An AI docs chatbot in your Slack with the power of open source
Innovating the docs experience
Like most in the cloud-native community, we’re passionate about great documentation. We’ve felt the joy when discovering a clear, thoughtful guide that helps us get up and running with a new project in our homelabs… and we’ve certainly felt the pain that bad technical writing can cause.
So you can understand why our docs team here at Spectro Cloud are always working to improve the experience we offer our users (that’s you). Of course, that includes expanding and refining our content itself — but also innovating how we make that content accessible.
Ready for an AI docs chatbot?
Given all the buzz about ChatGPT (not least the inspirational work that our open source team has been doing with LocalAI), of course we’ve been investigating how we can apply AI innovation and LLMs to the docs experience.
To that end, we’ve partnered with Mendable.ai, who offer state of the art AI Chat Search technology, which we used to create a chatbot for our product documentation. Once we implement the chatbot on our docs site (it’s in testing right now), you’ll be able to ask it a product question, and get an accurate answer pulled from our knowledgebase.
Having an intelligent chatbot for product documentation is a great feature, but we knew it wasn’t enough.
Some of the heaviest power users of our docs, and the ones helping train and refine the chatbot, are our internal architects and engineers. We noticed that many of the technical questions and discussions they have happen in Slack channels.
Instead of navigating out of Slack and visiting our docs site, wouldn’t it be great if our team members could find the information they need, right there in the chat?
And this is where SpectroMate comes in.
SpectroMate: bringing Mendable (and more) to Slack
SpectroMate is a new application that we’ve built to bring the Mendable chat experience into Slack. Essentially, it’s an API server with extended functionality designed for Slack integration. It comes with out-of-the-box support for Mendable.ai chatbots, but can easily be extended.
We’ve been using SpectroMate internally for several weeks, and it’s running great. Users on our internal company Slack can ask a docs question to the Mendable chatbot just by using the `/docs ask` command in any Slack channel.
Already SpectroMate has helped us improve and fine-tune the Mendable model based on internal usage feedback, all from the comfort of Slack. This gives us a higher degree of confidence in our language model before opening it up to the general public.
SpectroMate is open source!
We ♥️ OSS. So we’re excited to announce we’ve made SpectroMate open source.
If you want to kick the tires, you can use Terraform to deploy it to our Palette Dev Engine environment in under five minutes by following the Getting Started guide. Just be sure to fill in our form to request access to Palette first!
SpectroMate is available as a standalone binary, or you can use the Docker image to deploy the application to any computing environment. If you prefer to deploy SpectroMate to your own Kubernetes environment, you can do so by following the Kubernetes deployment instructions.
The out-of-the-box support for Mendable will be helpful if you want to follow in our footsteps and expose your documentation as an AI chatbot to internal users or community Slack workspaces.
You can customize SpectroMate by adding new API endpoints, new slash commands, or new functionality for your Slack workspace. Fork the GitHub project and start playing! Of course, we also welcome contributions. SpectroMate is written in Go and is designed to be simple to maintain and expand.
If you want to explore the inner workings of SpectroMate, refer to the technical internals document.
And as always, if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, join our community Slack channel.