There are many kinds of learners. Some prefer video, some prefer long articles, and some others just want to see something work and then analyze how it works (and probably there are a few other modes). If you are the last type, then you will find my Dialogflow quickstart templates very useful.
What are quickstart templates?
So what are these quickstart templates? They are example bots which do some very specific (hence micro) task.
There are usually less than a page full of intents (one page = 20 intents in Dialogflow), often far less. This means you can take a look at the list of intents and immediately get an idea of what the intents do.
Accomplish a focused task
As I mentioned before, quickstart templates accomplish a very small and focused task. So they are certainly not very "practical" in that sense.
Illustrate some conversation pattern that you can build in Dialogflow
The quickstart templates illustrate some idea for designing conversation patterns in Dialogflow
This should be quite obvious. You cannot take these bots and expect them to just start working with real users.
Follow the explicative approach
I have discussed the explicative approach here. The main reason you might want to use an explicative approach is to design your bot to make it easier to keep updating the bot in the future. For example, if you use slot filling, that will make it much harder to get fine grained control of the conversation in the future.
Can be imported into your Dialogflow console
All the quickstart templates have associated agent ZIP files which you can import into your Dialogflow console
Can be used as a foundation for building your bot
While the bots are not production ready, you can build on top of them. Also, since they are not very complex, it is generally quite simple to extend these quickstart templates.
Because of the way the explicative approach works, you also get bots whose design is quite modular. This means you can mix and match the quickstart templates to create more complex functionality.
I use Telegram bots to explain my quickstart templates.
There are three reasons I use Telegram:
- Natively supports buttons (quick replies) - for example, the existing 1-click web demo integration provided by Dialogflow doesn't allow you to display buttons
- Simple integration - the process for integrating your Dialogflow agent with Telegram is not very complex
- Doesn't require an approval process - the top two alternatives for deploying your bot, Google Assistant and Facebook Messenger, both have complex approval processes which will get in the way of creating simple examples which can be easily demonstrated
You can always make the bots work in pretty much the same way by copying the responses from the Telegram quick replies over to the channel of your choice, and the bots will continue to work as expected.
In the future posts in this series, I will explain what these quickstart templates do.