Tutorial on how to write slack bots and scripts
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Latest commit f1f2a49 Jul 11, 2015 @michikono Update README.md


Slackbot Tutorial Bot

This tutorial is geared toward writing a Slack hubot instance. It includes demos and examples that work in hubot + slack (but could work with another adapter).


Running tutorial Locally

You can test your hubot by running the following.

You can start hubot-tutorial locally by running:

% npm install
% bin/hubot

You'll see some start up output about where your scripts come from and a prompt:

[Sun, 04 Dec 2011 18:41:11 GMT] INFO Loading adapter shell
[Sun, 04 Dec 2011 18:41:11 GMT] INFO Loading scripts from /home/tomb/Development/hubot/scripts
[Sun, 04 Dec 2011 18:41:11 GMT] INFO Loading scripts from /home/tomb/Development/hubot/src/scripts

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

hubot> hubot help

hubot> animate me <query> - The same thing as `image me`, except adds a few
convert me <expression> to <units> - Convert expression to given units.
help - Displays all of the help commands that Hubot knows about.

You can test out custom commands by typing them in as if you were in a chat room with the bot:

hubot> hubot sleep it off
hubot> zzz...

Steps to recreate this bot

If you have root permissions on your current user account:

npm install -g hubot coffee-script yo generator-hubot
mkdir -p /path/to/hubot
cd /path/to/hubot
yo hubot
# choose "slack" as the adapter


npm config set prefix ~/.npm
export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.npm/bin"
npm install hubot coffee-script yo generator-hubot
mkdir -p /path/to/hubot
cd /path/to/hubot
yo hubot
# choose "slack" as the adapter

Install redis (the database that powers hubot):

If you have brew, use this:

brew install redis

Otherwise, use this resource: http://redis.io/topics/quickstart

Start redis:



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


There will inevitably be functionality that everyone will want. Instead of writing it yourself, you can check hubot-scripts for existing scripts.

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.

Once you write this, check out my todo on how to publish it to NPM.


Hubot is able to load scripts from third-party npm package. Check the package's documentation, but in general it is:

  1. Add the packages as dependencies into your package.json
  2. npm install to make sure those packages are installed
  3. 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.


If you are going to use the hubot-redis-brain package (strongly suggested), you will need to add the Redis to Go addon on Heroku which requires a verified account or you can create an account at Redis to Go and manually set the REDISTOGO_URL variable.

% heroku config:add REDISTOGO_URL="..."

If you don't require any persistence feel free to remove the hubot-redis-brain from external-scripts.json and you don't need to worry about redis at all.

Testing the bot locally:



This is a modified set of instructions based on the instructions on the Hubot wiki.

  • Follow the instructions above to create a hubot locally
  • Edit your Procfile; it should look something like this:

    web: bin/hubot --adapter slack
  • Install heroku toolbelt if you haven't already.

  • heroku create my-company-slackbot
  • heroku addons:add redistogo:nano
  • Activate the Hubot service on your "Team Services" page inside Slack.
  • Add the config variables. For example:

    % heroku config:add HUBOT_SLACK_TOKEN=xoxb-1234-5678-91011-00e4dd
    % heroku config:add HEROKU_URL=http://my-company-slackbot.herokuapp.com
  • Deploy and start the bot:

    % git push heroku master
    % heroku ps:scale web=1
  • Profit!


This adapter uses the following environment variables:

  • HUBOT_SLACK_TOKEN - this is the API token for the Slack user you would like to run Hubot under.

To add or remove your bot from specific channels or private groups, you can use the /kick and /invite slash commands that are built into Slack.

Restart the bot

You may want to get comfortable with heroku logs and heroku restart if you're having issues.