Almost a year ago I published one of my first infographics which should visualize the various components of the Microsoft Bot Framework. Back then, the Bot Framework was available in version 3.0 and as you can imagine, since then there have been a lot of updates and changes. Some weeks ago, Microsoft announced that version 4.0 is now GA with many improvements and enhancements. Therefore, I decided to update my version of the infographic in order to visualize what changed and what’s important when talking about the Bot Framework, which I also renamed the “Microsoft Conversational AI Landscape”:
Every year somewhere at the end of September Microsoft’s biggest conference Ignite attracts thousands of people with a massive amount of news and big announcements. To keep up with all these awesome news is nearly impossible, as there is so much to explore in this very short period of time. Therefore, I try to sum up and link to all big announcements and news Microsoft made during the Ignite 2018 on the topic of conversational AI…
Nowadays, there is a ton of information out there for every service Microsoft has released, which is a good thing. But there are times when you search for something special, but you can’t find it as there are too many sites and resources which you need to crawl to find what you are looking for. The same is true for the Azure Bot Service and the MS Bot Framework, as there is plenty of documentation, but it is spread over a couple of different sites.
A couple of weeks ago at the Microsoft Build conference (see this post for details on the announcements concerning AI), there were some cool new tools for the Bot Builder announced. These tools are already in preview and can be downloaded here. The following table should give an overview of the new tools released: Tool Description Chatdown Prototype mock conversations in markdown and convert the markdown to transcripts you can load and view in the new V4 Bot Framework Emulator MSBot Create and manage connected services in your bot configuration file LUDown Build LUIS language understanding models using markdown filese LUIS Build LUIS language understanding models using markdown files QnAMaker Create and manage QnAMaker.
The idea of this solution has come to my mind a couple of months ago when doing a couple of conference sessions. During the sessions, I had some questions coming from the audience, which is a good thing for me, but somehow I noticed, that those a more or less general questions rather than deep technical ones. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful for me as well as for the audience to have a much simpler way of asking me questions during speaking engagements, but also whenever someone has a question which might be answered by me.
Microsoft has GAed the Azure Bot Service a couple of weeks ago, which was a huge step forward for all of us who are doing bots and AI apps in the Microsoft ecosystem. With this step, Microsoft is also pushing one more area into the Azure portal which is bots. Remember, during the preview, you had to create your bot in the Bot Framework portal and add your channels and everything related to your bot in that specific portal.