Hubot on Azure for Slack
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hubot-bender is a chat bot built on the Hubot framework. It was generated by generator-hubot, configured to be deployed on Azure, and with integration into Slack.

For more information, see my blog post.


Running hubot-bender Locally

You can test your hubot by running the following, however some plugins will not behave as expected unless the environment variables they rely upon have been set.

The following environment variables are required:

export HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT=<azure-storage-name>
export HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_ACCESS_KEY=<azure-storage-key>
export HUBOT_SLACK_TOKEN=<slack-api-token>
export HUBOT_ADAPTER=slack

My recommendation is to create a shell script (e.g. with the above commands whereupon you can source

You can start hubot-bender locally by running:

npm start

or % bin/hubot

You'll see some start up output and a prompt:

[Sat Feb 28 2015 12:38:27 GMT+0000 (GMT)] INFO Connecting...

Then you can interact with hubot-bender by typing hubot-bender help.

bender> bender help
bender animate me <query> - The same thing as `image me`, except adds [snip]
bender help - Displays all of the help commands that bender knows about.


A few scripts (including some installed by default) require environment variables to be set as a simple form of configuration.

Each script should have a commented header which contains a "Configuration" section that explains which values it requires to be placed in which variable. When you have lots of scripts installed this process can be quite labour intensive. The following shell command can be used as a stop gap until an easier way to do this has been implemented.

grep -o 'hubot-[a-z0-9_-]\+' external-scripts.json | \
  xargs -n1 -I {} sh -c 'sed -n "/^# Configuration/,/^#$/ s/^/{} /p" \
      $(find node_modules/{}/ -name "*.coffee")' | \
    awk -F '#' '{ printf "%-25s %s\n", $1, $2 }'

How to set environment variables will be specific to your operating system. Rather than recreate the various methods and best practices in achieving this, it's suggested that you search for a dedicated guide focused on your OS.


An example script is included at scripts/, so check it out to get started, along with the Scripting Guide.

For many common tasks, there's a good chance someone has already one to do just the thing.


There will inevitably be functionality that everyone will want. Instead of writing it yourself, you can use existing plugins.

Hubot is able to load plugins from third-party npm packages. This is the recommended way to add functionality to your hubot. You can get a list of available hubot plugins on or by using npm search:

% npm search hubot-scripts panda
NAME             DESCRIPTION                        AUTHOR DATE       VERSION KEYWORDS
hubot-pandapanda a hubot script for panda responses =missu 2014-11-30 0.9.2   hubot hubot-scripts panda

To use a package, check the package's documentation, but in general it is:

  1. Use npm install --save to add the package to package.json and install it
  2. Add the package name to external-scripts.json as a double quoted string

You can review external-scripts.json to see what is included by default.

Advanced Usage

It is also possible to define external-scripts.json as an object to explicitly specify which scripts from a package should be included. The example below, for example, will only activate two of the six available scripts inside the hubot-fun plugin, but all four of those in hubot-auto-deploy.

  "hubot-fun": [
  "hubot-auto-deploy": "*"

Be aware that not all plugins support this usage and will typically fallback to including all scripts.


Before hubot plugin packages were adopted, most plugins were held in the hubot-scripts package. Some of these plugins have yet to be migrated to their own packages. They can still be used but the setup is a bit different.

To enable scripts from the hubot-scripts package, add the script name with extension as a double quoted string to the hubot-scripts.json file in this repo.


If you are going to use the hubot-azure-scripts package (strongly suggested), you will need to create an Azure Storage instance and configure the HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT, HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_ACCESS_KEY, and HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_CONTAINER environment variables.

If you don't need any persistence feel free to remove the hubot-azure-scripts from external-scripts.json, and you don't need to worry about Azure Storage at all.


Adapters are the interface to the service you want your hubot to run on, such as Campfire, IRC, or Slack. There are a number of third party adapters that the community have contributed. Check Hubot Adapters for the available ones.

This project is configured to use Hubot Slack adaptor.


Using the Azure Command-Line Interface (Azure CLI).

% npm install azure-cli -g

Create the storage account and take not of the storage account name and key.

% azure storage account create <my-hubot-bender-brain-storage> 
% azure storage account keys list <my-hubot-bender-brain-storage>

Create an Azure website.

% azure site create <my-hubot-bender> --git

The above command will create a git repository on the Azure website. Let's add it as a remote repository. .

% git remote add azure https://<user-name>@<my-hubot-bender><my-hubot-bender>.git

Configure the website with the necessary application settings.

% azure site appsetting add HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_ACCOUNT=<azure-storage-name>
% azure site appsetting add HUBOT_BRAIN_AZURE_STORAGE_ACCESS_KEY=<azure-storage-key>
% azure site appsetting add HUBOT_SLACK_TOKEN=<slack-api-token>
% azure site appsetting add HUBOT_ADAPTER=slack

Ship it!

% git push azure master