On Wednesday 22nd November 2017 I had the pleasure of running the third London Bot Framework meetup at the lovely Just Eat office in central London. The offices have been recently upgraded and the new meetup space has a huge 9 screen display a multiple mic speaker system, including a fantastic CatchBox throwable mic for ensuring everyone hears the audience questions
It has been a year since the previous one (whoops) but it was great to see some familiar faces return in the attendees. I had forgotten how much fun it is to emcee an event like this! Maybe next time I’ll be sure to just emcee and not also commit presenting a session too.
At //BUILD 2017 Microsoft announced support for Cortana Skills and connecting a Cortana Skill into a Bot Framework chatbot; given the number of chatbots out there using Microsoft Bot Framework, this is an extremely exciting move.
In this article I’ll show you how to create your first Cortana Skill from a Bot Framework chatbot and make it talk!
If you’re not already familiar with Cortana, this is Microsoft’s “personal assistant” and is available on Windows 10 (version 1607 and above) and a couple of Windows phones (Lumia 950/950 XL), a standalone speaker – like an Amazon Echo – and a plethora of devices that can run the Cortana app, including iOS and Android and plenty of laptops.
You’re going to be seeing a lot more of this little box of tricks (“Bot” of tricks? Box of bots?.. hmm…), so you might as well get in on the act right now!
If you’re getting a “403” HTTP error when attempting to receive an image sent to your Skype bot, and the previous use of
message.ServiceUrl to create a
ConnectorClient didn’t work, try this more verbose version which explicitly sets the authorization header:
if (image.ContentUrl != null)
using (var connectorClient
= new ConnectorClient(new Uri(message.ServiceUrl)))
var token =
await (connectorClient.Credentials as MicrosoftAppCredentials)
var uri = new Uri(image.ContentUrl);
using (var httpClient = new HttpClient())
&& uri.Scheme == Uri.UriSchemeHttps)
new AuthenticationHeaderValue("Bearer", token);
data = await httpClient.GetByteArrayAsync(uri);
Whatever your social media tool of choice is these days, it’s almost guaranteed to be filled with images and their associated hashtags #sorrynotsorry #lovelife #sunnyday
Sometimes coming up with those tags is more work than perfectly framing your latest #flatlay shot.
In the age of amazing image recognition tech, it must be possible to create something that can help us out and give us more time to move that light source around to cast the right shadow over your meal.
Turns out, it is possible! Yay! (of course..)
In this article I’ll show you how to automatically generate image hashtags via a chatbot using Microsoft’s Computer Vision API.
Now that we are making more conversational interfaces thanks to technology like botframework, interaction with the user is no longer limited to a tap on a link or a button.
Having written language as the primary form of interaction with our systems gives significant difficulties in terms of intent understanding, but also gives great opportunities for further understanding of the user.
Intent understanding has already been tackled by the likes of LUIS; what about the user’s sentiment?
In this article I’m going to introduce Microsoft’s Text Analysis API and show you how to easily get sentiment analysis for a message coming in to your bot.
As part of Microsoft’s recent Tech Days Online, I was very pleased to be able to record a couple of short videos about botframework, LUIS, the QnA Maker, and how I have been working with JustEat to use these technologies in their Customer Help chatbot solution.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the live TechDays sessions, so instead of an hour or two of my dulcet tones you only have the pleasure of ten minutes; feel free to replay those minutes as many times as you like!
First up, a ten minute session on the JustEat Customer Care chatbot implementation:
There has been some significant progress in “deep learning”, AI, and image recognition over the past couple of years; Google, Microsoft, and Amazon each have their own service offering. But what is the service like? How useful is it?
Everyone’s having a go at making a chatbot this year (and if you’re not, perhaps you should contact me for consultancy or training!) – and although there are some great examples out there, I’ve not seen much in the e-commerce sector worth talking about.
In this article I’m going to show you a cool use case for an image recognition e-commerce chatbot via a couple of clever APIs wired together by botframework.
Developing a chatbot with language understanding capabilities is a huge leap from basic pattern recognition on the input to match to specific commands.
If you have a botframework chatbot, you’re currently limited to using LUIS as your NLP (Natural Language Processing) provider via the various
If you’re trying to compare alternative NLP services, such as kitt.ai or wit.ai or even Alexa, then implementing support for another NLP service in Botframework for this can be a bit tricky.
In this article I’ll show you one approach to decoupling your botframework bot from a specific NLP solution.
Having a botframework chatbot up and running and responding to user messages is one thing, but how can you send a new message to bring the user back into the conversation if they haven’t just sent a new message for you to reply to?
The botframework documentation and other tutorials will point you towards using Azure Functions and the new
ActivityType.Trigger to handle this which, although being a great use case for Azure Functions, make the underlying implementation harder to understand. It also means you couldn’t easily implement this on AWS, for example.
In this article I’ll show you how to easily implement Proactive Botframework Messaging just using BotFramework fundamentals.
In the previous article we dissected an Alexa Skill down to the JSON request and Response, and pointed it to an HTTPS endpoint (your laptop) to get a basic end to end Skill working.
In this article I’ll show you how to link that skill into your botframework chatbot.
Creating a botframework reply
Let’s dip back into BotFramework in order to create something that can respond to the incoming request.
Calculating a Chinese Zodiac animal based on the year is really simple; just get the remainder from dividing by 12 and apply a