A simple sample application demonstrating the conversation api.
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Latest commit 6b051e8 Feb 17, 2017 @stevenpkg stevenpkg committed on GitHub Merge pull request #89 from stevenpkg/refactor-intents
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Conversation Sample Application Build Status codecov.io

This Node.js app demonstrates the Conversation service in a simple chat interface simulating a cognitive car dashboard.


You can view a demo of this app.

Before you begin

  • Create a Bluemix account
    • Sign up in Bluemix, or use an existing account. Your account must have available space for at least 1 app and 1 service.
  • Make sure that you have the following prerequisites installed:

    • The Node.js runtime, including the npm package manager
    • The Cloud Foundry command-line client

      Note: Ensure that you Cloud Foundry version is up to date

Installing locally

If you want to modify the app or use it as a basis for building your own app, install it locally. You can then deploy your modified version of the app to the Bluemix cloud.

Getting the files

Use GitHub to clone the repository locally, or download the .zip file of the repository and extract the files.

Setting up the Conversation service

  1. At the command line, go to the local project directory (conversation-simple).

  2. Connect to Bluemix with the Cloud Foundry command-line tool. For more information, see the Watson Developer Cloud documentation.

    cf login
  3. Create an instance of the Conversation service in Bluemix. For example:

    cf create-service conversation free my-conversation-service

Importing the Conversation workspace

  1. In your browser, navigate to your Bluemix console.

  2. From the All Items tab, click the newly created Conversation service in the Services list.

    Screen capture of Services list

  3. On the Service Details page, click Launch tool.

  4. Click the Import workspace icon in the Conversation service tool. Specify the location of the workspace JSON file in your local copy of the app project:


  5. Select Everything (Intents, Entities, and Dialog) and then click Import. The car dashboard workspace is created.

Configuring the app environment

  1. Copy the .env.example file to a new .env file.

  2. Create a service key in the format cf create-service-key <service_instance> <service_key>. For example:

    cf create-service-key my-conversation-service myKey
  3. Retrieve the credentials from the service key using the command cf service-key <service_instance> <service_key>. For example:

    cf service-key my-conversation-service myKey

    The output from this command is a JSON object, as in this example:

      "password": "87iT7aqpvU7l",
      "url": "https://gateway.watsonplatform.net/conversation/api",
      "username": "ca2905e6-7b5d-4408-9192-e4d54d83e604"
  4. Paste the password and username values (without quotation marks) from the JSON into the CONVERSATION_PASSWORD and CONVERSATION_USERNAME variables in the .env file. For example:

  5. In your Bluemix console, open the Conversation service instance where you imported the workspace.

  6. Click the menu icon in the upper-right corner of the workspace tile, and then select View details.

    Screen capture of workspace tile menu

  7. Click the Copy icon to copy the workspace ID to the clipboard.

  8. On the local system, paste the workspace ID into the WORKSPACE_ID variable in the .env file. Save and close the file.

Installing and starting the app

  1. Install the demo app package into the local Node.js runtime environment:

    npm install
  2. Start the app:

    npm start
  3. Point your browser to http://localhost:3000 to try out the app.

Testing the app

After your app is installed and running, experiment with it to see how it responds.

The chat interface is on the left, and the JSON that the JavaScript code receives from the Conversation service is on the right. Your questions and commands are interpreted using a small set of sample data trained with the following intents:


Type a request, such as music on or I want to turn on the windshield wipers. The system understands your intent and responds. You can see the details of how your input was understood by examining the JSON data in the Watson understands section on the right side.

For example, if you type Turn on some music, the JSON data shows that the system understood the turn_on intent with a high level of confidence, along with the appliance entity with a value of music.

For more information about intents, see the Conversation service documentation.

To see details of how these intents are defined, including sample input for each intent, launch the Conversation tool.

Modifying the app

After you have the app deployed and running, you can explore the source files and make changes. Try the following:

  • Modify the .js files to change the app logic.
  • Modify the .html file to change the appearance of the app page.
  • Use the Conversation tool to train the service for new intents, or to modify the dialog flow. For more information, see the Conversation service documentation.

Deploying to Bluemix

You can use Cloud Foundry to deploy your local version of the app to Bluemix.

  1. In the project root directory, open the manifest.yml file:

    • In the applications section of the manifest.yml file, change the name value to a unique name for your version of the demo app.
    • In the services section, specify the name of the Conversation service instance you created for the demo app. If you do not remember the service name, use the cf services command to list all services you have created.

    The following example shows a modified manifest.yml file:

     label: conversation
     plan: free
    - name: conversation-simple-app-test1
    command: npm start
    path: .
    memory: 256M
    instances: 1
    - my-conversation-service
  2. Push the app to Bluemix:

    cf push

    Access your app on Bluemix at the URL specified in the command output.


If you encounter a problem, you can check the logs for more information. To see the logs, run the cf logs command:

cf logs <application-name> --recent


This sample code is licensed under Apache 2.0. Full license text is available in LICENSE.



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