A bot is actually a very general term. It is used to define any kind of software that automates a task – for example, a conversation with a user. The Messenger Platform, introduced by Facebook in 2016, allows users and businesses to build a custom Facebook Chatbot if they choose to. The more official term is “Facebook Messenger bot”, but you can call them chatbots as it is more precise because they generally work in the chat window and imitate a question and answer type dialogue by replying to your messages.
How important is it to understand bots? Think about this: the global research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2020 (which is just around the corner!) an average person will spend more time talking to bots than their spouses. This prediction sounds a bit scary and a bit Sci-Fi-like - but doesn’t it show how important bots and artificial intelligence are these days? The importance of this goes even further when we are talking about Facebook chatbot as people tend to spend at least 50 minutes in this social network.
The basic logic of a Facebook Messenger bot is this: a user initiates the conversation by sending a message to a bot. That message goes straight to the Facebook server, which in turn sends webhook to the server hosting your bot. It can then respond to the original sender via Send API. This might sound complicated, but after you finish our Facebook chatbot tutorial, you will know how to do this with little effort.
Bots are free to create and use. There are few programming languages you can use, but in this course, we will show you how to create a PHP bot. This scripting language was chosen especially for its simplicity in coding and maintenance. That means that if you create a Facebook Chatbot with PHP, it will be easier for you to find hosting (even a free one) for it, and make sure that Facebook communicates with the application for it to work properly.
Before you start this course and coding your PHP bot, a fair warning: it would be best if you would know at least the basics of PHP. This interactive course will present some advanced methods that can be overwhelming for a complete beginner.
In this course, you will learn how to make a Facebook bot using PHP. However, if you wish to make your bot available to the public and not just have it for your own use, you will have to submit it to the Messenger team and get their approval. The process includes providing verification information and documents of either you as an individual or your business if your bot is meant for commercial use.
Going through quick and simple lessons, you will gain knowledge and skills that will help you become more flexible and professional in web development. So what are you waiting for? Start our interactive Facebook chatbot tutorial and learn to make your own PHP bot!
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