Table of Contents

The robot brain inside every Botkit applications is the controller, an interface that is used to define all the features and functionality of an app. Botkit's core library provides a platform-independent interface for sending and receiving messages so that bots on any platform can be created using the same set of tools.

By attaching event handlers to the controller object, developers can specify what type of messages and events their bot should look for and respond to, including keywords, patterns and status events. These event handlers can be thought of metaphorically as skills or features the robot brain has -- each event handler defines a new "When a human says THIS the bot does THAT."

Once created, the controller will handle incoming messages, spawn bot instances and trigger handlers.

For each platform, there is a specialized version of the controller object. These specialized controllers customize Botkit's core features to work with the platform, and add additional features above and beyond core that offer developers access platform-specific features.

Each platform has its own set of configuration options - refer to the platform connector docs for details:

Below is an example showing a Botkit Anywhere controller being created.

var Botkit = require('botkit');

var controller = Botkit.anywhere(configuration);

// give the bot something to listen for.
controller.hears('hello','message_received',function(bot,message) {
  bot.reply(message,'Hello yourself.');

});

Versions 0.4 through 0.6.19 of Botkit transmit anonymous usage statistics which were at one time used by the Botkit team at Howdy to measure and analyze the Botkit community. This statistic gathering is no longer active, and the endpoint for collecting this information has been disabled. We recommend developers upgrade to the latest version of Botkit, or disable this functionality by specifying the stats_optout option described below.

Note: Version 0.6.20 and above no longer transmit this information.

To opt out of the stats collection, pass in the stats_optout parameter when initializing Botkit, as seen in the example below:

var controller = Botkit.anywhere({
    stats_optout: true
});

Once connected to a messaging platform, bots receive a constant stream of events - everything from the normal messages you would expect to typing notifications and presence change events. The set of events your bot will receive will depend on what messaging platform it is connected to.

To respond to events, use controller.on() to define a handler function that receives the event details and takes actions. Most of event handlers will receive 2 arguments - a bot instance, and the event object itself.

Events received from messaging platforms events undergo a normalization process for use inside Botkit, so that any type of event can be used with bot.reply(), bot.startConversation() and similar methods to send replies.

Incoming events will have at least the following fields:

{
  type: <type of event>,
  user: <unique id of user who sent the message>,
  channel: <unique id for channel or 1:1 conversation>,
  text: <text of message or primary payload value if present>,
  raw_message: <the original event data>
}

Note that Botkit leaves all the native fields intact, so any fields that come in from the platform are still present in the object. However, our recommendation for accessing any platform-native fields is to use the message.raw_message sub-object which contains an unmodified version of the event data. Before accessing these fields, we recommend that you first check bot.type to ensure that the message originated on the appropriate platform.

Event Description
message_received In a 1:1 platform, indicates an incoming message from user has been received
direct_mention In a multi-user platform, indicates a message was directed at the bot in a group channel "@bot hello"
mention In a multi-user platform, indicates a message in a group channel mentioned the bot indirectly "hello @bot"
ambient In a multi-user platform, indicates a message in a group channel that does not mention the bot in any way
direct_message In a multi-user platform, indicates a message sent privately to the bot

Here is an example of a handler for a message event:

controller.on('message_received', function(bot, message) {
  bot.reply(message,'I heard a message');
});

Event Description
ingest_error An error happend while processing the message in an ingest middleware.
normalize_error An error happend while processing the message in a normalize middleware.
categorize_error An error happend while processing the message in a categorize middleware.
receive_error An error happend while processing the message in a receive middleware.

Here is an example of a handler for an error event:

controller.on('receive_error', function(err, bot, message) {
    bot.reply(message, `There was an error processing your request. Please try again later. Error: ${err.toString()}`);
});

You can also capture errors in any middleware by handling the pipeline_error event:

controller.on('receive_error', function(err, bot, message, pipeline_stage) {
    bot.reply(message, `There was an error processing your request. Please try again later. Error: ${err.toString()}`);
});

Event Description
conversationStarted A conversation has started. handler should be in the form of function(bot, convo)
conversationEnded A conversation has ended. handler should be in the form of function(bot, convo)
heard-trigger A trigger defined with controller.hears() was fired. handler should be in the form of function(bot, triggers, message)
tick The event loop has ticked. handler does not receive any parameters.

Here is an example of a handler for a message event:

controller.on('conversationStarted', function(bot, convo) {
  console.log('A conversation started with ', convo.context.user);
});

Event Description
spawned A bot instance spawned

Event Description
webserver_up This event occurs when controller.setupWebserver() has configured a webserver

For a list of the platform-specific events that Botkit emits, refer to the platform specific docs:

In addition to traditional event handlers, Botkit also provides the controller.hears() function, which configures event handlers that look for specific keywords or phrases in the message.

Each call to controller.hears() sets up a separate set of patterns to listen for. Developers may specify a single pattern to match, or an array of patterns. By default, Botkit treats these patterns as regular expressions to be evaluated against the message.text field in incoming messages. This behavior can be modified using controller.changeEars()

In addition to the array of patterns, hears() also receives as an argument one or more event types. Only events of the type listed will be evaluated.

It is important to note that Botkit will stop processing handlers when the first hears() trigger is matched. Triggers are evaluated in the order in which they are defined in the code. This is a major difference in the way most event handling systems work, which will fire all matching handlers, and differs from handlers configured with controller.on(), which behave as expected.

controller.hears(['hi','hello','howdy','hey','aloha','hola','bonjour','oi'],['message_received'],function(bot,message) {

  // do something to respond to message
  bot.reply(message,'Oh hai!');

});

In many cases, developers will want to expand the capability of Botkit's hearing system to look for different types of patterns, or to evaluate different fields in the message payload. There are several ways to achieve this:

Botkit bots can send messages in several different ways, depending on the type and number of messages that will be sent.

Simple replies requiring only one message in response to an incoming event can be sent using the bot.reply() function.

Multi-message replies, particularly those that present questions for the end user to respond to, can be sent using the bot.startConversation() function and the related conversation sub-functions.

Bots can originate messages - that is, send a message based on some internal logic or external stimulus - using bot.say() method.

Once a bot has received a message using a controller.on() or controller.hears() event handler, a response can be sent using bot.reply().

Messages sent using bot.reply() are sent immediately. If multiple messages are sent via bot.reply() in a single event handler, they will arrive in the client very quickly and may be difficult for the user to process. We recommend using bot.startConversation() if more than one message needs to be sent.

You may pass either a string, or a message object to the function.

Message objects may also contain any additional fields supported by the messaging platform in use. Refer to the platform-specific docs for more information.

For more complex interactions, multiple messages may be necessary to send a response, particularly if the bot needs to collect additional information from the user.

Botkit provides a Conversation object type that is used to string together several messages, including questions for the user, into a cohesive unit. Botkit conversations provide useful methods that enable developers to craft complex conversational user interfaces that may span a several minutes of dialog with a user, without having to manage the complexity of connecting multiple incoming and outgoing messages across multiple API calls into a single function.

Messages sent as part of a conversation are queued and sent in order with a short delay between each message, which roughly simulates the time it would take for the bot to "type" the message.

While conversations with only a few questions can be managed by writing callback functions, more complex conversations that require branching, repeating or looping sections of dialog, or data validation can be handled using feature of the conversations we call threads.

Threads are pre-built chains of dialog between the bot and end user that are built before the conversation begins. Once threads are built, Botkit can be instructed to navigate through the threads automatically, allowing many common programming scenarios such as yes/no/quit prompts to be handled without additional code.

You can build conversation threads in code, or you can use Botkit Studio's script management tool to build them in a friendly web environment. Conversations you build yourself and conversations managed in Botkit Studio work the same way -- they run inside your bot and use your code to manage the outcome.

If you've used the conversation system at all, you've used threads - you just didn't know it. When calling convo.say() and convo.ask(), you were actually adding messages to the default conversation thread that is activated when the conversation object is created.

You can direct a conversation to switch from one thread to another automatically by including the action field on a message object. Botkit will switch threads immediately after sending the message.

// first, define a thread called `next_step` that we'll route to...
convo.addMessage({
    text: 'This is the next step...',
},'next_step');


// send a message, and tell botkit to immediately go to the next_step thread
convo.addMessage({
    text: 'Anyways, moving on...',
    action: 'next_step'
});

Developers can create fairly complex conversational systems by combining these message actions with conditionals in ask() and addQuestion(). Actions can be used to specify default or next step actions, while conditionals can be used to route between threads.

From inside a callback function, use convo.gotoThread() to instantly switch to a different pre-defined part of the conversation. Botkit can be set to automatically navigate between threads based on user input, such as in the example below.

bot.createConversation(message, function(err, convo) {

    // create a path for when a user says YES
    convo.addMessage({
            text: 'You said yes! How wonderful.',
    },'yes_thread');

    // create a path for when a user says NO
    convo.addMessage({
        text: 'You said no, that is too bad.',
    },'no_thread');

    // create a path where neither option was matched
    // this message has an action field, which directs botkit to go back to the `default` thread after sending this message.
    convo.addMessage({
        text: 'Sorry I did not understand.',
        action: 'default',
    },'bad_response');

    // Create a yes/no question in the default thread...
    convo.addQuestion('Do you like cheese?', [
        {
            pattern: 'yes',
            callback: function(response, convo) {
                convo.gotoThread('yes_thread');
            },
        },
        {
            pattern: 'no',
            callback: function(response, convo) {
                convo.gotoThread('no_thread');
            },
        },
        {
            default: true,
            callback: function(response, convo) {
                convo.gotoThread('bad_response');
            },
        }
    ],{},'default');

    convo.activate();
});

In addition to routing from one thread to another using actions, you can also use one of a few reserved words to control the conversation flow.

Set the action field of a message to completed to end the conversation immediately and mark as success.

Set the action field of a message to stop end immediately, but mark as failed.

Set the action field of a message to timeout to end immediately and indicate that the conversation has timed out.

After the conversation ends, these values will be available in the convo.status field. This field can then be used to check the final outcome of a conversation. See handling the end of conversations.

Pre-defined conversation threads are great, but many times developers will need to inject dynamic content into a conversation. Botkit achieves this by processing the text of every message using the Mustache template language. Mustache offers token replacement, as well as access to basic iterators and conditionals.

Variables can be added to a conversation at any point after the conversation object has been created using the function convo.setVar(). See the example below.

convo.createConversation(message, function(err, convo) {

    // .. define threads which will use variables...
    // .. and then, set variable values:
    convo.setVar('foo','bar');
    convo.setVar('list',[{value:'option 1'},{value:'option 2'}]);
    convo.setVar('object',{'name': 'Chester', 'type': 'imaginary'});

    // now set the conversation in motion...
    convo.activate();
});

Given the variables defined in this code sample, foo, a simple string, list, an array, and object, a JSON-style object, the following Mustache tokens and patterns would be available:

The value of foo is {{vars.foo}}

The items in this list include {{#vars.list}}{{value}}{{/vars.list}}

The object's name is {{vars.object.name}}.

{{#foo}}If foo is set, I will say this{{/foo}}{{^foo}}If foo is not set, I will say this other thing.{{/foo}}

Botkit ensures that your template is a valid Mustache template, and passes the variables you specify directly to the Mustache template rendering system. Our philosophy is that it is OK to stuff whatever type of information your conversation needs into these variables and use them as you please!

Botkit provides several built in variables that are automatically available to all messages:

{{origin}} - a message object that represents the initial triggering message that caused the conversation.

{{responses}} - an object that contains all of the responses a user has given during the course of the conversation. This can be used to make references to previous responses. This requires that convo.ask() questions include a keyname, making responses available at {{responses.keyname}}

Pattern Name Description
bot.utterances.yes Matches phrases like yes, yeah, yup, ok and sure.
bot.utterances.no Matches phrases like no, nah, nope
bot.utterances.quit Matches phrases like, cancel, exit, stop

In order to direct the flow of the conversation, several helper functions are provided. These functions should only be called from within a convo.ask handler function!

convo.sayFirst(message) Works just like convo.say, but injects a message into the first spot in the queue so that it is sent immediately, before any other queued messages.

convo.stop() end the conversation immediately, and set convo.status to stopped

convo.repeat() repeat the last question sent and continue to wait for a response.

convo.silentRepeat() simply wait for another response without saying anything.

convo.next() proceed to the next message in the conversation. This must be called at the end of each handler.

convo.setTimeout(timeout) times out conversation if no response from user after specified time period (in milliseconds).

Botkit will send each messages in a conversation at the rate dictated by the global tick speed - by default, this is 1.5 seconds, but can be customized using controller.setTickDelay()

It is also possible to set a custom delay on a per-message basis. To do this, include a delay field in the message object. Note that the value specified will only have an affect if it is greater than the global tick interval.

convo.say({text: 'I waited 3 seconds to tell you this...', delay: 3000});

Conversations trigger events during the course of their life. Currently, only two events are fired, and only one is very useful: end.

Conversations end naturally when the last message has been sent and no messages remain in the queue. In this case, the value of convo.status will be completed. Other values for this field include active, stopped, and timeout.

convo.on('end',function(convo) {

  if (convo.status=='completed') {
    // do something useful with the users responses
    var res = convo.extractResponses();

    // reference a specific response by key
    var value  = convo.extractResponse('key');

    // ... do more stuff...

  } else {
    // something happened that caused the conversation to stop prematurely
  }

});

If a conversation reaches its timeout threshold (set using convo.setTimeout()) while waiting for a user to respond to a convo.ask() question, the conversation will automatically end. By default, the conversation will end immediately without sending any further messages. Developers may change this behavior in one of two ways:

Provide a handler function with convo.onTimeout(): Use convo.onTimeout(handler) to define a function that will be called when the conversation reaches the timeout threshold. This function can be used to prevent the conversation from ending, or to take some other action before ending such as using gotoThread() to change the direction of the conversation.

Note that functions used with onTimeout must call gotoThread(), next(), or stop() in order for the conversation to continue.

convo.onTimeout(function(convo) {

  convo.say('Oh no! The time limit has expired.');
  convo.next();

});

Provide an on_timeout conversation thread: Instead of providing a function, developers may choose to specify a pre-defined thread to be used in the case of a timeout event. This thread should be called on_timeout.

convo.addMessage('Oh no! The time limit has expired.','on_timeout');
convo.addMessage('TTYL.','on_timeout');

Argument Description
patterns An array or a comma separated string containing a list of regular expressions to match
types An array or a comma separated string of the message events in which to look for the patterns
middleware function optional function to redefine how patterns are matched. see Botkit Middleware
callback callback function that receives a message object

Example:

controller.hears(['keyword','^pattern$'],['message_received'],function(bot,message) {

  // do something to respond to message
  bot.reply(message,'You used a keyword!');

});

When using the built in regular expression matching, the results of the expression will be stored in the message.match field and will match the expected output of normal Javascript string.match(/pattern/i).

For example:

controller.hears('open the (.*) doors',['message_received'],function(bot,message) {
  var doorType = message.match[1]; //match[1] is the (.*) group. match[0] is the entire group (open the (.*) doors).
  if (doorType === 'pod bay') {
    return bot.reply(message, 'I\'m sorry, Dave. I\'m afraid I can\'t do that.');
  }
  return bot.reply(message, 'Okay');
});

Argument Description
event_name a string or array containing an event or comma-separated list of events
callback callback function in the form of form of function(bot, event) {…}

Handle events emitted by Botkit. The vast majority of events will call a callback function with 2 parameters - a bot instance, and the event object.

Read about receiving and handling events

// handle a message event
controller.on('message_received', function(bot, message) {
  bot.reply(message,'Received');
});

// handle a channel join event
controller.on('channel_join', function(bot, event) {
  bot.reply(event,'Welcome to the channel!');
});

Note that you may also trigger your own events using controller.trigger() and handle them. This can be useful for separating the trigger logic from the actual event handlers, as in the example below.

// listen for a help request.. and then trigger a help_request event.
controller.hears('help', 'message_received', function(bot, message) {
  // this event can be triggered whenever a user needs help
  bot.trigger('help_request', [bot, message]);
});

controller.on('help_request', function(bot, message) {

  bot.reply(message,'I am here to help!');

});

Argument Description
event_name the name of a custom event
parameters an array of parameters to be passed on to any handler functions

Triggers a custom event, which can then be handled by controller.on().

The second argument to controller.trigger() is an array which should contain an array of parameters that will be passed on to any handler functions. While not required, it is highly recommended that custom events conform to the pattern used by native Botkit events and include a bot instance as the first parameter, and if applicable, a normalized Botkit event object as the second paramter:

controller.trigger('my_custom_event', [bot, event]);

Argument Description
test_function a function in the form function(tests_array, message_object)

This function can be used to modify the way Botkit's hearing system works by replacing the pattern matching function with a custom function.

The test function must perform synchronous tests, and should return true if the message represents a match, and otherwise return false.

Code based on Botkit's built-in regular expression test is below:

var hears_regexp = function(tests, message) {
    for (var t = 0; t < tests.length; t++) {
        if (message.text) {

            // the pattern might be a string to match (including regular expression syntax)
            // or it might be a prebuilt regular expression
            var test = null;
            if (typeof(tests[t]) == 'string') {
                try {
                    test = new RegExp(tests[t], 'i');
                } catch (err) {
                    botkit.log('Error in regular expression: ' + tests[t] + ': ' + err);
                    return false;
                }
                if (!test) {
                    return false;
                }
            } else {
                test = tests[t];
            }

            if (match = message.text.match(test)) {
                message.match = match;
                return true;
            }
        }
    }
    return false;
};

controller.changeEars(hears_regexp);

Argument Description
events single event or an array of events to exclude from conversations

Messaging platforms send a dizzying array of event types - and new ones are added all the time!

Sometimes, it is desirable to exclude certain event types from inclusion in Botkit conversations. To do this, call excludeFromConversations() after creating your controller object.

For example:

// always exclude facebook postback events from conversations
controller.excludeFromConversations('facebook_postback')

Argument Description
configuration an object with instance-specific configuration options
callback a function that will receive the new bot instance as a parameter

Spawn a new instance of the bot in order to send messages or handle replies.

Whenever the bot is doing something in response to an incoming message, Botkit will handle spawning bot instances for you. However, in the event that your bot needs to send an alert or subscription message that is not directly in reply to an incoming message, spawning a bot is required.

The configuration options required to spawn a bot instance differ from platform to platform. In many cases, no additional configuration is required. Refer to the platform specific documnentation for more detail.

function sendAlertToBot(alert_message) {

  controller.spawn({}, function(bot) {

    bot.say(alert_message);

  });

}

Argument Description
bot_constructor function of the form function(botkit_controller, configuration) which returns a bot instance

This function is used to create new platform connectors for Botkit, and is used to define the specific behaviors and features of that platform's bot instance.

For more information, read the guide to creating new platform connectors for Botkit

Argument Description
delay time between event loops

Adjust the speed of Botkit's event loops. By default, this is set to 1500ms, which means that Botkit will evaluate all active conversations and send any pending replies every 1.5 seconds.

Decreasing this time will increase the speed at which bots send replies in conversations.

For example:

// only wait 00ms between conversation loops
controller.setTickDelay(100);

This function begins Botkit's internal event loop, which will tick at an interval of once every 1.5 seconds unless modified using controller.setTickDelay()

In most cases, this is called internally by a platform connector and does not have to be called directly by bot code.

However, if your bot seems to freeze up after the first message in any conversation, you may need to call it!

Argument Description
port a port number for the webserver
callback a function in the form function(err, webserver) {…}

Create an instance of the Express.js webserver for use with platform-specific features like oauth and incoming webhooks.

Botkit provides a simple Express webserver for those who don't know or don't want to set up their own. However, if you want to do anything with your webserver other than those required by Botkit, it is our recommendation that you manage your own instance of Express. A good place to see this in action is inside all of the botkit starter kits.

Returns a user agent string for use when making API requests to external resources.

Returns the current package version of Botkit's core library

This function stops the event loop from processing active conversations. It is the opposite of controller.startTicking()

Argument Description
message Incoming message object
reply String or Object Outgoing response
callback Optional Callback in the form function(err,response) { … }

Simple reply example:

controller.hears(['keyword','^pattern$'],['message_received'],function(bot,message) {

  // do something to respond to message
  // ...

  bot.reply(message,"Tell me more!");

});

Argument Description
message A message object
callback Optional Callback in the form function(err,response) { … }

Slack-specific Example:

bot.say(
  {
    text: 'my message text',
    channel: 'C0H338YH4' // a valid slack channel, group, mpim, or im ID
  }
);

Note: If your primary need is to spontaneously send messages rather than respond to incoming messages, you may want to use Slack's incoming webhooks feature rather than the real time API.

Facebook-specific Example:

bot.say(
    {
        text: 'my message_text',
        channel: '+1(###)###-####' // a valid facebook user id or phone number
    }
);

Argument Description
message incoming message to which the conversation is in response
callback a callback function in the form of function(err,conversation) { … }

startConversation() is a function that creates conversation in response to an incoming message. The conversation will occur in the same channel in which the incoming message was received. Only the user who sent the original incoming message will be able to respond to messages in the conversation.

Argument Description
message message object containing {user: userId} of the user you would like to start a conversation with
callback a callback function in the form of function(err,conversation) { … }

startPrivateConversation() is a function that initiates a conversation with a specific user. Note function works only on platforms with multiple channels.

Argument Description
message incoming message to which the conversation is in response
callback a callback function in the form of function(err,conversation) { … }

This works just like startConversation(), with one main difference - the conversation object passed into the callback will be in a dormant state. No messages will be sent, and the conversation will not collect responses until it is activated using convo.activate().

Use createConversation() instead of startConversation() when you plan on creating more complex conversation structures using threads or variables and templates in your messages.

Argument Description
message incoming message to which the conversation is in response
callback a callback function in the form of function(err,conversation) { … }

This works just like startPrivateConversation(), with one main difference - the conversation object passed into the callback will be in a dormant state. No messages will be sent, and the conversation will not collect responses until it is activated using convo.activate().

This function will cause a dormant conversation created with bot.createConversation() to be activated, which will cause it to start sending messages and receiving replies from end users.

A conversation can be kept dormant in order to preload it with variables, particularly data that requires asynchronous actions to take place such as loading data from a database or remote source. You may also keep a conversation inactive while you build threads, setting it in motion only when all of the user paths have been defined.

Argument Description
message String or message object
thread_name String defining the name of a thread

This function works identically to convo.say() except that it takes a second parameter which defines the thread to which the message will be added rather than being queued to send immediately, as is the case when using convo.say().

Argument Description
message String or message object containing the question
callback or array of callbacks callback function in the form function(response_message,conversation), or array of objects in the form { pattern: regular_expression, callback: function(response_message,conversation) { ... } }
capture_options Object defining options for capturing the response. Pass an empty object if capture options are not needed
thread_name String defining the name of a thread

When passed a callback function, conversation.ask will execute the callback function for any response. This allows the bot to respond to open ended questions, collect the responses, and handle them in whatever manner it needs to.

When passed an array, the bot will look first for a matching pattern, and execute only the callback whose pattern is matched. This allows the bot to present multiple choice options, or to proceed only when a valid response has been received. At least one of the patterns in the array must be marked as the default option, which will be called should no other option match. Botkit comes pre-built with several useful patterns which can be used with this function. See included utterances

Callback functions passed to addQuestion() receive two parameters - the first is a standard message object containing the user's response to the question. The second is a reference to the conversation itself.

Note that in order to continue the conversation, convo.next() must be called by the callback function. This function tells Botkit to continue processing the conversation. If it is not called, the conversation will hang and never complete causing memory leaks and instability of your bot application!

The optional third parameter capture_options can be used to define different behaviors for collecting the user's response. This object can contain the following fields:

Field Description
key String If set, the response will be stored and can be referenced using this key
multiple Boolean if true, support multi-line responses from the user (allow the user to respond several times and aggregate the response into a single multi-line value)
controller.hears(['question me'], 'message_received', function(bot,message) {

  // start a conversation to handle this response.
  bot.startConversation(message,function(err,convo) {

    convo.addQuestion('How are you?',function(response,convo) {

      convo.say('Cool, you said: ' + response.text);
      convo.next();

    },{},'default');

  })

});
controller.hears(['question me'], 'message_received', function(bot,message) {

  // start a conversation to handle this response.
  bot.startConversation(message,function(err,convo) {

    convo.addQuestion('Shall we proceed Say YES, NO or DONE to quit.',[
      {
        pattern: 'done',
        callback: function(response,convo) {
          convo.say('OK you are done!');
          convo.next();
        }
      },
      {
        pattern: bot.utterances.yes,
        callback: function(response,convo) {
          convo.say('Great! I will continue...');
          // do something else...
          convo.next();

        }
      },
      {
        pattern: bot.utterances.no,
        callback: function(response,convo) {
          convo.say('Perhaps later.');
          // do something else...
          convo.next();
        }
      },
      {
        default: true,
        callback: function(response,convo) {
          // just repeat the question
          convo.repeat();
          convo.next();
        }
      }
    ],{},'default');

  })

});

Argument Description
message String or message object

convo.say() is a specialized version of convo.addMessage() that adds messages to the current thread, essentially adding a message dynamically to the conversation. This should only be used in simple cases, or when building a conversation with lots of dynamic content. Otherwise, creating threads is the recommended approach.

Call convo.say() several times in a row to queue messages inside the conversation. Only one message will be sent at a time, in the order they are queued.

controller.hears(['hello world'], 'message_received', function(bot,message) {

  // start a conversation to handle this response.
  bot.startConversation(message,function(err,convo) {

    convo.say('Hello!');
    convo.say('Have a nice day!');

  });
});

Argument Description
message String or message object containing the question
callback or array of callbacks callback function in the form function(response_message,conversation), or array of objects in the form { pattern: regular_expression, callback: function(response_message,conversation) { ... } }
capture_options Optional Object defining options for capturing the response

convo.ask() is a specialized version of convo.addQuestion() that adds messages to the current thread, essentially adding a message dynamically to the conversation. This should only be used in simple cases, or when building a conversation with lots of dynamic content. Otherwise, creating threads is the recommended approach.

In particular, we recommend that developers avoid calling convo.ask() or convo.say() inside a callbacks for convo.ask(). Multi-level callbacks encourage fragile code - for conversations requiring more than one branch, use threads!

Argument Description
thread_name String defining the name of a thread

Cause the bot to immediately jump to the named thread. All conversations start in a thread called default, but you may switch to another existing thread before the conversation has been activated, or in a question callback.

Threads are created by adding messages to them using addMessage() and addQuestion()

// create the validation_error thread
convo.addMessage('This is a validation error.', 'validation_error');
convo.addMessage('I am sorry, your data is wrong!', 'validation_error');

// switch to the validation thread immediately
convo.gotoThread('validation_error');

Argument Description
thread_name String defining the name of a thread
message String or message object

Like gotoThread(), jumps to the named thread. However, before doing so, Botkit will first send message to the user as a transition. This allows developers to specify dynamic transition messages to improve the flow of the conversation.

// create an end state thread
convo.addMessage('This is the end!', 'the_end');

// now transition there with a nice message
convo.transitionTo('the_end','Well I think I am all done.');

Argument Description
thread_name String defining the name of a thread
handler_function handler in the form function(convo, next) {…}

Allows developers to specify one or more functions that will be called before the thread referenced in thread_name is activated.

handler_function will receive the conversation object and a next() function. Developers must call the next() function when their asynchronous operations are completed, or the conversation may not continue as expected.

Note that if gotoThread() is called inside the handler function, it is recommended that next() be passed with an error parameter to stop processing of any additional thread handler functions that may be defined - that is, call next('stop');

// create a thread that asks the user for their name.
// after collecting name, call gotoThread('completed') to display completion message
convo.addMessage({text: 'Hello let me ask you a question, then i will do something useful'},'default');
convo.addQuestion({text: 'What is your name?'},function(res, convo) {
  // name has been collected...
  convo.gotoThread('completed');
},{key: 'name'},'default');

// create completed thread
convo.addMessage({text: 'I saved your name in the database, {{vars.name}}'},'completed');

// create an error  thread
convo.addMessage({text: 'Oh no I had an error! {{vars.error}}'},'error');


// now, define a function that will be called AFTER the `default` thread ends and BEFORE the `completed` thread begins
convo.beforeThread('completed', function(convo, next) {

  var name = convo.extractResponse('name');

  // do something complex here
  myFakeFunction(name).then(function(results) {

    convo.setVar('results',results);

    // call next to continue to the secondary thread...
    next();

  }).catch(function(err) {
    convo.setVar('error', err);
    convo.gotoThread('error');
    next(err); // pass an error because we changed threads again during this transition
  });

});

Argument Description
variable_name The name of a variable to be made available to message text templates.
value The value of the variable, which can be any type of normal Javascript variable

Create or update a variable that is available as a Mustache template token to all the messages in all the threads contained in the conversation.

The variable will be available in the template as {{vars.variable_name}}

Argument Description
callback Optional Callback in the form function(convo) { … }

Provide a handler function that will be called in the event that a conversation reaches its timeout threshold without any user response.

Returns an object containing all of the responses a user sent during the course of a conversation.

var values = convo.extractResponses();
var value = values.key;

Return one specific user response, identified by its key.

var value  = convo.extractResponse('key');

Works just like convo.say, but injects a message into the first spot in the queue so that it is sent immediately, before any other queued messages.

end the conversation immediately, and set convo.status to stopped

repeat the last question sent and continue to wait for a response.

simply wait for another response without saying anything.

proceed to the next message in the conversation. This must be called at the end of each handler.

Argument Description
time_in_ms Time in milliseconds

times out conversation if no response from user after specified time period

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