Adding Custom Scrollbar to SUSI AI Web Chat

Scrollbar represents the depth of content on your current screen. It appears when the content has overflown the depth of screen and cannot fit it anymore. We see scrollbars everywhere. By default, the scrollbar provided by the browser is not very attractive but efficient in doing its job.

We decided that as our SUSI.AI Web App is improving in both UI and functionality, let’s add a custom scrollbar to it.

Earlier we had a standard  scrollbar in our SUSI.AI webchat:

For adding a custom scrollbar to our web chat we decided to use react-custom-scrollbars npm-package.

Our reasons to choose this package were:

  • Auto Hide feature in the scrollbar, after a specific period of time, which we can modify too.
  • No requirement for extra CSS styles to style our scrollbar.
  • It is well tested and trusted by many developers in open source

To install this npm package:

npm install -S react-custom-scrollbars 

Now comes the usage part, we need to import this into our JavaScript file:

 import { Scrollbars } from 'react-custom-scrollbars';

After importing, wrap it around the data where you want to show a custom scrollbar. In our case it was messageListItems, the code snippet looked like:


This made our scrollbar look much better than the default one:

Now to add Auto Hide functionality to our scrollbar we need to add some attributes to our <Scrollbars>  tag.

    1. autoHide: It allows the auto-hide feature to our scrollbar.
    2. autoHideTimeout: It allows us to set custom time of hiding delay of a scrollbar in milli-seconds.
    3. autoHideDuration: it allows us to set the duration of hiding animation in milliseconds.

After adding the above-mentioned attributes our code changes to:



A lot more of custom attributes can be found in the documentation of Malte Wessel here.

Testing Link:

Now we had a much better scrollbar for our web chat which can be tested here.

Continue ReadingAdding Custom Scrollbar to SUSI AI Web Chat

How SUSI AI Searches the Web For You

SUSI is now capable of performing web search to answer your queries. When SUSI doesn’t know how to answer your queries, it performs a web search on the client side and displays all the results as horizontally swipeable tiles with each tile giving a brief description and also providing a link to the relevant source.

Lets visit SUSI WebChat and try it out.

Query : Search for Google
Response : <Web Search Results>

How does SUSI know when to perform a websearch?

It uses action types to identify if a web search is to be performed or not. The API Response is parsed to check for the action types and if a websearch action type is present, then an API call is made using the duckduckgo api with the relevant query and the results are displayed as tiles with :

  • Category : The Topic related to the given query
  • Text : The result from the websearch
  • Image : Image related to the query if present
  • Link : A url redirecting to the relevant source

Parsing the actions :

Let us look at the API response for a query.

Sample Query: search for google

Response: <API Response>

"actions": [
    "type": "answer",
    "expression": "Here is a web search result:"
    "type": "websearch",
    "query": "google"

Note: The API Response has been trimmed to show only the relevant content

We find a websearch type action and the query to be searched as google . So we now make a API call using duckduckgo api to get our websearch results.

API Call Format :{query}&format=json

API Call for query google :

And from the duckduckgo API response we generate our websearch tiles showing relevant data using the fields present in each object.

This is the sample object from duckduckgo API response under the RelatedTopics , which we use to create our websearch result tiles.

  "Result": "<a href=\"https:\/\/\/Google\">Google<\/a> An American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and...",
  "Icon": {
    "URL": "https:\/\/\/i\/8f85c93f.png",
    "Height": "",
    "Width": ""
  "FirstURL": "https:\/\/\/Google",
  "Text": "Google An American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and..."

Let us look at the code for querying data from the API

if (actions.indexOf('websearch')>=0) {

  let actionIndex = actions.indexOf('websearch');
  let query = response.answers[0].actions[actionIndex].query;

    url: ''+query,
    dataType: 'jsonp',
    crossDomain: true,
    timeout: 3000,
    async: false,

    success: function (data) {
      receivedMessage.websearchresults = data.RelatedTopics;

        let abstractTile = {
        abstractTile.Text = data.AbstractText;
        abstractTile.FirstURL = data.AbstractURL;
        abstractTile.Icon.URL = data.Image;

    let message =  ChatMessageUtils.getSUSIMessageData(
receivedMessage, currentThreadID);

      type: ActionTypes.CREATE_SUSI_MESSAGE,

    error: function(errorThrown) {
      receivedMessage.text = 'Please check your internet connection';



Here, from the actions object, we get the query needed to search the web. We then make a ajax call using that query to the duckduckgo API. If the API call succeeds then we collect the required data to create tiles as array of objects and store it as websearchresults. and dispatch the message with the websearchresults which gets reflected in the message store and when passed to the components we use it to create the result tiles.

  <Paper zDepth={0} className='tile'>
    <a rel='noopener noreferrer'
    href={} target='_blank'
    {tile.icon &&
    (<Paper className='tile-img-container'>
      <img src={tile.icon}
      className='tile-img' alt=''/>
  <Paper className='tile-text'>
    <p className='tile-title'>

We then display the tiles as horizontally swipeable carousel ensuring a good and interactive UX.

React-Slick module was used to implement the horizontal swiping feature.

function renderTiles(tiles){

if(tiles.length === 0){
  let noResultFound = 'NO Results Found';

let resultTiles = drawTiles(tiles);

var settings = {
  speed: 500,
  slidesToShow: 3,
  slidesToScroll: 1,

    <Slider {...settings}>


Here we are handling the corner case when there are no results to display by rendering `NO Results found`. We then have our web search results displayed as swipeable tiles with a image, title, description and link to the source.

This is how SUSI performs web search to respond to user queries ensuring that no query goes unanswered! Don’t forget to swipe left and go through all the results displayed!


Continue ReadingHow SUSI AI Searches the Web For You

React Routes to Deploy 404 page on gh-pages and surge

Web applications need 404 page to handle broken urls. If we can have a productive 404 page we can keep users with our application. This is how we made 404 page to SUSI.AI web chat application.
React routes ?
We use react routes to navigate throughout the application.we have to define which page to go from each and every route. If user is trying to go to broken Link application should show 404 page.
In the SUSI Web Chat application we have setuped routes in index.js file which is on the root of the application.

<Router history={hashHistory}>
                <Route exact path="/" component={ChatApp} />
                <Route exact path="/signup" component={SignUp} />
                <Route exact path="/logout" component={Logout} />
                <Route exact path="/forgotpwd" component={ForgotPassword} />
                <Route exact path="*" component={NotFound} />


“<Route exact path=”*” component={NotFound} />”  This line defines the 404 page route . this should be defined after all other routes. Because application should first search for defined routes.If the requested route is not defined, Application should show the 404 route.
To use these JSX elements we have to import this dependency on top of the index.js

import {
    BrowserRouter as Router,
} from 'react-router-dom';


After you define like this It will work correctly on your localhost after you deployed it on gh-pages or surge it will not be work there as we wish.
When we try to access URL directly or when we try to access wrong URL it will redirect to default github 404 page.

After we built our application we get static index.html file and another set of files.when we try to access it will load index.html file. If we access another url it will automatically loads default github pages 404 page.
So we can do a little hack for use direct URLs like this .
We can add same copy of index.html file as 404.html then user tries to go to different URL instead of It loads our 404.html file since it contains all other routes it redirects to the correct route.if there is no matching route it shows our 404 page instead of default github pages 404 page.
Since all our deployment tasks are handle by we have to add this actions into file like this.

rm -rf node_modules/	 
mv ../build/* .
cp index.html 404.html   <--- this part


Then it will create 404.html file with the content of index.html file after each and every commit.
If you need to do the same thing on (we use surge for show previews of every PR ) we have to add a copy of index.html file as 200.html .
You can do this after you run the

npm run deploy


Just before giving the deployment URL you need to create a copy of index.html file on build folder and it should be renamed as 200.html and it will work as we wish. This is all for today.


  • Read More – Adding a 200 page for client-side routing :
Continue ReadingReact Routes to Deploy 404 page on gh-pages and surge

How SUSI AI Tabulates Answers For You

SUSI is an artificial intelligence chat bot that responds to all kinds of user queries. It isn’t any regular chat bot replying in just plain text. It supports various response types which we refer to as ‘actions’. One such action is the “table” type. When the response to a user query contains a list of answers which can be grouped, it is better visualised as a table rather than plain text.

Lets visit SUSI WebChat and try it out. In our example we ask SUSI for the 2009 race statistics of British Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton.

Query: race stats of hamilton in f1 season 2009

Response: <table> (API response)



How does SUSI do that? Let us look at the skill teaching SUSI to give table responses.

# Returns race stats as a table

race summary of  * in f1 season *|race stats of  * in f1 season *
     "columns":{"status":"Race Status","count":"Number Of Races"}

Here, we are telling SUSI that the data type is a table through type attribute in actions and also defining column names and under which column each value must be put using their respective keys. Using this information SUSI generates a response accordingly with the table schema and data points.

How do we know when to render a table?

We know it through the type attribute in the actions from the API response.

"actions": [{
  "type": "table",
  "columns": {
    "status": "Race Status",
    "count": "Number Of Races"
  "count": -1

We can see that the type is table so we now know that we have to render a table.

But what is the table schema? What do we fill it with?

There is a columns key under actions and from the value of the columns key we get a object whose key value pairs give us column names and what data to put under each column.

Here, we have two columns – Race Status and Number Of Races

And the data to put under each column is found in answers[0].data with same keys as those for each column name i.e ‘status’ and ‘count’.

Sample data object from the API response:

  "statusId": "2",
  "count": "1",
  "status": "Disqualified"

The value under ‘status’ key is ‘Disqualified’ and the column name for ‘status’ key is ‘Race Status’, so Disqualified is entered under Race Status column in the table. Similarly 1  is entered under Number Of Races column. We thus have a row of our table. We populate the table for each object in the data array using the same procedure.

let coloumns = data.answers[0].actions[index].columns;
let count = data.answers[0].actions[index].count;
let table = drawTable(coloumns,data.answers[0].data,count);

We also have a ’count’ attribute in the API response . This is used to denote how many rows to populate in the table. If count = -1 , then it means infinite or to display all the results.

function drawTable(coloumns,tableData,count){

let parseKeys;
let showColName = true;

if(coloumns.constructor === Array){
  parseKeys = coloumns;
  showColName = false;
  parseKeys = Object.keys(coloumns);

let tableheader =,i) =>{
return(<TableHeaderColumn key={i}>{coloumns[key]}</TableHeaderColumn>);

let rowCount = tableData.length;

if(count > -1){
  rowCount = Math.min(count,tableData.length);

let rows = [];

for (var j=0; j < rowCount; j++) {

  let eachrow = tableData[j];

  let rowcols =,i) =>{
        <TableRowColumn key={i}>
          <Linkify properties={{target:'_blank'}}>

      <TableRow key={j}>{rowcols}</TableRow>


const table =
    <Table selectable={false}>
      <TableHeader displaySelectAll={false} adjustForCheckbox={false}>
        { showColName && <TableRow>{tableheader}</TableRow>}
      <TableBody displayRowCheckbox={false}>{rows}</TableBody>

return table;


Here we first determine how many rows to populate using the count attribute and then parse the columns to get the column names and keys. We then loop through the data and populate each row.

This is how SUSI responds with tabulated data!

You can create your own table skill and SUSI will give the tabulated response you need. Check out this tutorial to know more about SUSI and the various other action types it supports.


Continue ReadingHow SUSI AI Tabulates Answers For You

Map Support for SUSI Webchat

SUSI chat client supports map tiles now for queries related to location. SUSI responds with an interactive internal map tile with the location pointed by a marker. It also provides you with a link to open street maps where you can get the whole view of the location using the zooming options provided and also gives the population count for that location.

Lets visit SUSI WebChat and try it out.

Query : Where is london
Response :


How do we know that a map tile is to be rendered?
The actions in the API response tell the client what to render. The client loops through the actions array and renders the response for each action accordingly.

"actions": [
    "type": "answer",
    "expression": "City of London is a place with a population of 7556900.             Here is a map:"
    "type": "anchor",
    "link":    "",
    "text": "Link to Openstreetmap: City of London"
    "type": "map",
    "latitude": "51.51279067225417",
    "longitude": "-0.09184009399817228",
    "zoom": "13"

Note: The API response has been trimmed to show only the relevant content.

The first action element is of type answer so the client renders the text response, ‘City of London is a place with a population of 7556900. Here is a map:

The second action element is of type anchor with the text to display and the link to hyperlink specified by the text and link attributes, so the client renders the text `Link to Openstreetmap: City of London`, hyperlinked to “”.

Finally, the third action element is of type map. Latitude, Longitude and zoom level information are also  specified using latitude, longitude and zoom attributes. The client renders a map using these attributes.

I used react-leafletmodule to render the interactive map tiles.

To integrate it into our project and set the required style for the map tiles, we need to load Leaflet’s CSS style sheet and we also need to include height and width for the map component. 

<link rel="stylesheet"  href="" />
.leaflet-container {
  height: 150px;
  width: 80%;
  margin: 0 auto;
case 'map': {

  let lat = parseFloat(data.answers[0].actions[index].latitude);
  let lng = parseFloat(data.answers[0].actions[index].longitude);
  let zoom = parseFloat(data.answers[0].actions[index].zoom);
  let mymap = drawMap(lat,lng,zoom);

    <li className='message-list-item' key={action+index}>
      <section className={messageContainerClasses}>
        <p className='message-time'>

import { divIcon } from 'leaflet';
import { Map, Marker, Popup, TileLayer } from 'react-leaflet';

// Draw a Map

function drawMap(lat,lng,zoom){

  let position = [lat, lng];

  const icon = divIcon({
    className: 'map-marker-icon',
    iconSize: [35, 35]

  const map = (
    <Map center={position} zoom={zoom}>
      <ExtendedMarker position={position} icon={icon}>
          <span><strong>Hello!</strong> <br/> I am here.</span>

return map;


Here, I used a custom marker icon because the default icon provided by leaflet had an issue and was not being rendered. I used divIcon from leaflet to create a custom map marker icon.

When the map tile is rendered, we see a Popup message at the marker. The extended marker class is used to keep the Popup open initially.

class ExtendedMarker extends Marker {
  componentDidMount() {

The function drawMap returns a Map tile component which is rendered and we have our interactive map!

Continue ReadingMap Support for SUSI Webchat

Hyperlinking Support for SUSI Webchat

SUSI responses can contain links or email ids. Whenever we want to access those links or send a mail to those email ids, it is very inconvenient for the user to manually copy the link and check out the contents, which is a very bad UX.

I used a module called ‘react-linkify’ to address this issue.
React-linkify’ is a React component to parse links (urls, emails, etc.) in text into clickable links.


<Linkify>{text to linkify}</Linkify>

Any link that appears inside the linkify component will be hyperlinked and is made clickable. It uses regular expressions and pattern matching to detect URLs and mail ids and are made clickable such that clicking on URLs opens the link in a new window and clicking a mail id opens “mailto:” .


export const parseAndReplace = (text) => {return <Linkify properties={{target:"_blank"}}>{text}</Linkify>;}

Lets visit SUSI WebChat and try it out.

Query: search internet

Response: Internet The global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite to…

The link has been parsed from the response text and has been successfully hyperlinked. Clicking the links opens the respective URL in a new window.

Continue ReadingHyperlinking Support for SUSI Webchat