Building a voice assistant for a React app

With Alan’s voice assistant SDK for Web, you can create a voice assistant or chatbot and embed it to your React app. The Alan Platform provides you with all the tools and leverages the industry’s best Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) and Speech Synthesis technologies to quickly build an in-app voice assistant from scratch.

In this tutorial, we will create a simple voice enabled React app. The app users will be able to click the voice assistant button and give custom voice commands, and Alan will reply to them.

What you will learn

  • How to add a voice interface to a React app

  • How to write simple voice commands for a React app

What you will need

To go through this tutorial, make sure Node.js is installed on your machine.

Step 1. Sign up for Alan Studio

First, we need to sign up for Alan Studio — the web portal where we will create a dialog scenario, or the voice script, for our voice assistant.

  1. Go to Alan Studio.

  2. Sign up with a Google or GitHub account or with your email address.

    Tip

    When you sign up to Alan Studio, Alan adds free interactions to your balance to let you get started. To get additional interactions to your balance, link your Alan account with your GitHub account and give stars to Alan repositories. For details, see Adding free interactions.

  3. In Alan Studio, click Create Voice Assistant. Select to create an empty project and give it any name you want.

Step 2: Create a React app

Now let’s create a simple React app.

  1. On your machine, navigate to the folder in which the app will reside and run the following command:

    Terminal
    npx create-react-app my-app
    
  2. Switch to the folder with the app:

    Terminal
    cd my-app
    
  3. Start the app:

    Terminal
    npm start
    
    ../../../_images/react-starter-app.png

Step 3: Install the Alan Web component

We need to add the Alan Web component to the app. In the app folder, install the Alan Web component with the following command:

Terminal
npm i @alan-ai/alan-sdk-web

Step 4: Add the Alan button to the app

Now we need to update our app to add the Alan button to it.

  1. In the src folder, open the App.js file.

  2. At the top of the file, add the import statement for the Alan Web component:

    React app
    import alanBtn from "@alan-ai/alan-sdk-web";
    
  3. We will use the Effect Hook to add the Alan button to our app. At the top of the file, add the following import statement:

    React app
    import React, { useEffect } from 'react';
    

    Note

    For an app that uses React Class Components, you can add the Alan button with componentDidMount(). For details, see React.

  4. In the function component, call useEffect:

    React app
    function App() {
        // Adding the Alan button
        useEffect(() => {
            alanBtn({
                key: 'YOUR_KEY_FROM_ALAN_STUDIO_HERE',
                onCommand: (commandData) => {
                    if (commandData.command === 'go:back') {
                        // Call the client code that will react to the received command
                    }
                }
            });
        }, []);
    }
    
  5. In the key field above, we need to replace YOUR_KEY_FROM_ALAN_STUDIO_HERE with the Alan SDK key for our Alan Studio project. In Alan Studio, at the top of the code editor, click Integrations, copy the value provided in the Alan SDK Key field and paste this value to key.

    React app
    function App() {
        useEffect(() => {
            alanBtn({
                key: '28b4365114e0f2f67d43485dbc3cb44a2e956eca572e1d8b807a3e2338fdd0dc/stage',
                onCommand: (commandData) => {
                    if (commandData.command === 'go:back') {
                        // Call the client code that will react to the received command
                    }
                }
            });
        }, []);
    }
    

Step 5. Add voice commands

Let’s add some voice commands so that we can interact with our React app through voice. In Alan Studio, open the project and, in the code editor, add the following intents:

Voice script
intent(`What is your name?`, p => {
    p.play(`It's Alan, and yours?`);
});

intent(`How are you doing?`, p => {
    p.play(`Good, thank you. What about you?`);
});

Now in the app click the Alan button and ask: What is your name? and How are you doing? Alan will give responses provided in the intents.

../../../_images/react-app-button.png