No. I’m not out of my mind (yet). Nor should you expect this to be a post criticizing DialogFlow. I do believe that Xatkit is a better option than DialogFlow to build your bot on. I know I can’t be objective here and that this post probably sounds self-congratulatory. But keep reading, and I’m sure I’ll convince you.

DialogFlow is not really a chatbot development platform

Sure, you can use DialogFlow (DF) to develop a bot. And even deploy it in some social / team communication tools like Slack. But this is not DFs bread and butter. DF excels at being a great NLP Engine that matches your visitors’ requests to one of your predefined chatbot intents. This is their business. The rest is more of a set of auxiliary tools you can use to build a complete bot if you need so. For instance, you’ll need to get your hands dirty with plain JS for any non-textual reply, or if you need to fetch some information from a database.

Xatkit is not only a chatbot development platform either (it’s much more!)

You can use Xatkit as a tool to simplify your chatbot development projects thanks to our chatbot DSL and state machine semantics that provide good abstractions to facilitate the creation of complex bots. Kind of a low-code approach for chatbots. But Xatkit is much more than this. Xatkit is a framework that enables you to freely combine the best NLP technologies for your needs. So, the first reason why Xatkis is better than DialogFlow is that Xatkit can be used as a wrapper of DialogFlow offering many more advanced features on top of it.

In this sense, there is no point in talking about Xatkit vs DialogFlow. They don’t compete with each other. They are not even in the same tool category. DialogFlow is a great NLP Engine that we happily use as part of the Xatkit arsenal.

Xatkit can use DialogFlow as NLP Engine

Xatkit and DialogFlow complement each other

More reasons why Xatkit is your ideal chatbot platform

As we’ve just seen, you can use Xatkit to define any complex chatbot and, if you wish, you can delegate to DialogFlow the intent recognition part. All in a way fully transparent to the bot designer (that just needs to change the chatbot deployment settings) and to the bot user that doesn’t even know what tools are working under Xatkit’s hood. You can just sit down and enjoy all benefits of combining DialogFlow and Xatkit. But let’s pinpoint five of these added benefits.

  • You may love DialogFlow today. But maybe tomorrow you’ll want to change. Maybe your bot is becoming too popular and DF pricing packages do not work for you anymore. Or DF doesn’t provide the best support for the language you need. With Xatkit you can switch from DF to, e.g. NLP.js, in no time. Same with any other NLP engine. Migrate from one NLP processor to another without wasting your time redefining the bot.
  • The Xatkit DSL comes with state-machine semantics that helps you precisely define much more complex conversation flows.  You can have automatic transitions, intent-triggered transitions, event-triggered ones, any type of conditional logic on them…. This is something that DF is just now starting to explore.
  • Xatkit is open source. If you choose to pair with other NLP open source tools you can have a chatbot completely running on an open-source pipeline!
  • Deploy your bot on-premises. Or use an NLP library that can be distributed together with the bot as you cannot rely on the availability of an Internet connection. Xatkit is platform-independent so all these combinations are possible.
  • You may need more than a “simple” intent matching engine. Maybe you need sentiment analysis. Or a toxic detector (to immediately block trolls and similar irrelevant users). Or need to perform some language translation before (and/or after) the matching phase. Xatkit comes with language processors to help you define richer NLP pipelines with all these additional capabilities. Some with the help of other specialized tools (our sentiment analysis relies on Stanford CoreNLP). Remember, we focus on orchestrating solutions instead of reinventing the wheel whenever possible!.

And we could go on and on but I think we made our point. Xatkit doesn’t look to compete with other options. Instead, we combine the best-of-breed of each of them into a platform-independent infrastructure that helps you easily create the perfect bot for you and the context where the bot will need to operate (and if you need help, we’ll be happy to help create your dream chatbot!). And you can always extend Xatkit to cover those features we’ve not yet implemented ourselves ;-).

Photo of the loving couple by JD Chow on Unsplash

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