33 Components

The states of a dialog flow are based on components that perform actions, such as accepting user input, verifying that input, or responding with text.

There are two types of components that you can use in a dialog flow – built-in components and custom components. When the Dialog Engine enters a state in the dialog flow, it assesses the component. When it encounters one of the built-in components, it executes one of the generic tasks, such as display a message or prompt the user to enter text. When the Dialog Engine discovers a custom component, it calls the component's service, which hosts one or more custom components.

Built-In Components

Digital Assistant provides a set of components that support a range of generic actions, which you can use in any skill: security, parsing the user input, routing the dialog flow based on that user input, and outputting the skill’s responses in various ways. Unless you need to integrate with backends or perform extremely complex logic, these components will provide the actions that your states need.

The way you access components depends on whether you are designing the dialog flow with the Visual Flow Designer or in YAML mode:

  • If you are using the Visual Flow Designer, you add the first state for a built-in component to a flow by hovering over its Start tile, clicking the menu the Add State menu icon, selecting Add start state, and then selecting a component template from the Add State dialog. You can add subsequent states by selecting Add state from a state's menu or by clicking the Add a state to this transition icon between two states. See Designing Flows.
  • If you are designing your skill in YAML mode, you add a state for a built-in component to your dialog flow by selecting + Components and then selecting a component template from the menu.

When you validate your dialog flow, Digital Assistant verifies the component's properties. For example, it will report if you forgot to include a required property.

For details on the component templates available in the Visual Flow Designer, see Component Templates

For details on components available in YAML mode, see Built-In Components: Properties, Transitions, and Usage.

Custom Components

Most skills need to integrate with data from remote systems or do some backend processing. For example, your skill might need to get a list of products or save order information. Another example is that your skill might need to perform complex logic that you can't accomplish using FreeMarker or an entity event handler. Custom components enable you to integrate with backends as well as perform tasks that aren't covered by the built-in components.

To learn how to build a custom component, see Task 1: Implement Custom Components. To learn how to add custom components for use in your skill, see Task 3: Add Component Package to a Skill. To learn about a custom component that's been added to the skill, go to the skill's Components Components icon page, expand the component service and select the component. The component's name, properties and supported actions are displayed. Use this information to build the component's state in your dialog flow.

Tip:

Because it's possible for components from different services to have the same name, you can prepend the component name with the service name followed by a colon (:) to ensure that you uniquely reference each custom component that you use.

Here's an example of a custom component state in a dialog flow that is developed in YAML mode. The hello.world component is from the custom service.

  start:
    component: "custom:helloWorld"
    properties:
      human: "${human.value}"
    transitions:
      next: "askAge"

When you use the embedded component service to host your custom components, you can access view logs and crash reports for the components from the Components Components icon page. Select the service, and then click Diagnostics.

Other Properties Available to Custom Components

When developing dialog flows in YAML mode, you can include these properties in the custom component's state in addition to the component's defined properties.

Name Description Required?
autoNumberPostbackActions When set to true, this option prefixes numbers to buttons and list options. Even when you haven’t set this option to true, auto-numbering can be enforced on card items when the digital assistant’s Enable Auto Numbering on Postback Actions configuration is set to true. The default is false. No
insightsEndConversation Set to true to stop recording the conversation for insights reporting. The default is false. No
insightsInclude Specifies whether to include the state in insights reporting. The default is true. No
translate Use this property to override the Boolean value that you’ve set for the autotranslate context variable. If you haven’t set the autotranslate variable, or if you set it to false, then you can set this property to true to enable autotranslation for this component only. If you set the autotranslation variable to true, then you can set this property to false to exclude this component from autotranslation. See Translation Services in Skills. The default is the autotranslate context variable value. No

These properties are not available for states in dialog flows that you develop with the Visual Flow Designer.