In celebration of International Women’s Day, Women Techmakers hosted its sixth annual summit series to acknowledge and celebrate women in the tech industry, and to create a space for attendees to build community, hear from industry leaders, and learn new skills. The series featured 19 summits and 305 meetups across 87 countries.
This year, Women Techmakers partnered with the Actions on Google team to host technical workshops at these events so attendees could learn the fundamental concepts to develop Actions for the Google Assistant.Together, we created hundreds of new Actions for the Assistant. Check out some of the highlights of this year’s summit in the video below:
Technical Workshop Details
If you couldn’t attend any of our meetups this past year, we’ll cover our technical workshops now so you can start building for the Assistant from home. The technical workshop kicked off by introducing Actions on Google — the platform that enables developers to build Actions for the Google Assistant. Participants got hands-on experience building their first Action with the following features:
- Users can start a conversation by explicitly calling the Action by name, which then responds with a greeting message.
- Once in conversation, users are prompted to provide their favorite color. The Action parses the user’s input to extract the information it needs (namely, the color parameter).
- If a color is provided, the Action processes the color parameter to auto-generate a “lucky number” to send back to the user and the conversation ends.
- If no color is provided, the Action sends the user additional prompts until the parameter is extracted.
- Users can explicitly leave the conversation at any time.
During Codelab level 1, participants learned how to parse the user’s input by using Dialogflow, a tool that uses Machine Learning and acted as their Natural Language Processor (NLP). Dialogflow processes what the user says and extracts important information from that input to identify how to fulfill the user’s request. Participants configured Dialogflow and connected it to their code’s back-end using Dialogflow’s inline editor. In the editor, participants added their code and tested their Action in the Action Simulator.
In Codelab level 2, participants continued building on their Action, adding features such as:
- Supports deep links to directly launch the user into certain points of dialog
- Uses utilities provided by the Actions on Google platform to fetch the user’s name and address them personally
- Responds with follow-up questions to further the conversation
- Presents users with a rich visual response complete with sound effects
Instead of using Dialogflow’s inline editor, participants set up a Cloud Functions for Firebase as their server.
Alex Eremia, a workshop attendee, reflected, “I think voice applications will have a huge impact on society both today and in the future. It will become a natural way we interact with the items around us.”
From keynotes, fireside chats, and interactive workshops, the Women Techmakers summit attendees enjoyed a mixture of technical and inspirational content. If you’re interested in learning more and getting involved, follow us WTM on twitter, check out our website and sign up to become a member.