In this tutorial, you will learn what is Azure Bot Service and how you accelerate your Bot development using Azure Bot Service.

What is Azure Bot Service?

Microsoft states that Azure Bot Service is the first public bot-service which is built on top of Microsoft Bot Framework and Server less computing Azure Service – Functions.

Bot Service provides us the following out of the box services.

9_choosebottype

You can build your bots using C# or Node.js

You can build bots for the following channels.

  • Slack,
  • Facebook Messenger,
  • Skype,
  • Teams,
  • Web chat,
  • Email,
  • GroupMe,
  • Kik,
  • Telegram
  • Twilio

Pretty excited? Yeah, I’m. Let’s create our First bot using the Azure Bot Service. As shown in the below screen capture, click on “+” button to open the New Blade and select Intelligence and Analytics service and then click on Bot Service.

1_searchbotservice

You will be taken to the Bot Service blade where you just enter the name of the Bot Service, Resource Group and the location along with the subscription where you would like to provision you Bot Service.

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Once you are ready, click on Create button to create your first Bot Service. As shown below, the Bot service has been created successfully.

3_botslisting

Note: Unlike other App Services, you cannot choose a App Service Plan for bots. It’s by default created based on the location (SoutheastAsiaPlan as highlighted above) you choose with the tier “Consumption” which means, it’s charged only based on the utilization of the Azure Compute power and also scaled automatically based on the demand without any configurations.

Click on the Bot Service to start configuring the bot. You will be taken to the following screen after clicking on the Bot Service.

4_createmicrosoftapp

Click on the Create Microsoft App ID and Password button which is highlighted above to create a new app for our bot. The Application Registration Portal will be opened in a new browser tab where you would need to be authenticated with your Microsoft Account.

Once authenticated, you will be taken to the following page to generate a new APP ID along with a Password. Click on Generate an app Password to continue to create a new Password as shown below.

Save the password in a secure place and click on both OK and Finish and go back to Bot Framework button one after the other.

You will be taken back to the Bot Service page as shown below.

7_enterpassword

Provide the password in the Paste password from the Microsoft App registration portal textbox. As soon as you provide the password, all the details below will get enabled for you to move forward.

The next step is to choose your favorite language. In this case, I selected C# as highlighted in the below screen capture.

8_choosealanguage

And then choose the type of Bot that you would like to create based on your requirements as shown below.

8_choosealanguageandbottype

Now, click on Create bot button. The next step is to connect the new Azure Bot Service with the LUIS API. You are required to log into your Cognitive Service account as shown below.

11_luis_signin

I selected “Sign in using Microsoft Account” as shown above.

Using the above step, you will be authorizing LUIS api to access your account details. Click YES in the above step.

12_autorizeluis

It’s has prompted me to create a new Cognitive Services LUIS Account. Accept the Online Services Agreement and click on OK button.

13_createluis

The current tab will have closed and you will be taken back to the original browser tab with the following screen

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That’s it. You have created a new Bot in just few minutes (less than 5 minutes). Below is the screen capture of the Integrated Environment of your Bot Service.

15_integratedenvironment

You can perform the following actions right from a single view without navigating to multiple tools.

  • Edit the code within the browser (Once you setup your Continuous integration with your Versioning Systems You shouldn’t edit the code here)
  • Test your chat console
  • Add your app to different channels (using Channels tab)
  • Publish the app
  • View the Logs of your Webbooks.

Please note that the new Azure Bot Service just helps us build Bots pretty quickly and avoid all the plumbing stuff and other integration services that a developer needs to do while creating a Bot. However, the process of creating the Intents and Training your LUIS app will remain same.

Happy Bot-ing!! Hope you enjoyed reading the article.