Our September champion is Jeffrey Opdam, for his passion for the VSTS–Bot

We are pleased to introduce Jeffrey Opdam in our series of posts to recognise the champs of the Ranger community.

He’s been nominated for his passion, commitment, and tenaciousness with the Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) Bot.

Here are a few questions we asked Jeffrey:

What do you have for breakfast, which fuels your passion and energy?

I drink a shake ☹. Trying to lose some weight, but I can report in the last 6 weeks a lost about 18 kg, which is almost 40 pounds. (I must fit into the ALM Rangers T-Shirt, hahahaha).

Why is the VSTS-Bot project so important to you and the community?

I genuinely believe that we are achieving as an industry with chat bots. AI will change how we engage our daily tasks and will make our lives easier. I also believe that the VSTS Bot will help to unburden the users of VSTS, with an easy accessible tool, their chat application, where they can do the basic tasks with VSTS.

What’s planned for the VSTS-Bot?

We are currently working on getting through the different processes of the channels (Slack, Skype and Teams) to get the bot published. This means they are reviewing our work. We already got feedback we need to update, but also means we must work with the bot framework team to get a few things resolved.

We use application insight and the bot analytics ready to collect data. So, we can drive our decisions based on the telemetry we gather.

As soon the bot is published to the different channels, we have taken the last great hurdle, and we can start moving forward. Which means understanding what makes a bot great and making it a real assistant for the developers, which not only reacts to input, but also starts proactively informing the user.

In the long run I am very curious how we can incorporate AI and a dot on the horizon is Cortana because everybody should have the ‘Jean Luc Picard’ experience (whenever he talks to the computer).

Wondering what Thiago Almeida, a bot enthusiast and SME on the VSTS-Bot team had to say about Jeffrey?

He led the team, drove the preview, asked me and others for support when needed, and is now single-handedly publishing the preview of the bot. He’s also presented the bot to the community:

You can also see all his contributions to the bot’s code here: https://github.com/ALM-Rangers/VSTS-Bot/

Finally, I really liked the approach he took the team for Unit Testing and Acceptance Testing of the bot, which isn’t easy to do.