Microsoft has unveiled Azure Bot Service, a public cloud bot-service built on Microsoft Bot Framework and Azure Functions, which is meant to foster the spread of bot creation within the developer community at large. It provides serverless bot service that scales and that developers can use to build and deploy bots across a variety of apps and channels, including Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.
The service also accelerates and streamlines intelligent bot building with a variety of features. It comes with a range of out-of-the-box templates, including the basic bot, Language Understanding Intelligent Service bot, form bot, and proactive bot. The bots can be built directly into browsers in C# or Node.js, and with the IDE and code editor of the developer’s choice. Moreover, Azure Bot Service provides ease of deployment by using a template to create an Azure Function App. It also automatically registers the created bot in a public bot directory for publicity.
The service comes with configurable channels that manage and facilitate interactions with customers, while increasing exposure. As noted above, the bots can work from a business’s apps and websites and are compatible with a wide range of communications channels. Developers can also integrate Microsoft Cognitive Services to create intelligent bots that can see, hear, and interpret, thereby enriching their interactions with customers. There are a variety of other modifications that can be made to enhance bots, such as adding search capabilities, using a few lines of code.
Finally, the service uses Azure Functions to help developers operate bots efficiently at scale, in addition to managing servers, patching, and infrastructure maintenance. It also provides integrated continuous deployment support, which flexibly lets developers use their DevOps tool chains of choice, commit code to various source control systems, and automatically publish it into Azure to refine their bots.
It uses a pay-as-you-go structure, so developers are charged only for the resources they consume.