The MS Bot Framework

I took a look at the MS Bot Framework recently. The Bot Framework is basically pre-built skeleton code that allows a human user to send typed messages to a Web service, and the service will respond.

It’s not magic. You have to supply all the logic for the conversation. However, the Bot Framework does supply all the scaffolding code which saves a huge amount of time, and the Framework has hooks to some pretty cool libraries of AI code, such as the MS Cognitive Services.

In my micro-demo, I created a bot that can answer questions about this week’s NFL football games. I used the logic from my Zoltar football prediction program.

zoltarbot

The demo was created using Visual Studio with the C# language (JavaScript via NodeJS is also supported if you’re a glutton for technical punishment). Once the bot service was running I used a nice little add-on program called the Bot Framework Emulator to send messages to my locally running ZoltarBot.

Bottom line: the MS Bot Framework isn’t anything radically new — it’s just a Web service — but it does nicely package code that greatly simplifies creating a bot. I give the Bot Framework a thumbs-up.

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