Getting Started

What is Bot Builder for Node.js and why should I use it?

Bot Builder for Node.js is a powerful framework for constructing bots that can handle both freeform interactions and more guided ones where the possibilities are explicitly shown to the user. It is easy to use and models frameworks like Express & Restify to provide developers with a familiar way to write Bots.

High Level Features:

  • Powerful dialog system with dialogs that are isolated and composable.
  • Built-in prompts for simple things like Yes/No, strings, numbers, enumerations.
  • Built-in dialogs that utilize powerful AI frameworks like LUIS.
  • Bots are stateless which helps them scale.
  • Bots can run on almost any bot platform like the Microsoft Bot Framework, Skype, and Slack.

Build a bot

Create a folder for your bot, cd into it, and run npm init.

npm init

Get the Bot Builder and Restify modules using npm.

npm install --save botbuilder
npm install --save restify

Make a file named app.js and say hello in a few lines of code.

var restify = require('restify');
var builder = require('botbuilder');

//=========================================================
// Bot Setup
//=========================================================

// Setup Restify Server
var server = restify.createServer();
server.listen(process.env.port || process.env.PORT || 3978, function () {
   console.log('%s listening to %s', server.name, server.url); 
});
  
// Create chat bot
var connector = new builder.ChatConnector({
    appId: process.env.MICROSOFT_APP_ID,
    appPassword: process.env.MICROSOFT_APP_PASSWORD
});
var bot = new builder.UniversalBot(connector);
server.post('/api/messages', connector.listen());

//=========================================================
// Bots Dialogs
//=========================================================

bot.dialog('/', function (session) {
    session.send("Hello World");
});

Test your bot

Use the Bot Framework Emulator to test your bot on localhost.

Install the emulator from here and then start your bot in a console window.

node app.js

Start the emulator and say “hello” to your bot.

Publish your bot

Deploy your bot to the cloud and then register it with the Microsoft Bot Framework. If you’re deploying your bot to Microsoft Azure you can use this great guide for Publishing a Node.js app to Azure using Continuous Integration.

NOTE: When you register your bot with the Bot Framework you’ll want to update the appId & appSecret for both your bot and the emulator with the values assigned to you by the portal.

Dive deeper

Learn how to build great bots.