What's Driving the Chatbot Craze?
While chatbots have existed for some time, it’s only recently that the world seems to have gone bot crazy. In fact, the dream of easily reusable components is an old one in programming, dating back to the emergence of object-oriented programming in the 1960s half a century ago. The truth is, it never really worked. Not in a way that transformed programming. Today, we find the required components have arrived in full force: they are called services. Services such as Twilio for communications, Stripe or Dwolla for payments, Sendgrid for emails and so on, which let programmers do amazing things with just a few lines of code and enable them to build and launch something meaningful in the duration of a hackathon. So, why this sudden interest in and adoption of chatbots and what has changed to make them work now, how are bots being used to help businesses and users alike, and what else might we see bots accomplish as their components and machine learning continue to evolve? That act of assembling the components into a new whole though, still happens largely through exactly the kind of programming we have always done. But here too change is on the way and people is creating new experiences assembling services and APIs. What are the minimum requirements for a modern API to fit into this landscape? What are the tools out there that are enabling this code-glue approach? We are not quite there, but the future in which most people will be empowered to build software is arriving and APIs are the key enablers for this.