The Microsoft Bot Framework has been moved into preview on the Azure cloud platform. Called the Azure Bot Service, Microsoft is enhancing development of bots for the Azure cloud platform. The company confirmed the framework in a blog post today.
Microsoft's Bot Framework was introduced by Microsoft at Build 2016 back in March. The service gives developers tools to easily create bots and distribute them through a marketplace.
Bots are not just for Microsoft services like Skype. They can also be created for third parties like Slack, Facebook, and Messenger.
In its blog post, the company points out that it is happy with the number of bots already created. Bringing the Bot Framework to Azure in preview lets developers work on creations with the cloud in mind. Microsoft says developers have warmed to bots despite the differences they present:
“For software developers, creating a conversational experience requires a shift in the way we design and build software. It turns out, it's pretty difficult to do well. Conversation is inherently fluid and tangents are the norm. This isn't the case for a traditional app, where the design center has (mostly) been about task completion accomplished through a graphical user interface (GUI).”
Azure Bot Service has been created using the Bot Framework and Azure Functions. Microsoft points out that this is the first public bot service for the cloud. It allows developers to build and deploy intelligent bots to services such as Slack, Skype, Office 365, and Facebook Messenger.
Azure Bot Service Features
“Accelerate development cycles: With the Azure Bot Service, developers can accelerate building intelligent bots using Microsoft Cognitive Services by working in an integrated developer experience designed for bot development. You can get started quickly with out-of-the-box templates such as the basic bot, Language Understanding Intelligent Service bot, form bot, and proactive bot.
Enrich your bots: The Azure Bot Service includes built-in configurable channels to improve your customer interactions and increase your reach to more customers. You can easily build bots that work from your apps or websites and across popular channels such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Teams, Web chat, Email, GroupMe, Kik, Telegram and Twilio.
Boost operational efficiency: Azure Bot Service uses Azure Functions to give you the operational agility to run and handle scale as your bots grow in popularity and you only pay for what you use. Moreover, you also don't need to worry about provisioning or managing servers that run your bots. Patching and infrastructure maintenance is handled for you – you focus on writing code.”