People have been talking about bots a lot recently, largely due to Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference announcement that they were creating a platform for bots on Messenger. A bot is a computer program you chat with. Bots have been around for a long time, but what is enabling them this time around are advances in natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and mobile phone messenger programs.

The bots already launched on Messenger have not received very good reviews. However, like everything new and shiny, I decided to kick the tires.

I have no idea how I came across this bot creation tutorial popularized by Esther Crawford, a marketer, but I decided to follow it. Using this GitHub code,, and Heroku, you can have your own bot up and running in no time. Will it do much? No. But it’ll be a bot.

Check out the bot I built, DerekBot, at Click “How can we help?” in the lower right hand corner to get started. Then type something in. Type “help” for a short list of options, or check out my GitHub code for a full list of options.

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