Software Architect / Microsoft MVP (AI) and Pluralsight Author

Architecture, Azure, Blogging, Bot Framework, C#, Chatbots, Cognitive Services, Instagram Graph API, Speech

Top 10 Blogs of 2020

A few weeks ago I recapped some highlights and shared some tools and an SDK I built and gave away.

In this blog post I share the top ten blogs by page views from 2020. Most if not all of the articles had a certain theme:

  • AI
  • Chatbots
  • Microsoft Bot Framework
  • Instagram Graph API


Without further ado let’s look at the Top 10 in reverse order.

10 – Using Bot Framework Composer & the Twitter API to create a chatbot that can search for Tweets.

This post brought together two of my favourite things – the Twitter API and chatbot development. The title says it all really!

9 – Adding speech capability to your chatbot using Bot Framework and Azure Speech Services.

In this post I show a chatbot that uses Azure Speech, Direct Line and tie it together with some JavaScript that enables speech in the chatbot.

8 – Introduction to Bot Framework Composer: Drag and Drop Chatbot Development.

I’ve been building software for 20+ years now and the promise of low code rarely delivers after you get to a certain level of customisation or requirements.  Bot Framework Composer bucked this trend for me though. After some initial plumbing I got to a point where I didn’t have to write much C# for my chatbot development. In this post I introduce Composer

7 – Implementing Long running Tasks in Azure.

I need a quick way to implement long running tasks in Azure. I also needed some basic dashboards. I found Hangfire to be ideal Read more here.

6 – Introducing Bot Framework Adaptive Dialog and How To build database driven chatbots.

Adaptive Dialog is one of the key pillars of chatbot development. They make it possible to create totally dynamic conversational logic.  In this blog I outline an architecture and ideas to help you create dynamic database driven chatbots with Bot Framework Adaptive Dialog.

5 – Integrating Bot Framework Composer and Adaptive Dialog to create dynamic, user-configurable chatbots.

Often you will have chatbots build on Waterfall dialogs and various other services. You can integrate Bot Framework Composer generated assets with existing more “static” dialogues such as Waterfalls.  I show you how to do this in this blog post.

4 – Simplify your architecture using the Orchestrator Pattern.

I wrote this in 2017 but it’s still proving popular. I share a pattern I’ve used in web applications that has served me well. Some of the topics include – technical debt, architecture, encapsulation and more.

3 – Instagram Graph API – Part 3: How to write a C# API that extracts data using the Insights API.

Part 3 of this 4-part miniseries shows you how to create an API in C# that can connect to and extract Instagram data such as images, comments, the number of likes, the number of comments and more.

2 – Instagram Graph API – Part 2: Fetching data with the Insights API.

Part 2 of this 4-part miniseries shows you how to fetch data using the Instagram Graph API and the Insights APIs.  Very valuable for social media analysis. This got 17K views.


…drum roll…. In at number one for 2020 was…….


1 – Instagram Graph API – Part 1: Introducing the Instagram Graph API and how do you connect to it?

The first part of the miniseries was viewed approximately 20K times last year. I published this in 2019 and was surprised about this.

I remember finding it tricky to carry out all required steps to connect to the Instagram Graph API so documented them in this blog post. This went onto give me the idea about creating the miniseries.

I decided to package up all 4 parts + some additional chapters + code into an easy-to-follow eBook.  As an experiment I uploaded to Gumroad with an accompanying end-to-end application. You can find out more about that here.

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