New Bot Framework features and updates

It’s an exciting day at Bot Framework headquarters as we release our brand new Channel Inspector, a new Bot Framework Emulator, and a big batch of updates for our Direct Line and Web Chat channels!

Channel Inspector

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.

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!

Happy Making!

The Bot Framework Team