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I’ve been a Telegram user since 2018, however, got introduced to telegram bots a little later. In 2021 I thought why not try to make bots using Nodejs as there were frameworks available. Bots are now quite popular and are a niche category. Telegram bot functions similarly to bots on any other platform like Facebook or WhatsApp.
I started reading/watching a few tutorials around Telegraf, the framework that is used for making bots on top of Nodejs. Read the documentation and started coding along the way to make the bot with some simple features.
Telegram as a platform
This blog post on telegram stats has a lot to say in terms of telegram users and their growth in recent years, Telegram has over 700 million monthly active users and that is massive. Remember the internet outrage in 2021? on that same day, Telegram got over 70+ million users. YES! in a single day.
Well, I didn’t know any of this before jumping into bot development, slowly got to know about their infrastructure and ecosystem. And I think the area is still untapped and has a lot of potential in terms of growth and other mediums. I’ll be writing about the best bots of all time that I use frequently or simply because the idea is good.
The development process is not so easy for a beginner, although the ecosystem of developers is quite good, however, there are always a few bugs here and there.
Also, I learned new stuff while making, like webhooks, bot design in general, etc. The framework makes it easy as a breeze to start as it is built on top of telegram bot API and you don’t have to communicate with it directly. Reading the documentation helps a lot, which developers only read when getting stuck. lol
First crap MVP
The product development lessons I’ve learned over these years, have taught me one thing in common i.e. To launch the very first version of your product as early as possible and then reiterate from there rather than being stuck in analysis paralysis.
This bot is used by more than 6000+ users taught me just that, I just shipped it thinking that nobody is going to use it, fortunately, I was wrong.
You don’t have to make the perfect & shiny stuff initially. Show people what you’re working on and they will give you valuable feedback that is going to decide the future of the project. Whether to take it forward or abandon it.
Where the magic happened
Well, now I was well-versed with the coding part and knew how to design basic user flow when someone starts the bot, said to myself why not get started with a few APIs. This was it, started making a bot to search for royalty-free stock photos, a pretty ground-breaking idea? lol
Made it, tested it on my local machine, then hosted it on a server. Dabbled with Heroku and finally, it was up and running. Forgot after that and just a month passed by and now I got an email that you’ve used 80% of your server’s resources as it was online all the time. And I got the servers to shut down.
Mistakes and learning
The biggest mistake I did was not integrating a database into it. (as I thought nobody was using it. So before the big day happened I lost all those previous users who had started/registered on my telegram bot.
Never in my wildest dreams, did I think It was going to be featured by a Russian channel with over 115K subscribers at that time.
On the good side, I managed to add a MongoDB database to it awake the whole night till 4:20 AM in the morning. Hosted it with tons of bugs, as approx 10 users/minute flocked in, and yes I missed capturing thousands of users as I started the local server and didn’t have much idea what details to save in the database. Amazed and confused at the same time. Glad I asked someone who started the bot and then got to know it was being featured on TGRobots. If I wouldn’t ask, I never would have known this.
Kept toiling and managed to host it, while half asleep. Hard work paid off in the end. Sometimes the most fruitful actions are the ones done without asking for anything in return.
As I’ve read, luck plays an important role in your success. However, you are the one who can create a conducive environment for luck to work in favor of you. If I never would have taken the action to ship it, none of this would make sense.
This was my first experience handling such a large user base (subjective) and yes I failed many times and made mistakes that will help me to launch the next product that I’m working on. Once you’ve built distribution launching the next thing is even easier. I’m working on more ideas that I currently have and some are in the pipeline.
I see building telegram bots as learning product development/engineering, and truly it is I guess. Keep building!