I like building bots

January 23 2024
an image of various robots doing functinaolty to represent chat bots
an image of various robots doing functinaolty to represent chat bots

I've always been fascinated by bots — whether they are simple command bots (slash commands), full on chat bots, or even bots that help automate things (like checkouts). These days I really enjoy trying to build my own big or small and learning more about them and best practices. I know there are bots out there that do almost exactly what I need but where's the fun in that?

One of the very first tutorials I ever put out on YouTube was actually a very simple slash command for Slack that took your Battletag and would send your Overwatch stats to that channel:

This let me play around with the APIs a bit and I built my first bot: https://github.com/romeldris/slackbot-yoyo. My coworkers and I started to learn more yoyo tricks and this bot would post a trick for us to do on the hour and we'd all do it. We were still all in the office back then so this was really fun to do.

My friend and I worked on another project where we tried to build out a very simple chat bot that would help with some of our flows. Instead of having a wizard and buttons and forms it felt a lot better having this chat "bot" ask questions and they would answer. It was really just a different UX to achieve the same results but it felt a lot better in our use case.

I was really into sneakers and clothes back then and tried to build my own little suite of extensions that would do the autofill when you added items to a cart say on the supreme website. I'd send this extension over to friends so they could try their luck as well. It was super janky but sometimes we'd hit. There were definitely a lot better solutions out there but it still cost a bit.

I also released a set of tutorials trying to go over what it would actually take to build a full on add to cart bot for Nike but I unfortunately had to private them. They were really fun to make and my goal was to make them as educational as possible and show some of the underlying web architecture on how and why an add to cart bot would work.

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Now, I've been trying to expand on what I've learned from those previous projects and have been working on some smaller bots that help with small tasks. My first tutorial on my blog was building the SMS chat bot: https://www.romeldris.ca/blog/building-a-chatgpt-like-sms-bot

Another project I worked on was helping my friend build a little anime recommendation site for his Discord community. It's powered by a bot and you can suggest anime or manga through Discord and there's a site where you can see what's been recommended here: https://weebyrecs.netlify.app/

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I've been working on my own personnel Discord bot that helps me send notifications and soon will be creating forum threads for these posts. I definitely could use all the bots that do this already but I really do like learning about this stuff and building it myself even though it takes way more time.

To accompany all of that, I'll be working on creating tutorials whether they're videos or blog posts to show you some of the functionality so you can build your own.

Let me know if you have any specific type of bots you'd like to see!

- Romel