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Exploring DialogFlow (API.AI)? Here are 6 things you CANNOT do in a DialogFlow chatbot

Let us say you are trying to evaluate what you can and cannot do with Dialogflow. Knowing some of the gotchas beforehand can save you a lot of headache down the road.

Quick Note: They are not unsolveable problems. You can get around them by writing code.

You cannot get the correct output if your users make spelling errors

But look at the positive side! If the chatbots truly take over, all of you will need to learn to spell much better! 🙂

[su_note note_color=”#e0e0e0″]Update August 6 2018: Dialogflow has introduced spell correction in beta. Here is my review.[/su_note]

You cannot do simple math logic without writing code

While there are bot building frameworks where math logic is possible (of course, each framework has its own set of limitations), you still cannot do simple math such as addition and multiplication inside of Dialogflow.

You cannot use regular expressions when matching intents

This is a must have. Hopefully it happens sooner rather than later. For now though, you cannot use regular expressions for matching intents in Dialogflow.

[su_note note_color=”#e0e0e0″]Update Sep 2019: you can now use regular expression entities.[/su_note]

You cannot create clickable links in the web based chat box

You need to build your own custom website integration.

You cannot download the history/training data

As people converse with your chatbot, it would be extremely useful to have a way to download the logs. This is a must have feature, and one I hope Dialogflow provides soon.

You cannot search across all the intents you create

The more powerful your bot becomes, the more intents you will create. Unfortunately, at the moment you cannot search across these intents. Given that Dialogflow is now part of Google, I expect this to change soon.

[su_note note_color=”#e0e0e0″]

Note: I have built an app which can help you with searching across all your intents.


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"The magic key I needed as a non-programmer"

The custom payload generator was the magic key I needed (as a non-programmer) to build a good demo with rich responses in DialogFlow Messenger. I've only used it for 30 minutes and am thrilled. I've spent hours trying to figure out some of the intricacies of DialogFlow on my own. Over and over, I kept coming back to Aravind's tutorials available on-line. I trust the other functionalities I learn to use in the app will save me additional time and heartburn.

- Kathleen R
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In this free course, I provide some tips for managing large Dialogflow ES bots without compromising on accuracy.

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  1. Can you tell me if I can access my dialoglfow agent history data using API. In present I can only store data using web API but how could I gather data with interaction from facebook, twilio or any integration it has provided.

    1. You cannot do it directly from the API as of date. You need to log the conversation history into your database as it happens.

  2. excellent article, Can you pls confirm if Dialogflow returns the matching score for each question? This will be specifically useful when we do the testing

  3. From what I could realize it is also not possible to search the profile of a facebook account because the user id returned via dialogflow is not the original.
    Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    1. I remember reading on the discuss.api.ai forum that it is possible to do it but there is a second step: using the id which is returned you need to make a call to Facebook’s API, and the response coming back will have more user details.

      Are you saying that doesn’t work either?