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Telegram bot using cumbia to read, monitor and receive alerts from control systems
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cumbia-telegram bot

Sign in the cumbia-telegram bot to chat with a Tango or EPICS control system from everywhere.

With the cumbia-telegram bot you can read values from the aforementioned control systems, monitor them and receive alerts when something special happens. You text the bot, the bot texts you back. It's simple, fast, intuitive and it's everywhere. A telegram account and a client are all you need to start. Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app focused on security and speed. It is available for Android, iPhone/iPad, Windows, macOS, Linux... as well as a web application.

Safety first

On the server side, cumbia-telegram provides the administrator full control over the allocation of resources, the network load and the clients authorized to chat with the bot. Additionally, the access on the systems is read only.

Simplicity second

On the client side, the bot has been meticulously crafted to make interaction easy and fast: history, bookmarks and alias plugins pare texting down to the bone. Preferred and most frequent operations are accessible by simple taps on special command links!


Need to extend the bot functionalities? Write new plugins!

The bot relies on modules and plugins to provide each of its operations. The former are built in, the second are add ons, but they are treated the same way by the bot, that loads them in a given order (determined by either the module or plugin) at startup.


Part one. Build the bot application.


cumbia-libs are a requirement and they must be properly installed before attempting to build the cumbia-telegram bot. The fundamental libraries are cumbia and cumbia-qtcontrols. The cumbia-qtcontrols installation implies qwt libraries must be installed in your system too.

The cumbia-telegram bot installation relies on pkg-config. See comments below. If Tango support is desired, all the Tango dependencies must be found within the pkg-config path. If Tango support is desired, cumbia-tango must have been previously installed alongside qumbia-tango-controls. If their installation succeeded, pkg-config files will be ready in their place.

Refer to the cumbia-libs github page for library installation.

Clone the cumbia-telegram project

git clone

Check dependency and define installation destination

Change directory into cumbia-telegram and edit cumbia-telegram.pri. Pay attention to all directives within the customization section start and customization section end block.

#                                                         customization section start
INSTALL_ROOT = /usr/local/cumbia-telegram

# where to look for telegram plugins

# [..]


# cumbia plugin directory.
# Please check your cumbia installation and modify
# CU_QTC_PLUGINDIR accordingly
CU_QTC_PLUGINDIR = $${INSTALL_ROOT}/lib/qumbia-plugins
#                                                       customization section end

Make sure the PKG_CONFIG_PATH includes cumbia, cumbia-qtcontrols, cumbia-tango [cumbia-epics], cumbia-tango-controls, [cumbia-epics-controls], tango, zeromq; in general, all the dependencies needed by cumbia.

The INSTALL_ROOT and CUMBIA_TELEGRAM_PLUGIN_PATH define where the bot will be installed

Build and install the bot

From within the cumbia-telegram directory, execute


and then

make -j9

and make install

Please note that the software is organized into three source trees:

  • src/lib/
  • src/cumbia-telegram-app
  • cumbia-telegram-control

built in that order by the top level Qt project file.

The last is an command line interface to communicate with the bot and is used to authorize users and get statistics.

Part two. Build the plugins.

Clone the cumbia-telegram-plugins project

The cumbia-telegram-plugins provide extensions to cumbia-telegram.

Edit cumbia-telegram-plugins.pri

cd into cumbia-telegram-plugins dir and edit the .pri file. Check and fix the directives needed to locate the installation of the cumbia-telegram bot. The relevant ones are delimited by a customization section:

INSTALL_ROOT = /usr/local/cumbia-telegram
CUMBIA_TELEGRAM_ROOT = /usr/local/cumbia-telegram

Build and install plugins

qmake && make -j9 && make install


The CUMBIA_TELEGRAM_PLUGIN_DIR that had been defined in cumbia-telegram.pri determines the path from which plugins are loaded.

Double check it before starting the bot later on.

An alternative is exporting CUMBIA_PLUGIN_PATH so that it points to cumbia-telegram-plugins directory.

Part three. Bot creation.

Following the how do I create a bot? guide, you text to the BotFather. and follow a few simple steps. Once you've created a bot and received your authorization token, the cumbia-telegram bot will be given that token at startup. Following the BotFather instructions is very easy and at last you should end up with a new bot with a name, a username, a description, a short description, a profile picture.

To make client interaction quick and easy, we suggest imparting the /setcommands command to the BotFather and send him the list of the most frequent and useful commands that are understood by the cumbia-telegram bot. The recommended list is the following:

last - Repeat last successful command reads - Read history alerts - Alert history monitors - Monitor history bookmarks - Your bookmarks bookmark - Add a bookmark to last successful command alias - List your alias modules - List loaded modules and plugins and read their documentation help - Read essential documentation to start

You can copy and paste it as a reply to the /setcommands message.

Once the bot setup is complete, just start the application as described in the next paragraph.

Part four. Start the bot!

The bot saves its configuration on a file representing a sqlite database. The database stores user access and limit privileges as well as client history, bookmarks and alias. The file must be passed as command line argument to the bot and must be regularly backed up by the administrator.

The second necessary command line argument is the authorization token provided by the BotFather at bot registration time.

If compilation was successful, you should find a bin folder under cumbia-telegram. An example of command line to start the cumbia-telegram bot is the following:

./bin/cumbia-telegram --token=bot123456789:AABBCCDDeeFFggHHiiLLMMnnOOPPQQrrSSt --db=tg_botdb.dat

Parameters explained

  • --db=/path/to/sqliteDB.sql (a file where the sqlite db will be stored)

  • --token=telegram_bot_token (as given by botfather at bot creation)

Part five. Connect to the bot with your telegram client.

Go to your telegram client and join the bot with the name previously registered with the BotFather. If you type the /help command, you will notice that you are not authorized yet. By default, no client (user) is authorized. The administrator must explicitly give access to the bot (see part six).

Part six. Authorize new users

Security policies prevent any user to chat with the bot without authorization. Go into the cumbia-telegram-control folder and type

./bin/cumbia-telegram-control --dbfile ../elettra_botdb.dat -u

This command will list the users into the database.

To authorize a user, use the -a switch followed by the user id:

./bin/cumbia-telegram-control --dbfile ../elettra_botdb.dat -a 11223344

The user with that id will receive a congratulations message and will be able to chat with the bot with the default limits and options.

Revoke authorization to a user
./bin/cumbia-telegram-control --dbfile ../elettra_botdb.dat -r 11223344

A message will be sent to the unfortunate user.

Get statistics from the bot:
./bin/cumbia-telegram-control --dbfile ../elettra_botdb.dat -s
Help about cumbia-telegram-control
./bin/cumbia-telegram-control --help

Part seven. Play!

Once authorized, type /help to start using the bot!

Some read examples:

sys/tg_test/1/long_scalar > 10


alert sys/tg_test/1/long_scalar > 10


alias  sys/tg_test/1/double_scalar d1

Monitor + Alias

monitor d1 < 200
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