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A Twitterbot Pilot Service (2016-17)

Teacherbot Dev-Log #2: On the Rise

After the incredible success of the last blog, with a grand total of 0 negative comments (and approximately 0 positive ones too), I’m here to once again update you on the progress of Teacherbot. Since the last blog post zip files have been conquered, the back-end of the site has been overhauled and we have stirred up some new interest from within the University.

The zip file solution was an infuriatingly simple one. The random characters appearing in filenames were the product of a safety feature built-in to the file storage system. Whenever the system noticed files with the exact same name it would add random characters to one of the files, to avoid ambiguity. Fixing this required only a small tweak in the file storage: overwriting the file instead of saving a new one and thus avoiding the wacky filenames.

Random Characters Begone!

With the horrors of zipping and uploading left in the dust, I shifted my focus towards the more cobweb riddled aspects of the website. Gavin McCormack, the programmer behind most of the Teacherbot website, began simplifying and enhancing the communication with Pandorabots allowing for more straightforward chatting, uploading and compiling of the bots on our service. I also began to pursue the task of simplifying the chatbot management page in the hopes of collating the ‘Files on Chatbot’ and ‘Active Files’ boxes into one. The dream is to have one box, showing all files attached to the chatbot and a small “synced” button to indicate to the user if his/her bot is using the files listed.

This site ain’t big enough for the both of us…

Treading on thin ice, as I’m not sure how much I can disclose at this point, there have also been developments for Teacherbot’s exposure and usage within the university. Thanks to a push from my line manager, Stewart, the WGI Graphic Design team is currently working on a small rebranding campaign to increase exposure within the University and to stir up interest for both students and lecturers alike.

Additionally, I have been asked to build a prototype bot to trial on a University service. Though not intended to interact through Twitter, this is the inception of a more administrative use-case for Teacherbot and depending on its success, a potential rethinking of the standard in administrative work. As sickening as my naïve optimism may be, it’s difficult to imagine all the possible use-cases of bot technology and even harder to picture a future without it.

Once again, I’ll plug our Sign Up page for anyone who’s interested in getting to grips with Teacherbot and exploring its potential:

Sign Up

Also, due to powers beyond my control the GitHub repository I linked in the previous blog has been abandoned. The new repo on which progress is being made is here:

Sam Knight (


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