Streamline testing and integration using the Bot Framework Emulator
Today, we are announcing the General Availability of Bot Framework Emulator V4. The Bot Framework Emulator is an open-source, cross-platform application for Mac, Windows, and Linux that enables bot developers to test and debug their conversational application on their local machine or in the cloud. You can install the GA version from here.
The Bot Framework Emulator includes features such as an improved user experience, faster load times, the ability to inspect responses from bot’s integrated services such as LUIS and QnA, support for multiple bot configurations, and bot debugging based on transcript logs and transcript playback in presentation mode. The Bot Framework Emulator V4 simplifies integration and management of the different services that are part of a conversational experience. Developers can directly log into Azure and open and manage Cognitive Services including Language Understanding (LUIS) and QnA Maker that are part of their bot. See here to learn more.
Full control of user experience with general availability of Web Chat V4
The Bot Framework Web Chat control is one of the popular conversational canvases used by the developers of Azure Bot Service. The Web Chat control offers a quick way for developers to integrate their bots into existing websites. Today, we are announcing general availability of Web Chat V4. Based on customer feedback, the V4 release of the Web Chat control offers developers ability to fully customize the chat window, including ability to change colors, padding, sizes, and to brand the window with custom graphics and logos. The placement of speech input and the order of messages can be controlled, and developers can add persistent menu buttons or introduce custom avatars. The new architecture includes enhanced authentication, persistent conversation history and allows developers to perform actions such as a transition to a different page.
New SDK Version 4.1
Following the successful GA of the Bot Framework SDK V4.0 during Ignite 2018, the team focused on improving engineering practices with better builds, test automation and integration testing. We updated to the latest CosmosDB provider and fix several CosmosDB issues. There were additional updates across areas like Language, Prompt and Dialogs, and Connectors and Adapters. You can view detailed change log in the C# 4.1 and JS 4.1 release notes.
The V4 SDK comes with a robust set of templates, samples, and reference implementation to bootstrap the creation of conversational applications on Azure. These templates include best practices and patterns from working with numerous developers building conversational apps using Cognitive Services.
All Microsoft Bot Framework SDKs, Emulator, and command-line tools are available as Open Source projects on GitHub, have a vibrant community and support Mac, Windows and Linux. Our language understanding services are available on from our Language Understanding (LUIS), QnAMaker portals and Cognitive Services.
Bootstrap Customer Support Bot with Customer Support Template
We have seen significant need from our customers and partners to deliver a conversational assistant tailored to their brand, personalized to their customers and made available across a broad range of conversational canvases and devices. Continuing Microsoft open-sourced approach toward Bot Framework SDK, the open source Customer Support Template provides full control over the end user experience built on a set of foundational capabilities.
We strongly believe our customers should own and enrich their customer relationships and insights. Therefore, any custom assistant provides complete control of the user experience to our customers and partners. The name, voice and personality can be changed to suit the organization’s needs. Our Custom Assistant solution simplifies creation of your own assistant enabling you to get started in minutes.
The Azure Bot Service Team