A conversation with Alex Ren (Doge) and John Colarusso (Duck), who work at Viv Labs and are the creators of the Meme Generator capsule
We had an opportunity to catch up with “Doge and Duck”, the team that created the Meme Generator capsule that is now available for your entertainment on the Bixby Marketplace. They provided some unique perspectives on their experience of getting the Meme Generator capsule into the Bixby Marketplace, along with some advice to developers on developing their own capsule.
How would you describe the Meme Generator capsule for those who haven’t yet used it?
Doge: To really understand memes, you have to become the meme! Or actually, you have to create one, which is what this capsule does.
Duck: There are all kinds of memes, but our capsule lets you take popular and amusing pics shared on the Internet and caption them to make your own personalized joke. There are way too many to list, but some popular ones include “Success Kid”, “Grumpy Cat”, and “Hide the Pain Harold”.
What advantages did Bixby offer your capsule?
Duck: Bixby is unique in that it offers a full, well-defined user flow that allows the user to quickly express their intent, and Bixby then asks clarifying questions as needed.
Doge: For example, with the Meme Generator capsule, the user simply says “With Meme Generator, make a meme” and Bixby will display a beautiful layout that we were able to easily design using the Bixby Views system.
Speaking of Bixby Views, how did you find using Bixby Views versus HTML and CSS?
Doge: Bixby Views is hierarchical, the way HTML is, but offers features such as for-loops and variables. As a front-end developer who has used Angular before, I found that transitioning to the templating system within Bixby to be pretty straightforward.
Duck: We didn’t have to worry so much about styling as we would with CSS because Bixby Views offers a consistent styling for all capsules within Bixby. Bixby Views is really about helping developers create a consistent experience for users with predefined flows. It automatically scales to different devices, so the idea is “build once, works on all”.
What are the high-level steps for getting your capsule into the Bixby Marketplace?
Duck: You can save a lot of time by first going through the checklist that is already available in the documentation. We followed all the required steps and it was pretty smooth.
Doge: We wanted to make sure we covered the basics, such as writing an appropriate capsule description and finding the right store section. In our case, memes are clearly something that goes in the “Games and Fun” section.
We also had to make sure we had the right hints. There is a pretty large surface area for memes. We started simple with “make a meme”, and the second one was something more advanced with “make a cat meme”. Finally, we wanted a way to surface the memes that the user previously made, so we added “show me my memes”. The hint process is critical because that’s actually one of the first things that users see when they reach your capsule page.
Duck: Another thing that was important for us was picking the right icon, so we used a popular meme as our icon. These are things that will form an impression in the minds of users.
What was your experience testing the ASR (automatic speech recognition) with your capsule? Were there any hiccups?
Doge: With our capsule, Bixby has some trouble recognizing the word “meme”. It would sometimes recognize the word as “mean”. To address this, we reported ASR issues to the Bixby support team and the support team support team was very helpful in getting this fixed.
If someone is interested in getting started with their own capsule, what should they keep in mind before they create their capsule?
Doge: With our capsule, we had this idea. What if, during a conversation with someone, you could quickly create a meme and have Bixby read it out loud? That would be funny! The idea of saving and sharing memes all came after.
Duck: I would say that you should start with one core idea, and let the additional features come naturally. For example, the idea of having Bixby actually read the meme that was made came later for us.
Describe your experience using the Bixby Developer Studio and Developer Center to submit your capsule?
Doge: The Bixby Developer Studio is really a great tool, and I’ve enjoyed seeing all the code I wrote come to life in the Simulator. It gave a really good approximation of what the capsule would look like on-device. That was really well done. After submitting the capsule through the Bixby Developer Studio, it was easy for us to get Bixby to officially approve the capsule for the Bixby Marketplace. I thought it was pretty straightforward.
Duck: That said, we did have some back and forth with the review team to ensure the capsule followed Bixby guidelines, and they were very thorough about testing it each time. So, when it was released, we were more confident that users would be more satisfied with the overall capsule experience.
What pitfalls or caveats should developers be aware of based on your own experience?
Doge: Going back to what I said earlier. The idea of a capsule is meant to be focused. Keep it simple and focus on the core functionality. It can be easy to think of all kinds of new functionality, but it can also needlessly complicate things for users. For example, the Meme Generator could have become Meme Central and allowed users to not only create memes, but also search for other memes, or look up a meme in a “meme encyclopedia”, but that would change the focus of the capsule and be confusing for the user.
What things should developers be aware of when they add features or fix bugs in your capsule?
Duck: There was a time when we found a bug in the capsule and wanted to rush through a fix, but the review cycle is thorough, so you may not get a review for a day or two. So your first submission is very important. Definitely load the capsule in the Simulator and test all your hints. Try saying some things that you didn’t train. Have someone else who is unfamiliar with your capsule test it out.
If you’d like more inspiration for building your own capsule, try the Meme Generator capsule on Bixby today! You can get started with building a capsule by reading the documentation on the Bixby Developer Center. You can also look through the many sample capsules on the Bixby Developer GitHub, including a sample open-source version of the Meme Generator.