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README.md

Microsoft Bot Builder V4 Templates

The Microsoft Bot Builder V4 Templates are available for .NET, and will let you quickly set up a conversational AI bot using core AI capabilities. They are available as a VSIX package.

About

Microsoft Bot Builder V4 Templates will help you build new conversational AI bots using the Microsoft Bot Framework v4.

Templates

There are three different template options. The table below can help guide which template is right for you.

Template Description
Echo Bot A good template if you want a little more than "Hello World!", but not much more. This template handles the very basics of sending messages to a bot, and having the bot process the messages by repeating them back to the user. This template produces a bot that simply "echoes" back to the user anything the user says to the bot.
Core Bot Our most advanced template, the Core Bot template provides 6 core features every bot is likely to have. This template covers the core features of a Conversational-AI bot using LUIS. See the Core Bot Features table below for more details.
Core Bot with Tests Our Core Bot template plus a full unit test project. This template contains all the Core Bot features plus a complete set of unit tests showing how to unit test Core Bot using the Bot Framework Testing framework introduced in version 4.5 of Bot Framework.
Empty Bot A good template if you are familiar with Bot Framework v4, and simple want a basic skeleton project. Also a good option if you want to take sample code from the documentation and paste it into a minimal bot in order to learn.

How to Choose a Template

Template When This Template is a Good Choice
Echo Bot You are new to Bot Framework v4 and want a working bot with minimal features.
Core Bot You understand some of the core concepts of Bot Framework v4 and are beyond the concepts introduced in the Echo Bot template. You're familiar with or are ready to learn concepts such as language understanding using LUIS, managing multi-turn conversations with Dialogs, handling user initiated Dialog interruptions, and using Adaptive Cards to welcome your users.
Core Bot with Tests The Core Bot template plus a unit test project using the Bot Framework test framework introduced in version 4.5 of Bot Framework.
Empty Bot You are a seasoned Bot Framework v4 developer. You've built bots before, and want the minimum skeleton of a bot to help you get started.

Template Overview

Echo Bot Template

The Echo Bot template is slightly more than the a classic "Hello World!" example, but not by much. This template shows the basic structure of a bot, how a bot recieves messages from a user, and how a bot sends messages to a user. The bot will "echo" back to the user, what the user says to the bot. It is a good choice for first time, new to Bot Framework v4 developers.

Core Bot Template

The Core Bot template consists of set of core features most every bot is likely to have. Building off of the core message processing features found in the Echo Bot template, this template adds a number of more sophisticated features. The table below lists these features and provides links to additional documentation.

Core Bot Features Description
Send and receive messages The primary way your bot will communicate with users, and likewise receive communication, is through message activities. Some messages may simply consist of plain text, while others may contain richer content such as cards or attachments.
Proactive messaging using Adaptive Cards The primary goal when creating any bot is to engage your user in a meaningful conversation. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to ensure that from the moment a user first connects to your bot, they understand your bot’s main purpose and capabilities. We refer to this as "welcoming the user." The Core template uses an Adaptive Card to implement this behavior.
Language understanding using LUIS The ability to understand what your user means conversationally and contextually can be a difficult task, but can provide your bot a more natural conversation feel. Language Understanding, called LUIS, enables you to do just that so that your bot can recognize the intent of user messages, allow for more natural language from your user, and better direct the conversation flow.
Multi-turn conversation support using Dialogs The ability to manage conversations is an important part of the bot/user interation. Bot Framework introduces the concept of a Dialog to handle this conversational pattern. Dialog objects process inbound Activities and generate outbound responses. The business logic of the bot runs either directly or indirectly within Dialog classes.
Managing conversation state A key to good bot design is to track the context of a conversation, so that your bot remembers things like the answers to previous questions.
How to handle user-initiated interruptions While you may think that your users will follow your defined conversation flow step by step, chances are good that they will change their minds or ask a question in the middle of the process instead of answering the question. Handling interruptions means making sure your bot is prepared to handle situations like this.
How to unit test a bot Optionally, the Core Bot with Tests template can generate a corresponding test project that shows how to use the testing framework introduced in Bot Framework version 4.5. The testing project provides a complete set of units tests for Core Bot. It shows how to write unit tests to test the various features of Core Bot.

Empty Bot Template

The Empty Bot template is the minimal skeleton code for a bot. It provides a stub ActivityHandler implementation that displays a message to a newly connected user. It does not perform any additional actions. If you are experienced writing bots with Bot Framework v4 and want the minimum scaffolding, the Empty Bot template is for you.

Features by Template

Feature Empty Bot Echo Bot Core Bot Core Bot with Tests
Generate code in JavaScript or TypesScript X X X X
Support local development and testing using the Bot Framework Emulator v4 X X X X
Core bot message processing X X X
Deploy your bot to Microsoft Azure X X X
Welcome new users using Adaptive Card technology X X
Support AI-based greetings using LUIS X X
Use Dialogs to manage more in-depth conversations X X
Manage conversation state X X
Handle user interruptions X X
Unit test a bot using Bot Framework Testing framework X

Installation

Prerequisites

Install the template.

  • You can download Microsoft Bot Builder V4 Templates here. Click the .vsix file to install the extension into Visual Studio.

Usage

Creating a New Bot Project

In Visual Studio go to File > New > Project....

Select template of choice from Bot Builder v4 templates, then click OK.

Running Your Bot

Running Your Bot Locally

Visual Studio

  • Navigate to the folder containing the .csproj file and open it in Visual Studio.
  • Run the project (press F5 key)

.NET Core CLI

  • Install the .NET Core CLI tools.
  • Using the command line, navigate to your project's root folder.
  • Type dotnet run.

Testing the bot using Bot Framework Emulator

Bot Framework Emulator is a desktop application that allows bot developers to test and debug their bots on localhost or running remotely through a tunnel.

  • Install the Bot Framework Emulator version 4.3.0 or greater from here

Connect to the bot using Bot Framework Emulator

  • Launch Bot Framework Emulator
  • File -> Open Bot
  • Enter a Bot URL of http://localhost:3978/api/messages

Deploy the bot to Azure

To learn more about deploying a bot to Azure, see Deploy your bot to Azure for a complete list of deployment instructions.

The deployment process assumes you have an account on Microsoft Azure and are able to log into the Microsoft Azure Portal.

If you are new to Microsoft Azure, please refer to Getting started with Azure for guidance on how to get started on Azure.

Logging Issues and Providing Feedback

Issues and feedback about the templates can be submitted through the project's GitHub issues page.

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