Feature Suggestion | Plugins

feature_request

#1

Disclaimer : This could be stupid but just wanted to pitch you guys a feature :slight_smile:

You guys have opened the platform for community in the form of feedback and forum interactions why not let them contribute back to the platform directly as well.

Q) What can a end user build for hellotars platform ?
An extension/plugin or what so ever you name it.

Imagine there is a plugin store within hellotars which anyone can access and enable for their bots. For example a patym payment plugin,
which once added to a bot enable the account holder to collect money from users. Or a Gifmaker plugin,which once added will help user generate gif according to the subject given,
or a google sheets plugin which will help user read a sheet and access the contents of the sheet they specify.

Q) What will be the components of a plugin ?
Configuration Details:
Account details of the owner, client keys for securing access etc
Input parameters:
User response values collected during bot interactions
Eg: user’s mobile number, amount to be transferred, etc.
Output parameters:
Directly accessible responses without the need of parsing the response

Q) Why a plugin ?
1. Code re-use
Re-use the functionality used within a bot in another bot with out the need of copying contents from one bot
2. Contribution to the community
A plugin that user created can be made available for others using hellotars community and can also be looked at a possibility of monetizing plugins based on usage by community.
Also by this you won’t have to break your head on educating users on how to use API calls for different purposes like google sheets integration, gif maker integration etc, you can create plugins for all that.
3. Keep it simple
Not everyone is comfortable is making an API call and parsing the response elements. Instead if there was a plugin which gives users the ease to add to their conversation journey
and let users’s receive a set of fixed response elements, it will make the development process much simpler.
Eg: A OTP validation plugin of Way2SMS which after configuration details will ask for input parameters as a mobile number and will give the user a response of successORerror flag and message.

I was just trying to say that if there was a way to bundle API calls along with some conversation gambits in to a plugin, it would have been great. :smile:


#2

We’ve actually discussed such features previously throughout the community, so I don’t think it is stupid at all. Ease of access to powerful features is no doubt a bridge that must be crossed at some point in any techs future. I believe the TARS team is on this path, because roll outs of features have always coincided with this fundamental idea. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of wanting more, more, more! when it comes to features.

But I’m content knowing this team has consistently preformed on updates, feature requests, and innovative add-ons. I think we will eventually see something that bridges the gap that you are speaking to. Right now, I’m just looking forward to the “smart email notification system” that has been mentioned.


#3

Hey @kiranvm,

I think this is an amazing idea. A way to plug and play different kinds of API integration in different part of the Bot Conversation.

I totally agree with the fundamental idea behind this feature request, which is to enable anyone to work with 3rd party APIs and use it in their Bots to provide value to their users.

We did notice that the Bot makers are not able to use the API Integration feature in the product, to it’s full potential, because it still requires certain level of technical understanding to configure any 3rd party APIs properly in the conversation. If we can build something in this direction which will ease this process for them, then i think we will see a lot more interesting Bot conversations, providing better services, and creating much better experience to the end user.

Making a Open Plugin System, where anyone can make interesting conversational blocks OR even the whole Bot template itself which can be used by others, is an interesting approach to solving this problem. The more I think about this, the more I realize that we need to have a much better understanding of the problem, before we jump to any solution.

Maybe the problem is not that big, OR maybe it’s so big that we choose to solve only part of it. and therefore come up with a totally different approach to solving it.

But in any case, I want to thankyou @kiranvm for opening this Topic to discuss more about this. I would love if you and others can share your thoughts in terms of the problem that you are facing when you want to do any such API Integration in your Bots.


#4

Thank you vinit for the positive response. The problem statement I was trying to highlight is as given below.

  1. No option to reuse a sub-conversation flow between bots/accounts
    I cannot reuse a part of conversation flow (say an api call with subsequent gambits, based on response) which I have created in any of my bot to other bots.
  2. Less visibility from the community.
    Suppose I want to integrate a particular service to my chatbot through api calls, this case I have to go through the entire documentation of the apis and fiddle with the api configuration and responses to get it working.
    What if someone in the community had already did it before and had bundled it as a plugin for others to use? In that case I can simply enable that plugin from the available plugin list and only worry about the input parameters and out parameters.
  3. Change management
    Suppose the makers of the most commonly used api service in hellotars community decided to deprecate older apis and switched to a new host. If there are 1000’s of bots that uses that API, change have to be done to all those 1000 bots by individual account holders. If it was a plugin which was used by these 1000 bots, then the change can be made centrally and it will be reflected for all.

I understand that these are not show stopper challenges for the team currently. But an open plugin system can take the capability of the platform to a whole new level with the community doing the development for you.

Implementing something like it calls for a lot of work in the platform, but I believe that it will be worth it :slight_smile:


#5

Thanks @kiranvm, for your thoughts and putting down the details of the problems.
This is very helpful and we will be coming back to these details of the problem when working on a solution for this.


#6

I am wondering if we can add our bots not just in link, or widget, but is there a way to have it in html? I think that would be a good feature. I have a interactive video creator which ties videos together in a stream with questions, etc, like a slow kind of chatbot. It has the ability to receive html code It would be great if I could have the video stop right in the middle and have the chatbot begin right there. Reason being is that chatbot could obtain alot of info in that short period while the video is paused. I can do this now but it opens up in another tab so the person would have to close tab to go back to video and continue. It would be nice to be able to do it right there in a popup over the video which this software provides but pause it with a chatbot stream. Wow, what a combo that would be. Is it possible? Or can it be done now already?


#7

Hey @lampoilcan,

I did not understood the exact requirements that you have mentioned, but it looks like something that can be done with some javascript on the webpage, to manage the interaction between your Video creator application and TARS bot widget.

I think, if you ask your developer/tech team to take a look, they should be able to come with something.