April 10, 2019

Introduction to the Bot Framework

The Bot Framework from Microsoft is an interesting beast, it is evolving very quickly and the team working on it is very active on the various GitHub repositories.

The Bot Framework from Microsoft is an interesting beast, it is evolving very quickly and the team working on it is very active on the various GitHub repositories, including the issues which I can confirm from the interactions I have had with the issues I have raised. Be warned though, they will tell you to move your posted issues to Stackflow if it is not an issue and more you asking for advice/guidance.

So what is the Bot Framework?

"The Azure Bot Service enables you to build intelligent, enterprise-grade  bots with complete ownership and control of your data. Begin with a  simple Q&A bot or build a sophisticated virtual assistant.

Use  comprehensive open source SDK and tools to easily connect your bot to  popular channels and devices. Give your bot the ability to speak,  listen, and understand your users with native integration to Azure  Cognitive Services."

Well, that is the blurb from the Bot Framework website. From my point of view, the Bot Framework is a set of SDK's (Bot Builder, Web-Chat, azure services) that enable you to build conversational platforms that allow users to interact with you without having to put a bum on a chair. Be it simple question and answer style chit chat, through to complex data capture and support such customer issues or new leads etc.

What do you need for this set of How-Tos?

So with the basic info out of the way, what do you need to work through the up coming posts?

While I do list Visual Studio Code as an option, I will be using Visual Studio so you will need to make sure your Visual Studio Code is setup to build C# solutions. Also, an Azure Subscription is only required if you want to publish your bot, or use various services like azure storage etc.

I highly recommend you download the Bot Framework Emulator so you  can run and debug your code locally without the need for an Azure subscription.

The last thing to note is while all this code will be in C#, the Bot Framework SDK is available for JavaScript, Java, and Python. While the code here may not be translatable into those languages, the objects, namespaces, and concepts are.