Displaying skill rating for each skill on skill page of SUSI SKILL CMS

SUSI exhibits several skills which are managed by the SUSI Skill CMS, it essentially is a client which allows users to create/update skills conveniently since for each skill it is important to have the functionality of rating system so developers can get to know which skills are performing better than the rest and consequently improve them, thus a skill rating system which allows the users to give positive or negative feedback for each skill is implemented on the server.

Fetching skill_rating from the server

  1. Fetch skill data for which ratings are to be displayed through ajax calls
    API Endpoint –


  2. Parse the received metadata object to get positive and negative ratings for that skill
  3. if(skillData.skill_rating) {
           	let positive_rating = skillData.skill_rating.positive;
            	let negative_rating = skillData.skill_rating.negative;

    Sample API response

      "skill_metadata": {
        "model": "general",
        "group": "Knowledge",
        "language": "en",
        "developer_privacy_policy": null,
        "descriptions": "Want to know about fossasia, just ask susi to tell that, Susi tells about the SUSI.AI creators",
        "image": "images/creator_info.png",
        "author": "madhav rathi",
        "author_url": "https://github.com/madhavrathi",
        "author_email": null,
        "skill_name": "Creator Info",
        "terms_of_use": null,
        "dynamic_content": false,
        "examples": [
          "Who created you?",
          "what is fossasia?"
        "skill_rating": {
          "negative": "0",
          "positive": "0",
          "stars": {
            "one_star": 0,
            "four_star": 0,
            "five_star": 0,
            "total_star": 0,
            "three_star": 0,
            "avg_star": 0,
            "two_star": 0
          "feedback_count": 0
        "creationTime": "2018-03-17T16:38:29Z",
        "lastAccessTime": "2018-06-15T15:51:50Z",
        "lastModifiedTime": "2018-03-17T16:38:29Z"
      "accepted": true,
      "message": "Success: Fetched Skill's Metadata",
      "session": {"identity": {
        "type": "host",
        "name": "",
        "anonymous": true

  4. Set the react state of the component to store positive and negative rating.
  5. this.setState({

  6. Use react-icons to fetch like and dislike icon components from font-awesome.
  7. npm i -S react-icons

  8. Import the corresponding icons in the SkillPage component
  9. import { FaThumbsOUp, FaThumbsODown } from 'react-icons/lib/fa/'

  10. Display the rating count along with their icons
  11. <div className="rating">
        <div className="positive">
             <FaThumbsOUp />
           <div className="negative">
                 <FaThumbsODown />



Adding “All” in Skill Categories

The SUSI SKill CMS has various filters to explore the skills of interest.  For example skill category and skill language. The skills are stored in the susi_skill_data Github repo in the following structure:


NOTE: group and category are same terms and can be used interchangeably

So when a category filter is applied the skills from the corresponding directory are returned.


But there’s no directory called “All”,  so how to get skills of all groups? For this, we need to loop through all the directories present in the model.

Server side implementation

Create a helper function that returns a list of all the folders present in a directory. The function accepts the parent directory name and an empty list. First, fetch all the items (files and folders) present in that directory and store them in an array. Then apply a filter over the array to check if the element is a directory and doesn’t start with a dot(.) i.e., it’s not hidden. Add the filtered array to the list.

private void listFoldersForFolder(final File folder, ArrayList<String> fileList) {
    File[] filesInFolder = folder.listFiles();
    if (filesInFolder != null) {
                .filter(fileEntry -> fileEntry.isDirectory() && !fileEntry.getName().startsWith("."))
                .forEach(fileEntry -> fileList.add(fileEntry.getName() + ""));

Fetch the group name form the request and add a check if the CMS is asking for all skill. Otherwise, return the skills of a particular group only.

String group_name = call.get("group", "Knowledge");
if (group_name.equals("All")) {
  // Return the list of all skills
} else {
  // Return the list of a skills in a particular group only

To fetch the list of all skills, call the listFoldersForFolders() function with the model name and an empty list as arguments. The function adds all the directories, present in that model directory, to folderList.

File allGroup = new File(String.valueOf(model));
ArrayList<String> folderList = new ArrayList<String>();
listFoldersForFolder(allGroup, folderList);

Then loop over all the groups present in the list to get all the skills present in that group. This process is the same as the existing process of getting skills of a particular category. Just keep adding the skill list to a global array.

CMS side implementation

The list of categories is first fetched from the API and then added to the dropdown menu. Since the API doesn’t return “All” in it, so we need to push it to the list manually.

                primaryText="All" />);


Initial Setups for Connecting SUSI Smart Speaker with iPhone/iPad

You may have experienced Apple HomPad, Google Home, Alexa etc or read about smart speakers that offer interactive action over voice commands. The smart speaker uses the hot word for activation. They utilize Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless protocols.

SUSI.AI is also coming with Open Source smart speaker that can do various actions like playing music etc over voice commands. To use SUSI Smart Speaker, you have to connect it to the SUSI iOS or Android App. You can manage your connected devices in SUSI iOS, Android and Web clients. Here we will see initial setups for connecting SUSI Smart Speaker with iPhone/iPad (iOS Devices).

You may aware that iOS does not allow connecting to wifi within the app. To connect to a particular Wi-Fi, you have to go to phone settings, from there you can connect to Wi-Fi. SUSI Smart Speaker create a temporary Hotspot for initial setups. Follow the instruction below to connect to SUSI Smart Speaker hotspot –

  1. Tap to Home button, and go to your iPhone Settings > Wi-Fi
  2. Connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot for the device that you are setting up. It will have name “susi.ai”, like in the image below
  3. Come back to the SUSI app to proceed with setup.

These instruction is also available within the app when you are not connected to SUSI Smart Speaker hotspot and click `Setup a Device` or plus icon on Device Activity screen navigation bar.

Devices Activity and getting current Wi-Fi SSID:

Devices section in Settings screen shows the currently connected device. In Devices Activity screen, the user can manage the connected device. Only a logged-in user can access Devices Activity. When the user clicks on Device Accessories in setting, if the user is not logged-in, an alert is prompted with Login option. By clicking Login option, user directed to Login screen where the user can log in and come back to device section to proceed further.

If the user is already logged-in, Device Activity screen is presented. We use following method to scan if iPhone/iPad is connected to SUSI Smart Speaker:

func fetchSSIDInfo() -> String? {
var ssid: String?
if let interfaces = CNCopySupportedInterfaces() as? [String] {
for interface in interfaces {
if let interfaceInfo = CNCopyCurrentNetworkInfo(interface as CFString) as NSDictionary? {
ssid = interfaceInfo[kCNNetworkInfoKeySSID as String] as? String
return ssid

Apple’s SystemConfiguration API is used to get current Wi-Fi SSID. SystemConfiguration Allow applications to access a device’s network configuration settings. Determine the reachability of the device, such as whether Wi-Fi or cell connectivity is active.

import SystemConfiguration.CaptiveNetwork

The method above return the SSID of your device current Wi-Fi. SSID is simply the technical term for a network name. When you set up a wireless home network, you give it a name to distinguish it from other networks in your neighborhood. You’ll see this name when you connect your device to your wireless network.

If current Wi-Fi match with SUSI Smart Speaker hotspot, we display device in TableView, if not we display “No device connected yet”.

if let speakerSSID = fetchSSIDInfo(), speakerSSID == "susi.ai" {
cell.accessoryType = .disclosureIndicator
cell.textLabel?.text = speakerSSID
} else {
cell.accessoryType = .none
cell.textLabel?.text = "No device connected yet"

SUSI Smart Speaker is coming with very exciting features. Stay tuned.

Resources –

  1. SUSI iOS Link: https://github.com/fossasia/susi_iOS
  2. Apple’s SystemConfiguration Framework Documentation
  3. Bell’s article on What Do SSID and WPA2 mean

Checking and removing SUSI Username Mentions in SUSI Slackbot

The SUSI Slackbot is a custom integration bot in slack. It responds to the user’s queries in the slack channels. It makes use of Slack Real Time Messaging APIs. In the background, it takes result from SUSI Server and also have some more added features. When the user mentions susi bot in the slack channels (eg. @asksusi), we know that the message is intended for susi. So now we need to remove the susi mention part, extract the rest of the message and send it to susi server. This blog explains how the messages are received from slack real time messaging API and how to remove the SUSI username mention.

Storing the bot’s self id

Before we can detect the susi username mention, we need to actually know the self id of the bot, which is a unique id assigned by the slack to the bot. Later, we use this id to detect the mention of susi.

var Slack = require('@slack/client');
var RtmClient = Slack.RtmClient;

var appData={};
rtm.on(CLIENT_EVENTS.RTM.AUTHENTICATED, (connectData) => {
    // Cache the data necessary for this app in memory
    appData.selfId = connectData.self.id;

Receiving message and processing it

We will be receiving message from RTM API. The code for receiving the message is:

var Slack = require('@slack/client');
var RtmClient = Slack.RtmClient;

rtm.on(RTM_EVENTS.MESSAGE, function(message) {
var channel = message.channel;
var text=message.text;
//send reply only when mentioned or in direct message
if(text && message.user!==appData.selfId && (text.indexOf(appData.selfId)!==-1 || channel.startsWith('D'))){
    var susiMention='<@'+appData.selfId+'>';

The function passed as a callback executes only when we receive a new message. This message could be either a DM (Direct Message) or in a channel. We need to reply when the message mentions susi username or it is a DM. In the above code, we are checking if the message received is not from the bot itself, and is either from a DM or mentions susi username.
Here is a breakdown of the message object we receive in the function:

{ type: 'message',
  channel: 'C9CLRN4M7',
  user: 'U9D7JU15Y',
  text: '<@U9H78R274> hello!',
  ts: '1526413229.000321'}


  • Type: This tells the type of the message.
  • Channel: It contains the channel id of the slack channel where the message has been posted.
  • User: It contains the user id of the author.
  • Text: It contains the full text of the message, including mentions. We need to extract the mention part (<@U9H78R274>) and remove it.
  • Ts: ts is the unique (per-channel) timestamp.

Note: In case of DMs, the channel id will start with a “D”. In case of common channels, the channel id will start with “C”. That is how we can differentiate between a direct message and a message in a channel.

Thus we first store the bot’s self id. Then, upon receiving a message we check if the message is not from the bot itself, is a Direct Message or if it is from a channel, its mentions susi. Then only the susi bot replies to the message.




Post feedback for SUSI Skills in SUSI iOS

SUSI iOS, web and Android clients allow the user to rate the SUSI Skills in a 5-star rating system. Users can write about how much particular skill is helpful for them or if improvements are needed. Users can rate skills from one to five star as well. Here we will see how to submit feedback for SUSI skills and how it is implemented on SUSI iOS.

How to submit feedback –

  1. Go to Skill Listing Screen < Skill Detail Screen
  2. Scroll to the feedback section
  3. Write feedback about SUSI skill
  4. Click on POST button to post the skill feedback

An anonymous user can not submit skill feedback. You must have to logged-in in order to post skill feedback. If you are not logged-in and click POST button to post skill feedback, an alert is presented with Login option, by clicking Login, the user is directed to Login screen where the user can log in and later can post skill feedback.

Implementation of posting skill feedback –

Google’s Material textfield is used for skill feedback text field. We have assigned TextField class from Material target to skill feedback text field to make it very interactive and give better user experience.

Skill feedback text field in the normal state –

Skill feedback text field in the active state –

When the user clicks POST after writing skill feedback, we check if the user is logged-in or not.

if let delegate = UIApplication.shared.delegate as? AppDelegate, let user = delegate.currentUser {

We have saved the logged-in user globally using AppDelegate shared method during login and using it here. The AppDelegate is sort of like the entry point for the application. It implements UIApplicationDelegate and contains methods that are called when application launches, when is going to the background (i.e. when the user hit the home key), when it’s opened back up, and more. The AppDelegate object is stored as a property on the UIApplication class and is accessible from anywhere in swift classes.

Case 1: If the user is not logged-in, we show a popup to the user with the login option

By clicking Login, the user is directed to Login screen where the user can log in and later can post skill feedback.

Case 2: If the user is already logged-in, we use the endpoint below for posting skill feedback –


ModelWith following parameters –

  • Group
  • Skill
  • Feedback
  • Access token
Client.sharedInstance.postSkillFeedback(postFeedbackParam) { (feedback, success, responseMessage) in
DispatchQueue.main.async {
if success {
self.skillFeedbackTextField.text = ""
} else {

In return response, we get feedback posted by the user –

feedback: "Helpful",
accepted: true,
message: "Skill feedback updated"


Resources –

  1. Material Design Guidelines for iOS
  2. Apple’s documentation on UIApplicationDelegate API
  3. Apple’s documentation on UIApplication API
  4. ChrisRisner’s article on Singletons and AppDelegate

Using a Git repo as a Storage & Managing skills through susi_skill_cms

In this post, I’ll be talking about SUSI’s skill management and the workflow of creating new skills

The SUSI skills are maintained in a separate github repository susi_skill_data which provides the features of version controlling and the ability to rollback to a previous version implemented in SUSI Server.

The workflow is as explained in the featured image of this blog, SUSI CMS provides the user with a GUI through which user can talk to the SUSI Server and using it’s api calls, it can manipulate the susi skills present/stored on the susi_skill_data repository.

When the user opts to create a new skill, a new createSkill component is loaded with an editor to define rules of the skill. Once the form is submitted, an AJAX POST request is made to the server which actually commits the skill data to the repository and thus it is visible in the CMS from that point on.

Grab the skill details within the editor and put them in a form which is to be sent via the POST request.

let form = new FormData();
form.append('model', 'general');
form.append('group', this.state.groupValue);
form.append('language', this.state.languageValue);
form.append('skill', this.state.expertValue.trim().replace(/\s/g,'_'));
form.append('image', this.state.file);
form.append('content', this.state.code);
form.append('image_name', this.state.imageUrl.replace('images/',''));
form.append('access_token', cookies.get('loggedIn'));

Configure POST request settings object

let settings = {
   'async': true,
   'crossDomain': true,
   'url': urls.API_URL + '/cms/createSkill.json',
   'method': 'POST',
   'processData': false,
   'contentType': false,
   'mimeType': 'multipart/form-data',
   'data': form

Make an AJAX request using the settings above to upload the skill to the server and send a notification when the request is successful.

   .done(function (response) {
    message: 'Accepted',
    description: 'Your Skill has been uploaded to the server',
    icon: <Icon type='check-circle' style={{ color: '#00C853' }}       />,

Parse the received response as JSON and if the accept key in the response is true, we push the new skill data to the history API and set relevant states.

let data = JSON.parse(response);
	pathname: '/' + self.state.groupValue  +
  	'/' + self.state.expertValue.trim().replace(/\s/g,'_') +
  	'/' + self.state.languageValue,
	state: {
  	from_upload: true,
  	expertValue:  self.state.expertValue,
  	groupValue: self.state.groupValue ,
  	languageValue: self.state.languageValue,

If the accepted key of the server response is not true, display a notification.

	  	message: 'Error Processing your Request',
	  	description: String(data.message),
	  	icon: <Icon type='close-circle' style={{ color: '#f44336' }} />,

Handle cases when AJAX request fails and send a corresponding notification

.fail(function (jqXHR, textStatus) {
    message: 'Error Processing your Request',
    description: String(textStatus),
    icon: <Icon type='close-circle' style={{ color: '#f44336' }} />,

I hope after reading this post, the objectives of susi_skill_data are more clear and you understood how CMS handles the creation of skills.


1.AJAX Jquery – AJAX request using Jquery
2. React State – Read about React states and lifecycle hooks.

Chrome Custom Tabs Integration – SUSI.AI Android App

Earlier, we have seen the apps having external links that opens and navigates the user to the phone browser when clicked, then we came up with something called WebView for Android, but nowadays we have shifted to something called In-App browsers. The main drawback of the system/ phone browsers are they caused heavy transition. To overcome this drawback “Chrome Custom Tabs” were invented which allowed users to walk through the web content seamlessly.

SUSI.AI Android App earlier used the system browser to open any link present in the app.

This can be implemented easily by

Intent browserIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, Uri.parse(url));

This lead to a huge transition between the context of the app and the web browser.

Then, to reduce all the clutter Chrome Custom tabs by Google was evolved which drastically increased the loading speed and the heavy context switch was also not taking place due to the integration and adaptability of custom tabs within the app.

Chrome custom tabs also are very secured like Chrome Browser and uses the same feature and give developers a more control on the custom actions, user interface within the app.

                                comparing the load time of the above mentioned techniques

Ref : Android Dev – Chrome Custom Tabs

Integration of Chrome Custom Tabs

  • Adding the dependency in build.gradle(app-level) in the project
dependencies {
    //Other dependencies 
    compile 'com.android.support:customtabs:23.4.0'
  • Now instantiating a CustomTabsIntent Builder

    String url = “https://www.fossasia.org” // can be any link
    CustomTabsIntent.Builder builder = new CustomTabsIntent.Builder(); //custom tabs intent builder
    CustomTabsIntent customTabsIntent = builder.build();
  • We can also add animation or customize the color of the toolbar or add action buttons.

    builder.setColor(Color.RED) //for setting the color of the toolbar 
    builder.setStartAnimations(this, R.anim.slide_in_right, R.anim.slide_out_left); //for start animation
    builder.setExitAnimations(this, R.anim.slide_in_left, R.anim.slide_out_right); //for exit animation
  • Finally, we have have achieved everything with a little code. Final launch the web page

    Uri webpage = Uri.parse(url); //We have to pass an URI
    customTabsIntent.launchUrl(context, webpage); //launching through custom tabs

Benefits of Chrome Custom Tabs

  1. UI Customization are easily available and can be implemented with very few lines of code. 
  2. Faster page loading and in-app access of the external link 
  3. Animations for start/exit  
  4. Has security and uses the same permission model as in chrome browser.


  1. Chrome Custom Tabs:  https://developer.chrome.com/multidevice/android/customtabs
  2. Chrome Custom Tabs Github Repo: GitHub – GoogleChrome/custom-tabs-client: Chrome custom tabs
  3. Android Blog: Android Developers Blog: Chrome custom tabs smooth the transition
  4. Video: Chrome Custom Tabs: Displaying 3rd party content in your Android


Adding typing animation and messages in SUSI Web bot plugin

SUSI web plugin bot provides the features of SUSI as a chat window which users can plugin to their websites. They just need to copy the generated javascript code into their website and the SUSI bot plugin will be enabled. This blog explains about the process of creating messages from both the user side and the bot side, and adding typing animation in the SUSI web chat plugin. A live demo of the bot can be found at susi-chatbotplugin-demo.surge.sh.

Creating User’s message

The main javascript file of our concern is skills.susi.ai/public/susi-chatbot.js. When the user types their message and press enter, setUserResponse() function is executed:

This function adds a message box to the chat window. The message box contains the message of the user.

Adding typing animation

After the user types the message and the message box is displayed, setUserResponse() function is executed. This function sets up a message box from the bot’s side and fills it with a loading gif. The important thing to note is msgNumber variable. For each user message, this variable is incremented by one. So it keeps count of the total number of message from the user or the bot. Each message box from the bot is assigned a unique id: “susiMsg-<msgNumber>”. Thus, when the response from the SUSI server is received, the loading gif is replaced by the message from the server. The corresponding message box is identified by the above id.

This function adds a message box to the chat window containing the loading gif.

On receiving the response from the server, the following function is executed:

function setBotResponse(val,msgNumber) {
    val = val.replace(new RegExp('\r?\n','g'), '<br />');
    $("#susiMsg-"+msgNumber+" .susi-msg-content-div").text(val);


This function replaces the above loading gif with the server’s response.

Final result:


Deploying SUSI Zulip bot

Zulip is a popular Real time messaging system, which combines the immediacy of Slack with an email threading model. The SUSI Zulipbot is a custom chatbot for zulip platform which fetches the response from the SUSI Server and will have some additional zulip platform specific features too. Users can install the bot into their zulip workspaces and then interact with the bot. They can either talk to the bot in private message or talk in group channels. This blog walks through the process of deploying SUSI Zulip bot into your workspace.

Cloning python-zulip-api

Python-zulip-api is where all the bots being developed for the Zulip platform can be found. The SUSI bot can be found in zulip_bots/bots/susi. susi.py is the main file where the bot’s code resides. test_susi.py is the file where the test cases for the bot are written. To clone and run the bot locally, make sure you have python3, pip and virtualenv installed. Then follow the below steps:

  1. git clone https://github.com/zulip/python-zulip-api.git  – clone the python-zulip-api repository.
  2. cd python-zulip-api  – navigate into your cloned repository.
  3. python3 ./tools/provision  – install all requirements in a Python virtualenv.
  4. The output of provision  will end with a command of the form source …/activate; run that command to enter the new virtualenv.
  5. Finished. You should now see the name of your venv preceding your prompt, e.g. (zulip-api-py3-venv)

For more information about installing the repository, refer https://zulipchat.com/api/writing-bots

Testing the bot’s output locally

For quick testing of your bot’s output, zulip-terminal is a very useful tool. It provides you a testing environment inside your terminal. After installing the above requirements, run  zulip-terminal susi in your terminal to enable testing the bot’s output:

Enter your message: hi
Reply from the bot is printed between the dotted lines:
Enter your message: tell me a joke
Reply from the bot is printed between the dotted lines:
It is said that looking into Chuck Norris’ eyes will reveal your future. Unfortunately, everybody’s future is always the same: death by a roundhouse-kick to the face.
Enter your message: who created you?
Reply from the bot is printed between the dotted lines:
The FOSSASIA community created me
Enter your message: ^C
Ok, if you’re happy with your terminal-based testing, try it out with a Zulip server.
You can refer to https://zulipchat.com/api/running-bots#running-a-bot.

Deploying the bot in a Zulip workspace

Now you can deploy the bot in your own workspace or even in chat.zulip.org workspace. Follow these steps:

  1. After logging to your workspace, go to Settings () -> Your bots -> Add a new bot. Select Generic bot for bot type, fill out the form and click on Create bot.
  2. A new bot user should appear in the Active bots panel.
  3. Download the bot’s zuliprc configuration file to your computer.
  4. Run  zulip-run-bot susi –config-file ~/zuliprc-my-bot (using the path to the zuliprc file from above step).
  5. Congrats! Your bot should be running. Talk to your bot with mentioning @susi in a group channel or directly in a private channel.