As computers become more ubiquitous and embedded in our everyday lives and daily objects, we will turn away from looking at screens and using keyboards, mice or touch, and turn to conversation instead – the most natural way for humans to interact.
We already use voice assistants such as Cortana on our phones to access basic functions and apps. But in order for these technologies to be really successful, conversation systems need to become easily extensible, not just through apps as they currently are, but through conversation web services.
This is where the new Microsoft Bot framework for developers comes in! It provides just what you need to build and connect intelligent bots that interact naturally wherever your users are talking, from text/sms to Skype, Slack, Office 365 mail and other popular services.
Developers writing bots all face the same problems: bots require basic I/O, they must have language and dialog skills and they must connect to users – preferably in any conversation experience and language the user chooses. The Bot Framework provides developers the tools to easily solve these problems as well as much more: automatic translation to more than 30 languages, user and conversation state management, debugging tools, an embeddable web chat control and a way for users to discover, try, and add bots to the conversation experiences they love. The Bot Framework has a number of components including the Bot Connector, Bot Builder SDK, and the Bot Directory.
The Bot Connector lets you connect your bot(s) seamlessly to text/sms, Office 365 mail, Skype, Slack, and other services. Simply register your bot, configure desired channels and publish in the Bot Directory.
The Bot Builder SDK is an open source SDK hosted on GitHub that provides everything you need to build great dialogs within your Node.js or C# based bot.
The Bot Directory is a public directory of all approved bots registered through the Bot Connector. Users will be able to discover, try, and add bots to their favorite conversation experiences from the Bot Directory.
Be sure to check the interesting break-out session demonstrating how to create a stock ticker bot at Build 2016.
To see a demo of the Bot framework in action, have a look at this portion of the Build 2016 Keynote
To learn more about Bot Framework, see the documentation.