A Slack bot framework for Elixir; down the rabbit hole!
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Alice Hex Version Deps Status Hex Downloads License: MIT

A Lita-inspired Slack bot written in Elixir.

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.

"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

Anyone running Alice 0.3 or higher is highly encouraged to move to 0.3.6 ASAP. Version 0.3.6 will save the state data in Redis as JSON, whereas the previous versions were simply converting the elixir into a string. This had some limitations, namely only supporting 50 key-value pairs before producing an unparsable string with a "..." in it. Version 0.3.6 will also migrate your existing state to use JSON, so there’s no going back after upgrading. This change should not affect handler so it is not a breaking change.

For an example bot, see the Active Alice bot. For an example handler, see Google Images Handler.

You'll need a Slack API token which can be retrieved from the Web API page or by creating a new bot integration.

Handler Plugins

Alice has a plug in system that allows you to customize the functionality of your bot instance. See the docs for more information about creating your own handlers.

Known Handlers

If you write your own handler, please submit a pull request and update this list!

Creating Your Own Bot With Alice

Create the Project

Create a new mix project.

mix new my_bot
cd my_bot
rm lib/my_bot.ex test/my_bot_test.exs

Configure the Application

In mix.exs, bring in alice and any other handlers you want. You also need to include the websocket_client dependency because it's not a [hex] package. [hex]: http://hex.pm

defp deps do
    {:websocket_client, github: "jeremyong/websocket_client"},
    {:alice,                  "~> 0.2.0"},
    {:alice_against_humanity, "~> 0.1.0"},
    {:alice_google_images,    "~> 0.1.0"}

In the same file, configure the app, registering any handlers you want. You can add handlers through dependencies, or you can write them directly in your bot instance. (See Writing Route Handlers for information on how to write a handler. We recommend putting them in lib/alice/handlers/.)

def application do
  [ applications: [:alice],
    mod: {
      Alice, %{
        handlers: [

In config/config.exs add any configuration that your bot needs.

use Mix.Config

config :alice,
  api_key: System.get_env("SLACK_API_TOKEN"),
  state_backend: :redis,
  redis: System.get_env("REDIS_URL")

config :alice_google_images,
  cse_id: System.get_env("GOOGLE_CSE_ID"),
  cse_token: System.get_env("GOOGLE_CSE_TOKEN"),
  safe_search_level: :medium

With that, you're done! Run your bot with iex -S mix or mix run --no-halt.

Deploying to Heroku

Create a new heroku app running Elixir.

heroku create --buildpack "https://github.com/HashNuke/heroku-buildpack-elixir.git"

Create a file called heroku_buildpack.config at the root of your project.



Create a Procfile at the root of your project. If you don't create the proc as a worker, Heroku will assume it's a web process and will terminate it for not binding to port 80.

worker: mix run --no-halt

You may also need to reconfigure Heroku to run the worker.

heroku ps:scale web=0 worker=1

Add your slack token and any other environment variables to Heroku

heroku config:set SLACK_API_TOKEN=xoxb-23486423876-HjgF354JHG7k567K4j56Gk3o

Push to Heroku

git add -A
git commit -m "initial commit"
git push heroku master

Your bot should be good to go. 🤘

Creating a Route Handler Plugin

First Steps

mix new alice_google_images
cd alice_google_images
rm lib/alice_google_images.ex test/alice_google_images_test.exs
mkdir -p lib/alice/handlers
mkdir -p test/alice/handlers
touch lib/alice/handlers/google_images.ex test/alice/handlers/google_images_test.exs

Configuring the App

In mix.exs, update application and deps to look like the following:

def application do
  [applications: []]

defp deps do
    {:websocket_client, github: "jeremyong/websocket_client"},
    {:alice, "~> 0.2.0"}

Writing Route Handlers

In lib/alice/handlers/google_images.ex:

defmodule Alice.Handlers.GoogleImages do
  use Alice.Router

  command ~r/(image|img)\s+me (?<term>.+)/i, :fetch
  route   ~r/(image|img)\s+me (?<term>.+)/i, :fetch

  @doc "`img me alice in wonderland` - gets a random image from Google Images"
  def fetch(conn) do
    |> extract_term
    |> get_images
    |> select_image
    |> reply(conn)


Registering Handlers

In the mix.exs file of your bot, add your handler to the list of handlers to register on start

def application do
  [ applications: [:alice],
    mod: {Alice, [Alice.Handlers.GoogleImages, ...] } ]