With the recent increase in the popularity of chatbots (due, in large part, to the recent 2011 Chatterbox Challenge), I’ve seen a lot of requests in various places, asking about how someone could create their own chatbot, with many of these questions coming from individuals who have no prior experience or knowledge.

They usually also have a graphical component built in, as well, in the form of an avatar (often female) that enhances interaction, thus improving your experience.

The basic web-based chatbot, in its simplest form, is nothing more than a blank white web page with a form embedded in it that is the sole interface between the user (you) and the bot.

Any “upgrades” or improvements to the interface are solely the option and responsibility of the botmaster.

Any sort of “fancy” features, such as Text To Speech, or an animated avatar, would have to be created and integrated into your bot’s page, and certain features, such as Voice Recognition, are either unavailable, or are severely limited.

That said, however, I think that building a web-based bot has more potential for being a rewarding challenge, if you have (or are willing to learn) the necessary skills.

Before I set out to create my first chatbot, Morti ( I took a look at several of the options available to me; and since I already had a fair amount of knowledge and experience with web design, web programming, and database management, and since I already had a place where I could host my own chatbot, I decided to take the most difficult route, and host my bot myself, which allowed me to control every aspect of my bot.

In addition to the skills I mentioned above, I also had to be VERY familiar with the following: All told, I’ve probably put in well over 1,000 hours into Morti over the last 10 months, though the initial creation process only took me about a day to complete.

The rest of that time has been taken up by experimenting with Morti’s script, updating and modifying his responses, and discovering other areas of improvement; and I still have a long way to go before I’ll have the bot I envisioned in the beginning.

Believe me when I tell you that choosing to build a chat bot the way I did is a LOT of work, but if you have the skills, patience, and dedication, it’s the most rewarding option of them all.