Understanding the Project

The CLI

To start a new bot, you must run botonic new testBot nlu

  • new will tell the CLI to create a new bot.
  • testBot will be your bot's project name.
  • nlu will be the starter template for your project. This template comes with NLU capabilities by default.

Templates

You must select a template to create a Botonic bot. It can be either blank or with components.

Project Structure

  • routes.js: Here you'll define routes, which maps user inputs and payloads to actions. You can also use imported subroutes from other files.
  • actions: Actions are the units of logic that your bot can perform and where the responses of your bot are defined. You are free to organize them into subdirectories.
  • locales: Locales are objects from which your bot takes your multilanguage definitions. This is useful if you want your bot to address different audiences. The locales/index.js file is where all the languages are imported.
  • webviews: Webviews are small web pages that pop up in the middle of the conversation flow. This lets you offer experiences and features that might be difficult to offer with message bubbles, such as picking products to buy, seats to book, or dates to reserve.
  • webchat: Here reside all the styles and customized components for your webchat.
  • nlu: Here you can define the utterances for every language you want to understand with Botonic NLU.
  • assets: Assets is where you can store all the media required for your bot.
  • plugins.js: Define your botonic plugins.
  • ...: The rest of the files are needed for babel and Botonic project configuration. We recommend not modifying its contents, do so at your own risk!

Routes and Actions

Routes are how you turn user inputs into Actions. Edit your src/routes.js file to add or remove routes. View Routes for more details.

Actions are where you define the behavior of your bot. You can add an Action by creating a new .js file inside src/actions. View Actions and Components for more details.

Natural Language Understanding

You can go a long way capturing user inputs using regular expressions, but it obviously has its limitations. As you find yourself adding more and more functionality to your bot, you get to a point where you need Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capabilities.

NLU lets you capture user inputs by intent instead of parsing its raw text. An intent represents all the different ways users can express a unit of meaning that is valid for your bot. For example, you can group the sentences "What's the weather in California?" and "Do you know if it's sunny today in California?" to the intent GetWeather and the parameter city=California. You can then map that intent to an action using a route.

Botonic has its own NLU module which covers intent and entity recognition tasks.

Utterances and Intents

There are many ways that a user can express his intent. For example the Utterances "Hello", "Hi", and "Good morning" are all examples of a Greeting intent. To create an intent, simply add a new text file under src/nlu/utterances/en/ such as src/nlu/utterances/en/Greetings.txt and add the utterances in the Greetings.txt file.

Routes for intents

You can add routes that capture different intents and their corresponding actions. For example, in your routes.js file:

import Start from './actions/start'
import NotFound from './actions/not-found'
export const routes = [
{ input: i => i.confidence < 0.7, action: NotFound },
{ intent: 'Greetings', action: Start },
]
  • { input: i => i.confidence < 0.7, action: NotFound } i.confidence references the confidence value of the input. The confidence value is between 0 and 1 and indicates the likelihood that an input has a certain intent. This route is used if the input doesn't match an intent with enough confidence.
  • { intent: 'Greetings', action: Start } will trigger the action Start when the user inputs a greeting.

Note: Routes are checked in order. It is recommended to put the more specific ones first and the more generic at the end.

Then you just have to create a couple of actions that respond to these intents in src/actions.

Botonic train

Once you've added utterances to your intents, run botonic train in your command line. This will train your bot with the utterances in your directory.

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