connect to. Located at https://bots.botframework.com, it features chatbots that you can communicate with through channels exposed through the Bot Connector.

Q: Why would a company or organization want to create a chatbot?

A: You want to communicate with your customers or users wherever they are. Increasingly, this is in mobile situations away from the computer, such as in the car, on a walk, or watching television. A conversational interaction is best suited for these interactions. A chatbot allows you to do that. You can even integrate a chatbot directly into your custom applications, such as your website or mobile app using the DirectLine API that is also part of the Microsoft Bot Framework.

Q: Where can we find your book?

A: You can buy my book, An Introduction to the Microsoft Bot Framework, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on my website at: http://aihelpwebsite.com/Market/Introduction