How to deploy SUSI AI bots on ngrok for debugging

For production purposes, bots can be deployed in cloud services such as HerokuGoogle App Engine or Amazon Web Services – or in their own data center infrastructure.

However, for development purposes you can use ngrok to provide access to your bot running in your local network. Ngrok is easy to setup and use. To learn more about it, you can refer to its documentation.

Ngrok is a handy tool and service that allows you tunnel requests from the wide open Internet to your local machine when it’s behind a NAT or firewall. It’s commonly used to develop web services and webhooks.

In this blog, you’ll learn how to deploy SUSI AI bots on ngrok. We’re going to demonstrate the process for SUSI AI Kik bot. However it is the same for rest of the bots as well.

First of all, you need to configure a bot on Kik. To configure a Kik bot, follow the first few steps of this blog post till you get an API key for the bot that you created using Botsworth. Now, follow these steps:

  1. In order to run SUSI AI kik bot on ngrok, you have to make some changes to the index.js file after forking susi_kikbot repository and cloning it to your local machine.
  2. Open index.js and change the information in ‘bot’ object. Write username of your kik bot in front of username and api key that you got for your bot in front of apiKey in quotations and leave the baseUrl blank for now. It will look like this: (Don’t copy the API key shown below. It’s invalid and only for demonstration purposes.)
var bot = new Bot({
    username: 'susi.ai',
    apiKey: 'b5a5238b-b764-45fe-a4c5-629fsd1851bd',
    baseUrl: ''
});
  1. Now save the file. No need to commit it.
  2. Go to https://ngrok.com/ and sign up.
  3. Next, you’ll be redirected to the setup and installation page. Follow the instructions there to setup ngrok on your local machine.
  4. Now open terminal and use ‘cd’ command to go to the susi_kikbot directory.
  5. While deploying on ngrok, we set the port for listening to http requests. Hence remove “process.env.PORT” from index.js or else this will cause an error in the next step. After removing, it should look like this: (Now save the index.js file)
http.createServer(bot.incoming()).listen(8080);

Also, comment out setInterval function in index.js.

  1. Now type the command ngrok http 8080 in terminal. In case ‘ngrok’ command doesn’t run, copy the ngrok file that you downloaded in step 5 and paste it in the susi_kikbot directory. Then enter ./ngrok http 8080 in terminal.
  2. When it launches, you’ll see a screen similar to the following:

  1. Copy the “forwarding” address (https://d36f0add.ngrok.io), and paste it in front of ‘baseUrl’ in the ‘bot’ object in index.js file. Add “/incoming” after it and save it. Now the ‘bot’ object should look similar to this:
var bot = new Bot({
    username: 'susi.ai',
    apiKey: 'b5a5238b-b764-45fe-a4c5-629fsd1851bd',
    baseUrl: 'https://d36f0add.ngrok.io/incoming'
});
  1. Launch another terminal window and cd into the susi_kikbot directory in your local machine. Then type node index.js command.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully deployed SUSI AI Kik bot on ngrok. Now try sending a message to your SUSI AI Kik bot.

References

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