The Story of an Interesting Helper

The Heritage Helper helps, whatever the need!

We had been waiting for the sessions to begin. We had huge plans. We would learn, together, along 7 different tracks, with a common plan. We didn’t want the freshers to get left out of this amazing opportunity for skilling themselves.

Problem is… we aren’t an official club at our college, not an official Developer Students Club either. This means we aren’t invited to the “official” parties. The welcome event where freshers are introduced to the clubs — we didn’t have access to it.

This is where Heritage Helper comes in. The first problem freshers face in a college, is navigating their way around the campus. I had just heard about AoGs and it was the perfect thing to fulfil the need.

Ok Google, Talk to Heritage Helper

Where is the Principal’s Office

I am no outsider to programming. But to JavaScript, and to Actions, I was! I still don’t understand why it is so hard to split the huge JavaScript file into separate files. I kind of wish dart was successful in replacing JS everywhere :/

That aside, I could learn enough JS, with the help of manisha kashyap who had some experience with Dialogflow, could put together a simple app with Hard-Coded responses. The “Where is” Intent worked! No one should ever be lost again.. but we were!

It seems it took another 10 days to pass the review! Something about leaving the mic open without prompt. Just decided to close all conversations as soon as it’s done.

While I don’t know how the answer to that, you can join the DSC to let me know.
We also sneaked in a little extra. If anyone asked the helper anything it couldn’t answer, there was the “Fallback Intent”, it allowed us to lead the students straight to the WhatsApp group, and then to our channels of communication. They were excited to see what we could do with AoGs.
This is where I discovered BasicCards and basically, the cool responses we can build from the Actions SDK. I had the feeling that with this, possibilities will be endless.

Ok Google, Contribute to Heritage Helper!

Who is VAIBHAV kumar

We heard about #IndiaBuildsActions campaign, thanks to one that was conducted by #GDGKolkata and #WTMKolkata. Learnt that we could conduct one as well so… Why not?

Got in touch with Lakshya Sivaramakrishnan and she was generous enough to share the master slides and organiser’s guide. It was a goldmine. The content in the master slides is kind of a reference to all the amazing things that can be done with AoG. It's a masterpiece. We had an amazing set of events, with it’s own ups and downs, but overall it was amazing.

We had first time coders, some experienced most not. Many experienced code completion for the same time. We showed them how we built the Heritage Helper, we showed them how they can contribute to it.

-> Fork -> Clone -> Simulate -> Code -> Simulate -> Commit ->..Code..
->Commit -> Fetch(Upstream) -> Merge -> Push -> Open Merge Request and reference with issue…

Practiced this workflow.. missed some points, failed, and then iterated again with a community as a whole.

For practice, we asked everyone to add themselves to the Person entity, and add a fulfilment for the same. Then send merge requests! As expected, our process wasn’t perfect and we iterated on this to perfect our workflow.

Eventually some of the attendees joined the HH team, and this took Heritage Helper to the next stage of its life!

Ok Google, really build Heritage Helper

The systemic approach

Now we were taking a systematic approach designing a persona for the helper, deciding on new features, architecting the firebase app, learning SSML, exploring actions SDK, we have come up with really interesting features planned:

  • Interest-based subscription and ownership management
  • Get all the notifications about all the interests you subscribe to
  • Verify ownership of interest and easily add events/notes(user generated content)
  • What’s new feature to access all interests based on priority
  • Provide universal context-aware welcome (eg: Hi! Don’t forget your umbrella if you’re going to college)
  • Provide identity-based context-aware welcome (eg: Hi! Don’t forget your lab coat, you have a chemistry lab today!)
  • Provide time-assignment-syllabus-routine management utility features
  • Features for both teachers and students for effectively communicating and managing notes/features
  • Heritage Trivia Game
  • Heritage Fun Facts

With an amazing team dedicated to making this app complete, with special focus on proper VUI design, it is quite exciting what this Helper is bound to turn into.

Ok Google, Select Heritage Helper!

But why should you?

  • It’s open source. This means that anyone can contribute to it. Not only that, Heritage Helper can be any college’s helper. Matter of fact, it can be any Institution’s helper! The problem we are solving will make education a better experience everywhere.
  • We are aiming way too high. User generated content? Firebase firestore integration? Identity based fulfillment? Context aware fulfillment? We will use it all. Conversations are inherently bound with time and we are excited to bind our action with other things that are bound with time. Being aware of the season, happenings, and even classes while conversing with the user is what we aim to be able to do
  • We kind of need your help. There are many challenges that we keep reaching a dead-end on. We would really appreciate some help in figuring it all out.

Ok Google, Talk to Heritage Helper

Ask it what it needs to be, make it what it needs to be.

Entrepreneur, software craftsman and technology enthusiast, I continue to solve problems and grow with my projects, partnerships and endeavors.

Entrepreneur, software craftsman and technology enthusiast, I continue to solve problems and grow with my projects, partnerships and endeavors.