Microsoft’s Bot Framework enables you to build and connect intelligent bots for your business to interact with your users naturally wherever they are. You can serve the bot from your website or app to text/SMS, Skype, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Office 365 mail, Teams and other popular services.
The company yesterday introduced some new Bot Framework features and updates that will empower developers develop more effectively on the Bot Framework platform.
New features include brand new Channel Inspector, a new Bot Framework Emulator, and a big batch of updates for the Direct Line and Web Chat channels.
If you develop on the Bot Framework platform, you may already know how easy it is to connect your bot to new channels like Microsoft Teams and Cortana (coming soon). You probably also know the variety of experiences these channels offer their users – rich cards, multimedia, and interactivity options.
To make it simpler to see how those features look and work on each platform, we’re excited to introduce the Channel Inspector, an interactive web tool you can use to browse the features in each chat client. Even if you’re developing your bot for only one channel, the Channel Inspector makes it easy to understand the style your users will see and limitations in the platform.
Visit the Channel Inspector now at https://docs.botframework.com/en-us/channel-inspector/channels/Skype/
Direct Line performance improvements
Demand for our Direct Line API channel has exceeded our expectations, and we’re happy to announce a set of performance improvements for this channel!
We’re adding two new features:
- Faster, internal high-speed storage
- Ability to manually guide your Direct Line client to our datacenters in Europe and Asia, for lower latency
Learn how to enable these features in this blog post on Direct Line performance.
Bot Framework Web Chat control
The Bot Framework Web Chat control has been released to NPM! Our easily embeddedable iFrame control is available as an open-source project on GitHub you can clone and deploy, and now you can reference the control directly as a Node module.
Our NPM release includes a list of bugfixes and support for the new Direct Line WebSocket. The WebSocket receives push messages and is both faster and more efficient than the old method.
- View the release notes for the Web Chat control
- Visit the Web Chat repo on GitHub
- Download the WebChat and DirectLine-JS modules from NPM
Bot Framework Channel Emulator
Many of you are already familiar with the Bot Framework Channel Emulator, the best tool for debugging your bot from a Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux machine. We’ve been hard-at-work on the emulator and have another round of upgrades to make your debugging experience even easier!
- Download the Bot Framework Channel Emulator (download starts automatically)
- View the release notes for the Bot Framework Channel Emulator