Introduction to Bot Framework

Before we talk about bots, we must know what bots are not. Bots are not only Artificial Intelligence, or text interface or just natural language processing. Bots can be the automation simple task utilities such as password resitter, weather checker, calendar scheduler, event reminder, etc. They can have buttons, graphs, carousels and audio also and not just text interface.

Now, the questions arise that if bots are not all those above things, then what are bots? Bots are just applications with a user interface. They are faster than normally complex apps. Also, instead of having to download a app, we can use bots which are available across more platforms. Bots have less friction compared to build and deploy compared to an IOS or Android app. Also, it is more like a natural interaction with a bot than an app.

A bot is an app with a conversational interface. Bots let user interact with intelligent solution as though they are conversing with another person. The interaction can take make many forms, from texts/SMS to Office 365 mail to Skype and Slack, etc. For example, a chatbot. It is backed by a web app; so, anything that a web app can do, a bot can do. Chatbots are becoming an integral part of our digital experience. It can connect to data and dynamics, it can connect to salesforce.com through a rest API, etc.

For creating a bot, developer requires the following: –

  1. Basic I/O system
  2. Language or dialog skills
  3. A way to connect to user

The Microsoft Bot Framework provides the facility to build and connect intelligent bots that interact naturally with users. The Framework provides developers with:

  1. A development portal and SDK to build bots
  2. A bot connector service to connect social channels such as facebook, twitter, skype, slack, bing, etc
  3. A bot directory to discover and use existing bots.

Also, with cognitive services, we can add all the wonderful features of artificial intelligence. A bot framework gives us the connectivity between the conversational app i.e. the bot and gives the data to business logic and data. The Microsoft bot framework provides the facility to build and connect intelligent bots that interact naturally where ever users are talking,

Users can create and host a bot using Microsoft Azure bot builder SDK and train our bots using some API like LUIS or we can download the Bot Builder SDK and create our own bot using Visual studio.

NOTE: Upcoming blog on how to create bots using Microsoft bot framework.

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