How to Parse HTML Tags and Anchor Clickable Links in SUSI Android App

Html tags are used to define how contents of a webpage should be formatted and displayed. Sometimes the SUSI answer type response contains some html tags but showing these html tags without parsing would distort the normal text flow in SUSI Android.

For the query ‘Ask me something’ SUSI’s reply is

“data”: [
     {
      “question”: “Which soccer team won the Copa América 2015 Championship ? “,                                          
     }]

In SUSI Android this message looks like

As you can see that showing html tags without parsing distort the normal text flow. So we need to parse html tags properly. We use Html class for this purpose. Html class is present in android.text package and you can import it in the class where you want to use it.

import android.text.Html

fromHtml method of Html class is used to parse html tags. But for API level less than 24 and equal to or greater than 24 we use different parameters in fromHtml method.

For API level less than 24 we used

Html.fromHtml(model.getContent())

But for API level equal to or greater than 24 we have to use

Html.fromHtml(model.getContent(), Html.FROM_HTML_MODE_COMPACT)

Here the second parameter is legacy flags which decides how text inside a tag will be shown after parsing.

In case of Html.fromHtml(String string) legacy flag is by default FROM_HTML_MODE_LEGACY. It indicates that separate block-level elements with blank lines.

So after parsing html tags using fromHtml

But return type of fromHtml method is Spanned so if you need String then you have to convert it into string using toString() method.

Anchor action type in susi response contains link and text.

       “link”: “https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=13/1.2896698812440377/103.85006683126556”,
       “text”: “Link to Openstreetmap: Singapore”

Here the text is the text we show in textview and link is used to show web content in the browser when user click on text. So first link and text are attached together like

“<a href=\”” +susiResponse.getAnswers().get(0).getActions().get(i).getAnchorLink() + “\”>”
+ susiResponse.getAnswers().get(0).getActions().get(1).getAnchorText() + “</a>”

Here text between the tag is description of link and after parsing we show this text in textview. It can be parsed using fromHtml method of Html class and textview is made clickable by

chatTextView.setMovementMethod(LinkMovementMethod.getInstance());

Resources

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Reset Password Option in SUSI Android App

Login and signup are an important feature for some android apps like chat apps because the user will want to save and secure personal messages from others. In SUSI Android app we provide a token to a logged-in user for a limit period of time so that once the user logs in and someone else gets access to the device, then he/she can’t use the user account for a long period of time. It is a security provided from our side but the user also has to maintain some security. Cyber security risks have increased and hacking technologies have improved a lot in the past 10 years. So, using the same password for a long period of time absolutely puts your account security at risk. So to keep your account secure you should change/reset your password regularly. In this blog post, I will show you how reset password option is implemented in SUSI Android app.

Layout design for reset password

Reset password option is added in the setting. When the user clicks on reset password option a dialog box pops up. There are three textinputlayout boxes – each for the current password, new password and confirm password. I have used textinputlayout instead of simple edittext box because it helps user to show first “hint” and when user taps on, hint will come up with text over it as floating label so that the user can understand what to add in that box and also in case of error we can show that error to user.

Reset Password implementation

On clicking reset password option a dialog box appears in which user inserts the current password, new password and confirm password to confirm the new password. Before sending new password to the server we perform two checks

  1. New password should not be empty and length of new password should be at least six.
  2. New password and confirm password must be same.
if (!CredentialHelper.isPasswordValid(newPassword)) {

settingView?.passwordInvalid(Constant.NEW_PASSWORD)

return

}

if (newPassword != conPassword) {

settingView?.invalidCredentials(false, Constant.NEW_PASSWORD)

return

}

And when these two checks are passed we send “new password” to server.

Endpoint use to reset password is

http://api.susi.ai/aaa/changepassword.json?changepassword=your mail id&password=current password&newpassword=newpassword

As you can see it needed three parameters

  • changepassword: Your email id
  • password : Your current password
  • newpassword: Your new password

When user logs in, we save user’s email id so that the user doesn’t have to provide it again and again when the user wants to change the password.

utilModel.saveEmail(email)

The user provides current password and new password through dialog box. We used resetPassword method to reset the password. We send these three parameters to the server using resetPassword method and if the password changed successfully then server sends a message.

override fun resetPassword(password: String, newPassword: String, listener: ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener) {

  val email = PrefManager.getString(Constant.SAVE_EMAIL, null)

  resetPasswordResponseCall = ClientBuilder().susiApi

          .resetPasswordResponse(email,password,newPassword)

  resetPasswordResponseCall.enqueue(object : Callback<ResetPasswordResponse> {

  } )

}

We used retrofit library for network call and resetPasswordResponse is a model class using which we are retrieving server response.

Reference

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Reset Password Functionality in SUSI iOS

Reset Password as the name suggests is one of the features in the SUSI iOS app which allows a user to change his/her password when they are logged in. This feature was added because a user would want to change his password sometimes to prevent unauthorized access or make his account security stronger. We can find many popular apps online such as Facebook, Gmail, which allow the user to reset their password. The way this is done is pretty simple and all we need from the user is his current and the new password he/she wants to set. In this blog post, I am going to explain step by step how this is implemented in the iOS client.

Implementation

The option to Reset Password is provided to the user under the Settings Controller. On selecting the row, the user is presented with another view which asks the user for his/her current password, new password, and another field to confirm the newly entered password.

First, the user needs to provide his current password followed by the new password. The user’s current password is required just to authenticate that the account’s owner is requesting the password change. The new password field is followed by another field called confirm password just to make sure there isn’t any typo.

Now when the field is filled, the user clicks the `Reset password` button at the bottom. What happens here is, first, the fields are validated to ensure the correct length of the passwords followed by an API request to update the same. The endpoint for the same is as below:

http://api.susi.ai/aaa/changepassword.json?changepassword=user_email&password=current _pass&newpassword=new_pass&access_token=user_access_token

This endpoint requires 3 things:

  • Current Password
  • New Password
  • User’s email
  • Access Token obtained at the time of login
func validatePassword() -> [Bool:String] {
        if let newPassword = newPasswordField.text,
            let confirmPassword = confirmPasswordField.text {
            if newPassword.characters.count > 5 {
                if newPassword == confirmPassword {
                    return [true: ""]
                } else {
                    return [false: ControllerConstants.passwordDoNotMatch]
                }
            } else {
                return [false: ControllerConstants.passwordLengthShort]
            }
        }
        return [false: Client.ResponseMessages.ServerError]
    }

Initially, we were not saving the user’s email, so we added the user’s email to the User’s object which is saved at the time of login.

if var userData = results {
userData[Client.UserKeys.EmailOfAccount] = user.email
UserDefaults.standard.set(userData, forKey: ControllerConstants.UserDefaultsKeys.user)
self.saveUserGlobally(user: currentUser)
}

At last, the API call is made which is implemented as below:

let params = [
  Client.UserKeys.AccessToken: user.accessToken,
  Client.UserKeys.EmailOfAccount: user.emailID,
  Client.UserKeys.Password: currentPasswordField.text ?? "",
  Client.UserKeys.NewPassword: newPasswordField.text ?? ""
]
Client.sharedInstance.resetPassword(params as [String : AnyObject], { (_, message) in
  DispatchQueue.main.async {
    self.view.makeToast(message)
    self.setUIActive(active: false)
  }
})

Below is the final UI.

Reference

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Showing sample queries in SUSI.AI Bots

We need to give the user a good start to their chat with SUSI.AI. Engaging the users with some good skills at the start of the conversation, can leave a good impression about SUSI.AI. In SUSI messenger bots, we show up with some sample queries to try, during the conversation with SUSI.AI. In this blog, SUSI_Tweetbot and SUSI_FBbot are used as examples.

These queries are shown as quick replies i.e. the user can click on any of these sample queries and get an answer from SUSI.AI.  

Facebook:

When the user clicks on the “Start chatting” button, we send a descriptive message on what can the user ask to SUSI.AI .

Code snippet used for this step is:

var queryUrl = 'http://api.susi.ai/susi/chat.json?q='+'Start+chatting';
var startMessage = '';
// Wait until done and reply
request({
        url: queryUrl,
        json: true
}, function (error, response, body) {
if (!error && response.statusCode === 200) {
        startMessage = body.answers[0].actions[0].expression;
    }
else{
    startMessage = errMessage;
    }
sendTextMessage(sender, startMessage, 0);

Just a text message is not much engaging. To further enhance the experience of the user, we show some quick reply options to the user. We have finalized some skills to show to the user:

Due to the character limit for the text shown on buttons, we try to show short queries as shown in the above picture. This way the user gets an idea about what type of queries can be asked.

Generic template, help us achieve this feature in SUSI_FBbot.

The code snippet used:

var messageT = {
               "type": "template",
               "payload": {
                "template_type": "generic",
                "elements": [{
                                    "title": 'You can try the following:',
                                    "buttons": [{                                               
                                               "type":"postback",
                                               "title":"What is FOSSASIA?",                                  
                                               "payload":"What is FOSSASIA?"            
                                            }]
                            }]
                }
            };
sendTextMessage(sender, messageT, 1);

As seen in the code above, each button has a corresponding postback text. So that whenever that button is clicked the postback text is sent to our chat automatically:

This postback text acts as a query to SUSI API which fetches the response from the server and shows it back to the user.

Twitter:

As SUSI.AI bots must be generic among all the messenger platforms available , we will inculcate the same skills available in SUSI_FBbot to SUSI_Tweetbot. The quick reply feature provided by Twitter devs help us to accomplish this task at hand.

As in SUSI_FBbot a descriptive message is shown to the users first and then some quick reply options following it.

Message_create event helps in adding quick replies:

var msg = {
               "event": {
               "type": "message_create",
               "message_create": {
                   "target": {
                       "recipient_id": senderId
                    },
                    "message_data": {
                        "text": "You can try the following:",
                        "quick_reply": {
                            "type": "options",
                            "options": [{
                                "label": "What is FOSSASIA?",
                                "metadata": "external_id_4"
                            }]
                        }
                    }
                }
           }
    };
T.post('direct_messages/events/new', msg, sent);

One thing to keep in mind while coding is to send the quick reply message after the initial descriptive message i.e. the code used to send quick replies should be written inside the function, which sends the descriptive message first and aafter that step is complete it runs the code for quick replies. If we accidentally write quick reply code outside that function, it’s highly likely to find bugs in the replies by SUSI.AI.

Resources

  1. Speed up customer service with quick replies and welcome messages by Ian Cairns from Twitter blog.
  2. Link Ads to Messenger, Enhanced Mobile Websites, Payments and More by Seth Rosenberg from Facebook developers blog
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Making SUSI.AI reach more users through messenger bots

SUSI.AI learns from the queries asked to it by the users. More are the number of queries asked, the better is the learning by SUSI.AI. More are the number of users involved with SUSI.AI, better is the amount of content available to SUSI to learn from. Now, the challenge in front of us is to indulge more users with SUSI.AI. In this blog post, SUSI Tweetbot and SUSI FBbot are used as examples to show how we increase our user base through messenger bots.

Twitter:

Twitter has a 328 million user base according to this article’s data. Integration of SUSI.AI to just Twitter makes it available to around 300 million users. Even if some percentage of these users start using SUSI.AI, increase in the user base of SUSI.AI could be exponential. Increasing the user base is advantageous as it provides with more training data for SUSI.AI to learn from.

Sharing by public tweet:

Integrating to it is just the first step towards increasing SUSI.AI’s user base. Next step is to reach the users and indulge them into chatting with SUSI.AI.

Suppose a user asked something to SUSI.AI and really liked the reply from it. He/she wants to share it with his/her followers. This can prove to be a golden opportunity for us, to increase the reach of SUSI.AI. This way we can indulge their friends to try SUSI.AI and have an amazing time with it.

It becomes clear that sharing messages is an indispensable feature and can help us a lot. Twitter doesn’t provide sharing with friends through direct messages but with a feature much better than it. We can share that message as a public tweet and cover more users including the followers of the user.

 

To show this button we use Call to action support by twitter:

"message_data": {
          "text": txt,
          "ctas": [{
                      "type": "web_url",
                      "label": "Share with your followers",
                      "url": ""
          }]
}

The url key in the above code must have a value that redirects to a U.I. that allows to publicly tweet this reply by SUSI.AI.

Using this “https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=” as the url value shows a new page with an empty tweet message, as the text query in the url has no value. We set the text field with a value such that we end up like this:

and after tweeting it:

Sending a direct message link with the tweet:

Twitter provides with a lot of features when sending direct messages. Shifting a user from tweets to direct messages is beneficial in a way that we can efficiently tell the user about the capabilities of SUSI.AI and show important links to him/her like of its repository, web chat client etc.

When a user tweets to the SUSI.AI page with a query, we reply with a tweet back to the user. Along with that, we provide a link to privately message SUSI.AI account if the user wants to.

This way if user ends up visiting SUSI.AI in a chat window:

To achieve this in SUSI Tweetbot, Twitter provides with a direct message url. This url – https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id= redirects us to the chat window of the account having that recipient id, passed as a query string. In our case the url turns out to be – https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id=871446601000202244 as “871446601000202244” is the recipient id of @SusiAI1 account on twitter.

If we send this url as a text in our “tweet back” to the user, Twitter beautifully shows it as a clickable button with the label as “send a private message” as shown above.

Hence we call the tweet function like this:

tweetIt('@' + from + ' ' + message + date +"\nhttps://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id=871446601000202244");

Facebook:

As we all know Facebook is the giant of social networking sites. Integrating SUSI.AI to Facebook is beneficial for us.

Unlike Twitter, in Facebook we can share messages with other friends through direct messaging to them. The last topic of this blog post walks you through on adding sharing feature in SUSI FBbot:

We also take advantage from the SUSI FBbot to make SUSI.AI better. We can direct the users using SUSI messenger bots to SUSI.AI repository and show them all the required information on how to contribute to the project.

The best way to do this is by showing a “How to contribute” button when the user clicks on “Get started” in the messenger bot.

This blog post will help you showing buttons along with the replies (by SUSI.AI).

When the user clicks this button, we send two messages back to the user as shown:

This way through bots, we have somehow got the user to visit SUSI.AI repository and contribute to it or indulge him/her in the discussion, through our Gitter channel on what can be the next steps in improving SUSI.AI.

Resources:

  1. Link Ads to Messenger, Enhanced Mobile Websites, Payments and More by Seth Rosenberg from Facebook developers blog.
  2. Drive discovery of bots and other customer experiences in direct messages by  Travis Lull from Twitter blog.
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How to Implement Feedback System in SUSI iOS

The SUSI iOS app provides responses for various queries but the response is always not accurate. To improve the response, we make use of the feedback system, which is the first step towards implementing Machine Learning on the SUSI Server. The way this works is that for every query, we present the user with an option to upvote or downvote the response and based on that a positive or negative feedback is saved on the server. In this blog, I will explain how this feedback system was implemented in the SUSI iOS app.

Steps to implement:

We start by adding the UI which is two buttons, one with a thumbs up and the other with a thumbs down image.

textBubbleView.addSubview(thumbUpIcon)
textBubbleView.addSubview(thumbDownIcon)
textBubbleView.addConstraintsWithFormat(format: "H:[v0]-4-[v1(14)]-2-[v2(14)]-8-|", views: timeLabel, thumbUpIcon, thumbDownIcon)
textBubbleView.addConstraintsWithFormat(format: "V:[v0(14)]-2-|", views: thumbUpIcon)
textBubbleView.addConstraintsWithFormat(format: "V:[v0(14)]-2-|", views: thumbDownIcon)
thumbUpIcon.isUserInteractionEnabled = true
thumbDownIcon.isUserInteractionEnabled = true

Here, we add the subviews and assign constraints so that these buttons align to the bottom right next to each other. Also, we enable the user interaction for these buttons.

We know that the user can rate the response by pressing either of the buttons added above. To do that we make an API call to the endpoint below:

BASE_URL+'/cms/rateSkill.json?'+'model='+model+'&group='+group+'&skill='+skill+’&language’+language+’&rating=’+rating

Here, the BASE_URL is the url of the server, the other three params model, group, language and skill are retrieved by parsing the skill location parameter we get with the response. The rating is positive or negative based on which button was pressed by the user. The skill param in the response looks like this:

skills:
[
"/susi_skill_data/models/general/entertainment/en/quotes.txt"
]

Let’s write the method that makes the API call and responds to the UI that it was successful.

if let accepted = response[ControllerConstants.accepted] as? Bool {
  if accepted {
    completion(true, nil)
    return
  }
  completion(false, ResponseMessages.ServerError)
  return
}

Here after receiving a response from the server, we check if the `accepted` variable is true or not. Based on that, we pass `true` or `false` to the completion handler. Below the response we actually receive by making the request.

{
session: {
identity: {
type: "host",
name: "23.105.140.146",
anonymous: true
}
},
accepted: true,
message: "Skill ratings updated"
}

Finally, let’s update the UI after the request has been successful.

if sender == thumbUpIcon {
thumbDownIcon.tintColor = UIColor(white: 0.1, alpha: 0.7)
thumbUpIcon.isUserInteractionEnabled = false
thumbDownIcon.isUserInteractionEnabled = true
feedback = "positive"
} else {
thumbUpIcon.tintColor = UIColor(white: 0.1, alpha: 0.7)
thumbDownIcon.isUserInteractionEnabled = false
thumbUpIcon.isUserInteractionEnabled = true
feedback = "negative"
}
sender.tintColor = UIColor.hexStringToUIColor(hex: "#2196F3")

Here, we check the sender (the thumbs up or down button) and based on that pass the rating (positive or negative) and update the color of the button.

Below is the app in action with the feedback system.

Resources:

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Updating Settings Activity With MVP Architecture in SUSI Android

SUSI Android app includes settings that allow users to modify app features and behaviours. For example, SUSI Android allows users to specify whether they want voice output i.e text to speech irrespective of input type.

Currently different settings available in SUSI Android are:

Settings                                          Use
Enter As Send It allows users to specify whether they want to use action button of soft keyboard as carriage return or send message
Mic Input It allows users to specify whether they want to use speech for input type or not. User can also use keyboard to provide input.
Speech Always It allows users to specify whether they want speech output i.e text to speech irrespective of input type
Speech Output It allows users to specify whether they want speech output in case of speech input or not.
Select Server It allows user to specify whether they want to use default susi_server or their own server.
Language It allows users to select text to speech engine language.

Android’s standard architecture isn’t always sufficient, especially in the case of complex applications that need to be tested regularly. So we need an architecture that can improve the app’s testability and MVP(Model View Presenter) architecture is one of the best options for that.

Working with MVP architecture to show settings

MVP architecture creates three layers: Model, View and Presenter. Use of each layer is described below

  • Model: The Model holds the business logic of the application. It controls how data can be created, stored, and modified.
  • View: The View is a UI that displays data and routes user actions to the Presenter.
  • Presenter: Presenter is a mediator between View and Model. It retrieves data from the Model and shows it in the View. It also processes user actions forwarded to it by the View.

Steps followed to implement MVP architecture are:

1. I first created three interfaces: ISettingsView, ISettingModel and  ISettingsPresenter. These classes contain all the important functions we needed in model, presenter and view. Presenter’s interaction with model is handled by  ISettingModel and presenter’s interaction with view is handled by ISettingsPresenter and ISettingView.

  1. I created model, view and presenter class i.e SettingModel, SettingsPresenter and SettingsActivity and implemented ISettingModel, ISettingsPresenter and ISettingsView in SettingModel, SettingPresenter and SettingsActivity respectively so that presenter can communicate with both model and view.
class SettingsPresenter(fragmentActivity: FragmentActivity): ISettingsPresenter, ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener
class SettingsActivity : AppCompatActivity(), ISettingsView
class SettingModel: ISettingModel
  1. After that, I created ChatSettingsFragment class. It is a PreferenceFragment class which resides in SettingsActivity and contains all settings.
class ChatSettingsFragment : PreferenceFragmentCompat() 

How Presenter communicates with Model and View

As already mentioned presenter’s interaction with view is handled by ISettingsView and ISettingsPresenter. So first I created object of ISettingsPresenter in ChatSettingsFragment, which is part of view, as shown below

lateinit var settingsPresenter: ISettingsPresenter
settingsPresenter = SettingsPresenter(activity)

And used it to call method of presenter, SettingsPresenter

settingsPresenter.sendSetting(Constant.ENTER_SEND, newValue.toString())

After that, I created an object of ISettingsView in SettingsPresenter, so that it can communicate with view, SettingsActivity.

Presenter’s interaction with model is handled by ISettingModel. So first I created an object of SettingModel class which implemented ISettingModel and then used it to call methods of SettingModel.

var settingModel: SettingModel = SettingModel()
settingModel.sendSetting(key, value, this)

Here the third parameter in the sendSetting method is ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener which is part of ISettingModel. SettingModel used it to communicate with SettingsPresenter as shown below

override fun sendSetting(key: String, value: String, listener: ISettingModel.onSettingFinishListener) {

settingResponseCall.enqueue(object : Callback<ChangeSettingResponse> {

 override fun onResponse(call: Call<ChangeSettingResponse>?, response:

Response<ChangeSettingResponse>) {

          listener.onSuccess(response)

      }

  })

}

onSuccess method present in SettingsPresenter.

Reference

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Advanced functionality in SUSI Tweetbot

SUSI AI is integrated to Twitter (blog). During the initial phase, SUSI Tweetbot had basic UI and functionalities like just “plain text” replies. Twitter provides with many more features like quick replies i.e. presenting to the user with some choices to choose from or visiting SUSI server repository by just clicking buttons during the chat etc.

All these features are provided to enhance the user experience with our chatbot on Twitter.

This blog post walks you through on adding these functionalities to the SUSI Tweetbot:

  1. Quick replies
  2. Buttons

    Quick replies:

    This feature provides options to the user to choose from.

    The user doesn’t need to type the next query but rather select a quick reply from the options available. This speeds up the process and makes it easy for the user. Also, it helps developers know all the possible queries which can come next, from the user. Hence, it helps in efficient coding on how to handle those queries.In SUSI Tweetbot this feature is used to welcome a new user to the SUSI A.I.’s chat window, as shown in the image above. The user can select any option among “Get started” and “Start chatting”.The “Get started” option is basically for introduction of SUSI A.I. to the user. While, “Start chatting” when clicked shows the user of what all queries the user can try.Let’s come to the code part on how to show these options and what events happen when a user selects one of the options.

    To show the Welcome message, we call SUSI API with the query as string “Welcome” and store the reply in message variable. The code snippet used:

var queryUrl = 'http://api.susi.ai/susi/chat.json?q=Welcome';
var message = '';
request({
    url: queryUrl,
    json: true
}, function (err, response, data) {
    if (!err && response.statusCode === 200) {
        message = data.answers[0].actions[0].expression;
    } 
    else {
        // handle error
    }
});

To show options with the message:

var msg =  {
        "welcome_message" : {
                    "message_data": {
                        "text": message,
                        "quick_reply": {
                              "type": "options",
                              "options": [
                                {
                                  "label": "Get started",
                                  "metadata": "external_id_1"
                                },
                                {
                                  "label": "Start chatting",
                                  "metadata": "external_id_2"
                                }
                              ]
                            }
                    }
                      }
       };
T.post('direct_messages/welcome_messages/new', msg, sent);

The line T.post() makes a POST request to the Twitter API, to register the welcome message with Twitter for our chatbot. The return value from this request includes a welcome message id in it corresponding to this welcome message.

We set up a welcome message rule for this welcome message using it’s id. By setting up the rule is to set this welcome message as the default welcome message shown to new users. Twitter also provides with custom welcome messages, information about which can be found in their official docs.

The welcome message rule is set up by sending the welcome message id as a key in the request body:

var welcomeId = data.welcome_message.id;
var welcomeRule = {
            "welcome_message_rule": {
                "welcome_message_id": welcomeId
            }
};
T.post('direct_messages/welcome_messages/rules/new', welcomeRule, sent);

Now, we are all set to show the new users with a welcome message.

Buttons:

Let’s go a bit further. If the user clicks on the option “Get started”, we want to show a basic introduction of SUSI A.I. to the user. Along with that we provide some buttons to visit the SUSI A.I. repository or experience chatting with SUSI A.I. on the web client.

The procedure followed to show buttons is almost the same as followed in case of options.This doc by Twitter proves to be helpful to get familiar with buttons.

As soon as a person clicks on “Get started” option, Twitter sends a message to our bot with the query as “Get started”.

For the message part, we call SUSI API with the query as string “Get started” and store the reply in a message variable. The code snippet used:

var queryUrl = 'http://api.susi.ai/susi/chat.json?q=Get+started';
var message = '';
request({
    url: queryUrl,
    json: true
}, function (err, response, data) {
    if (!err && response.statusCode === 200) {
        message = data.answers[0].actions[0].expression;
    } 
    else {
        // handle error
    }
});

Both the buttons to be shown with the message should have a corresponding url. So that after clicking the button a person is redirected to that url in a new browser tab.

To show buttons a simple message won’t help, we need to create an event. This event constitutes of our message and buttons. The buttons are referred to as call-to-action i.e. CTAs by Twitter dev’s. The maximum number of buttons in an event can not be more than three in number.

The code used to make an event in our case:

var msg = {
        "event": {
                "type": "message_create",
                "message_create": {
                              "target": {
                                "recipient_id": sender
                              },
                              "message_data": {
                                "text": message,
                                "ctas": [
                                  {
                                    "type": "web_url",
                                    "label": "View Repository",
                                    "url": "https://www.github.com/fossasia/susi_server"
                                  },
                                  {
                                    "type": "web_url",
                                    "label": "Chat on the web client",
                                    "url": "http://chat.susi.ai"
                                  }
                                ]
                              }
                            }
            }
        };

T.post('direct_messages/events/new', msg, sent);

The line T.post() makes a POST request to the Twitter API, to send this event to the concerned recipient guiding them on how to get started with the bot.

Resources:

  1. Speed up customer service with quick replies and welcome messages by Ian Cairns from Twitter blog.
  2. Drive discovery of bots and other customer experiences in direct messages by Travis Lull from Twitter blog.
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Advanced functionality in SUSI FBbot

SUSI AI is integrated to Facebook (blog). During the initial phase, SUSI FBbot had basic UI and functionalities like just “plain text” replies. Facebook provides many more features like replies enclosed in templates (blog link), sharing the replies by SUSI A.I. with friends, get started button or a persistent menu to show quick reply options to the user etc. All these features to enhance the user experience with SUSI AI chatbot.

This blog post walks you through on adding these functionalities to the SUSI FBbot:

Adding Get Started button

A Get Started button is added to the SUSI FBbot to give the user a brief introduction about SUSI AI and what the user can try next.

Clicking on the get started button , will send the message as “Get Started” to the SUSI FBbot:

The reply message, provides the user with options to visit SUSI A.I. repository or to just start chatting.

To have this button in our bot, we use this code snippet:

// Add a get started button to the messenger
request({
    url: 'https://graph.facebook.com/v2.6/me/messenger_profile',
    qs: {access_token:token},
    method: 'POST',
    json: { 
      "get_started":{
        "payload":"GET_STARTED_PAYLOAD"
      }
    }
}, function(error, response, body) {
    // handle errors and response here
})

When a user clicks this button, a postback is sent to the webhook of SUSI FBbot with payload as “GET_STARTED_PAYLOAD”. When we receive such postback, we reply with a message as shown above using generic template.

Adding a persistent menu to the bot

If not at the start, while chatting with SUSI AI for sometime, it is quite possible that the user becomes curious to visit the repository of SUSI A.I. . So we need a quick access to the “Visit repository” button all the time. Persistent menu, helps us with this feature:

This way it is accessible at each point of time. Some other buttons can also be added to the menu like “Latest News” as shown in the image above.

To have a persistent menu for the SUSI FBbot, the following code snippet is used:

request({
        url: 'https://graph.facebook.com/v2.6/me/messenger_profile',
        qs: {access_token:token},
        method: 'POST',
        json: {
                "persistent_menu":[{
                    "locale":"default", 
                        "composer_input_disabled":false,
                        "call_to_actions":[{
                            "type":"web_url",
                            "title":"Visit Repository",
                            "url":"https://github.com/fossasia/susi_server",
                            "webview_height_ratio":"full"
                        }]
                 }]
            }
    }, function(error, response, body) {
        // handle errors and response
    })

We can add more buttons to the menu. JSON object having the required properties of that button can be appended to the key “call_to_actions” to do so.

Adding a messenger code to join SUSI FBbot

To enable Facebook users to chat with SUSI AI by scanning a code through messenger. This feature is added to the bot by making the following POST request:

request({
        url: 'https://graph.facebook.com/v2.6/me/messenger_codes',
        qs: {access_token:token},
        method: 'POST',
        json: {
                type: "standard",
                image_size: 1000
        }
    }, function(error, response, body) {
        // handle errors and response.
});

Adding message sharing feature

To increase the reach of SUSI A.I. to more users on Facebook, message sharing proves to be a big boon. The reply by SUSI A.I. to users can be shared with their friends. Along with the message we can also send a promotional message(related to SUSI A.I.), to the people with which the message was shared.

This sharing can end up having more users trying SUSI A.I., leading to increase the user base of SUSI AI and its popularity.

We can allow sharing of just the message(i.e. the reply) or a promotional message with it. In case of just the reply:

Clicking the share button, will share just the reply with another person. To add capabilities of sharing the reply along with one more message(prompting to try SUSI A.I.), some changes to the code are done:

We need to set the buttons property in generic template like:

buttons : [
            {
                "type":"element_share",
                    "share_contents": { 
                      "attachment": {
                        "type": "template",
                        "payload": {
                          "template_type": "generic",
                          "elements": [
                            {
                              "title": "I had an amazing chat with SUSI.",
                              "buttons": [
                                {
                                  "type": "web_url",
                                  "url": "https://m.me/asksusisu", 
                                  "title": "Chat with SUSI AI"
                                }
                              ]
                            }
                          ]
                        }
                      }
                   }
            } 
       ];

This way when a user shares the message with other, an extra message is sent with the original message, tempting the user to try a chat with SUSI A.I.:

Resources:

  1. By Seth Rosenberg from Facebook developers blogLink Ads to Messenger, Enhanced Mobile Websites, Payments and More.
  2. By Slobodan Stojanović from smashing magazineDevelop a chat bot with node js.
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How RSS Action Type is Implemented in SUSI Android

Important skills of SUSI.AI are to display web search queries, a map of any location and provide a list of relevant information of a topic. RSS action type is similar to websearch action type but when the web search is to be performed on the client side, it is denoted by websearch action type and when the web search is performed by the server itself, it is denoted by rss action type. In this blog, I will show you how rss action type is implemented in SUSI Android.

In case of RSS action type server searches the internet and using RSS feeds, returns an array of objects containing :

  • Title
  • Description
  • Link
{
  “title”: “dog-doh: Definitions Index”,
  “description”: “dog-doh: Definitions Index. dog dog and pony show dog biscuit dog collar dog days …”,
  “link”: “http://websters.yourdictionary.com/index/dog-doh/”,
}

title: Title related to user query

description: Description of user query.

link: If user want to know more information then user can use link to find more information.

How rss action type is parsed in SUSI Android

SUSI  reply in json format. It should be parsed properly to show it in android app. We used retrofit library developed by square to parse json data. Retrofit library parse data according to model class. We code model class according to expected json reply. For example, each susi response contains answer jsonarray. There are two jsonarray data and action inside answer jsonarray. We made a different model class for each jsonarray.

First model class is SusiResponse. We used this model class to parse ‘answers’ jsonarray.

@SerializedName(“answers”)
private List<Answer> answers = new ArrayList<>();

Here we used List<>  because ‘answers’ jsonarray contain a list of jsonarray and jsonobject. Answer is second model class. We used it to parse two important jsonarray ‘data’ and ‘action’. The ‘action’ attribute has information about action type.

public class Answer {
   @SerializedName(“data”)
   private RealmList<Datum> data = new RealmList<>();
}

Here also we used the list because data jsonarray also contains a list of jsonobject but instead of simple list we used RealmList<> because after parsing we save data using realm. ‘data’ jsonarray contain multiple jsonobject and each jsonobject contain three important information ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’.

Datum class is the main model class which is used to save and retrieve ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’. setTitle, setLink and setDescription method of Datum class are used to save ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’ and getTitle, getDescription and getLink method are use to retrieve ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’.

How rss action type data is retrieved and saved

As already mentioned we used retrofit to retrieve data and realm to save data. susiResponse is response we received from SUSI server. We used susiResponse to retrieve a list of Datum class type data.

List<Datum> datumList = susiResponse.getAnswers().get(0).getData();

We then loop through datumList and from each element we extract ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’ using getTitle(), getDescription() and getLink() method respectively. Datum class is model class for both retrofit and realm. realmDatum is instance of Datum class and datumRealmList is an instance of RealmList of Datum class type. After extracting data we save data using setTitle(), setDescription() and setLink().

for (Datum datum : datumList) {
          Datum realmDatum = bgRealm.createObject(Datum.class);
          realmDatum.setDescription(datum.getDescription());
          realmDatum.setLink(datum.getLink());
          realmDatum.setTitle(datum.getTitle());
         datumRealmList.add(realmDatum);
       }      

Layout design to show rss action type reply

There are three textview with id ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’ to show ‘title’, ‘description’ and ‘link’ retrieved from SUSI’s reply. We used recyclerview to show list of results.

Datum datum = datumList.get(position);

holder.titleTextView.setText(Html.fromHtml(datum.getTitle()));

holder.descriptionTextView.setText(Html.fromHtml(datum.getDescription()));

holder.descriptionTextView.setText(Html.fromHtml(datum.getDescription()));

Resources

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