These year’s edition of Oracle PaaS Summer Camps is history, and was again a pleasant composition of laid-back networking and exploring innovative themes like chatbots, blockchain and augmented reality.

This time I attended the advanced chatbots training – we had 4 days of not only digging deeper into the new features of Autonomous Mobile Cloud Enterprise but also discussing topics like UX design for bots, doing a small hackathon and having a look into the advanced analytics which is scheduled for the upcoming version.

But what’s new in Intelligent Chatbots Cloud version 18.2.3 ?

A plenty of improvements and new developments have been implemented since the first version presented last year:

  • A new JavaScript API for custom component development including lots of samples:

the new API brings a Conversation Messaging Model which standardises the message layer between the bot and the custom components, also a command line tool for local testing and debugging is now provided as a NPM module, which should also support the compatibility over new upcoming versions of the API. These leverage greatly the local development of custom components.

  •  Question and Answers feature for the development of typical hotline / FAQ bots:

these have been now decoupled from the „domain“ dialog flow and as a result there is no longer any need to declare the whole conversation for it

  •  Common Response Component is supposed to succeed all previous ways of providing rich choice-menus to the user:

different card layouts are available for example to display some pictures of hotelroooms to book for, also a paging functionality is included

  •  New Channels (Android, iOS, Web, Generic HTTP Webhook):

the Web channel seems to be the easiest and fastest option to use now as it allows binding of the chatbot as a messenger widget on a website communicating with your own chat server (provided in the API samples)

  •  Instant apps over Chatbox integration:

useful for showing the user his complete order at the end of the conversation, or letting him change only a small detail by not forcing him to go through the whole conversation again. This brings literally the entire functionality of Chatbox including the GUI for creating the formulars that can be called from the chatbot

  • Multilanguage support over Microsoft or Google translation API
  • Still there is no graphical designer for the conversational states of a bot, but adding new states in the yaml editor has been slightly improved by providing templates, now one can choose a component and the state it should be added next to. The components have also been sorted into logical groups.

It’s virtually impossible to name all features, as each of them definetely deserves it’s own article. In summary the latest developments bring far more maturity into the product and some crucial traits that makes it more complete and brings it closer to the ever growing demands of customers (and developers!).

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