Put open source to work
July 16–17, 2018: Training & Tutorials
July 18–19, 2018: Conference
Portland, OR

Developing chatbots for Mycroft and his virtual friends

Laurie Hannon (SoftSource Consulting)
11:00am11:40am Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Artificial intelligence
Location: Portland 251
Level: Intermediate

Who is this presentation for?

  • Software developers and technical professionals interested in chatbots and virtual assistants

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with C# and Python (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Understand how chatbots work
  • Learn how chatbots for different virtual assistants can be made easier using common frameworks
  • Explore Mycroft, an open source virtual assistant


Laurie Hannon introduces you to Mycroft, an open source virtual assistant similar to Siri, Alexa, and the Google Assistant. Laurie explains what it takes to code your own custom skill for Mycroft and details how Microsoft’s open source Bot Framework can be used for cross-platform chatbots.

You’ll hear the Mycroft virtual assistant’s origin story and see a demo of the Mark I, Mycroft’s reference hardware. You’ll also get a grounding in chatbot concepts and definitions, including skills, dialogues, intents, and utterances, and learn how to write a custom Mycroft skill in Python. Laurie then demonstrates how to combine a Mycroft frontend with a backend in a different open source chatbot technology and showcases a Mycroft skill that calls a web service that is implemented with Microsoft’s open source Bot Framework and language understanding. You’ll then see a demo of the same web service with Amazon Alexa as a frontend, in place of Mycroft.

Join in to explore the possibilities for making chatbot development easier across platforms such as Mycroft, Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant using common code.

Photo of Laurie Hannon

Laurie Hannon

SoftSource Consulting

Laurie Hannon is a Portland-based senior software engineer at SoftSource Consulting. For over 20 years, she has spent her days coding, mostly on the Microsoft stack. Laurie was the first female computer science major to graduate from Carleton College and the first student to earn honors in the major. Since then she has shipped more products than she can remember.