Technology Fridays: Howdy Botkit Brings a Unique Flavor to Bot Platforms
This is the second post on my technology Friday session focused on presenting some analysis of hot and up and coming technologies. recently, I published an analysis about Microsoft’s Azure Bot Service and its unique capabilities in the bot ecosystem. Today, I would like to apply a similar analysis to one of Azure Bot Service’s strongest and most innovative competitors: Howdy Botkit.
The Botkit platform evolved from Howdy’s experience in bot development scenarios. From that experience, the Botkit team has been able to extrapolate a series of capabilities that are foundational in the implementation of bot scenarios. The result is one of the most complete and yet simple and extensible bot platforms in the market.
Botkit includes components that are essential to real world bot solutions including some of the following capabilities:
— Botkit Studio: An integrated development environment for the design and implementation of bots.
— Conversation APIs: Botkit conversation framework provides a flexible programming model for the implementation of user-bot conversations.
— Capture Middleware: Botkit Capture Middleware brokers the communication between users and bots. The middleware intercepts and transforms messages and can execute logic blocks powered by services such as IBM Watson or Microsoft LUIS.
— Botkit Studio Starter Kit: A toolkit that includes samples and guidance to get developers started on the implementation of bots.
— Storage System: A persistent model for saving session data in bot conversations.
In addition to the aforementioned capabilities, Botkit provides a sophisticated management and analytic experiences for bots developed on the platforms.
Bots implemented using Botkit can run on heterogeneous messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Twilio IP Messaging, Slack and several others. Similarly to Azure Bot Service, Botkit integrates with Microsoft Bot Framework which offers developers a confusing but certainly flexible portfolio of choices fo implementing multi-platform bots.
Battling the Challenges of a Multi-Platform Bot Development Platform Startup
Despite its sophisticated feature set, Botkit faces formidable competition from incumbents in the market. On one side, messaging runtime vendors such as Facebook, WeChat, Microsoft or Slack provide advanced bot platforms that are incredibly optimized for their messaging runtimes. On the other side, cloud platform providers such as Azure, Google Cloud or AWS have developed competitive bot platforms that come with the full backing of their cloud platforms.
5 Capabilities that should be in Botkit’s Roadmap
Looking at the current Botkit platform, I’ve put together a list of capabilities that should be on its short term roadmap. Here are my top five:
— Botkit Studio vNext: For Botkit to win in the market, Botkit Studio must become the number one bot development environment in the space.
— Analytics: I would like to see a robust bot analytic platform included in Botkit.
— Capture Middleware Connectors: Extending Botkit Middleware with connectors to SaaS business systems will offer developers and enterprises a framework for building highly advanced bot solutions.
— Bot ALM Tools: Botkit should provide new tools that streamline the lifecycle of bot solutions including starting such as testing, deployment, continuous integration, etc.
— Security: A more complete set of services to enable security capabilities such as access control, identity federation would certainly be a welcomed addition to Botkit.