11 Components

Components give your bot the functionality that lets it interact with users and carry out their requests.

Each state within your flow calls a component to perform actions that can range from basic interactions like taking user input and outputting response text to some service-specific action like fulfilling an order or booking a flight. We provide a set of built-in components that support basic actions like setting variables, allowing OAuth, and enabling user input. If your bot calls for a specific action that’s outside of these functions, you’ll need to use a custom component. These components let your bot call REST APIs that implement business logic and channel-specific rendering.

The Custom Component Service

Configuring a custom component service makes custom components available to your bot’s dialog flow.

A custom component service defines name of the custom component service implementation that provides the bot with its custom components. This configuration also includes that URL that invokes this service and the basic authentication settings that allow the bot to access the service itself. Each bot can have one or more of these custom component services configured for it. By configuring a custom component service, you allow Intelligent Bots to query the service for its metadata and display this information in the custom components registry.


Every custom component that you’ve declared in your OBotML definition needs a corresponding custom component service configuration. In other words, your bot can’t work without this configuration, which allows Intelligent Bots to call the custom code service implementation that defines the components. Refer to the components page (This is an image of the Components icon.) when you define the dialog to ensure the component names and properties are correct.

This is an image of the custom components registry.

Create a Service

The Custom Component Service authenticates the bot with the service using basic auth. You can implement this on your authentication mechanism, or if you use the node.js SDK, your bot can authenticate through a mobile backend. To create this service:
  1. In the left navbar, click Components (This is an image of the Components icon.).
  2. Click Add Service to open the Create Service dialog.
    This is the Create Service dialog.
  3. Add the name for the custom component service and an optional description.
  4. Choose an authentication option:
    • Mobile Cloud—For authentication handled by a backend in AMCe.

      This is the default setting. To complete the dialog, you need to reference the Settings page for the backend that hosts the API that implements the Custom Component Service. Backend Authentication and Connection Info in Developing Applications with Oracle Autonomous Mobile Cloud Enterprise describes this page.
      This is an image of the mobile backend Settings page.

      Option Description
      Backend ID The unique identifier assigned to a mobile backend. This ID is passed in the REST header of every call made from the bot.
      MetadataURL The URL that points to the endpoint of the components service. This URL points to the root, which means it should always be appended with /components.
      Use Anonymous Access Select this option if the component service allows anonymous login. If you choose this option, enter the Anonymous Key, a unique string that allows your app to access anonymous APIs without sending an encoded username and password combination. The Anonymous Access Key is passed to instead.

      Tip: Click Show to reveal the Anonymous Key in the Settings page.

      If the component service requires a login (meaning no anonymous access), enter the username and password.

    • Other—For non-backend authentication. For this option, define the following options:
      Option Description
      Metadata URL The URL that points to the endpoint of the components service. This URL points to the root, which means it should always be appended with /components.
      Username The username for the service.
      Password The service’s password.
  5. If the service requires specific parameters, click Add HTTP Header and then define the key-value pairs for the headers.
  6. Click Create.
    The Components page is populated with the component name and properties, which you can then reference in the dialog flow definition. Remember: unlike the built-in components, custom components do not begin with System. For example:
        component: "AgeChecker"
          minAge: 18
            allow: "crust"
            block: "underage"

How Do Custom Components Work?

Your bot uses custom components when it needs to return data, execute some kind of business logic, or render channel-specific UI components like the carousel in Facebook Messenger.

Like the built-in components, the custom components are re-usable units of work that you define within each state node of your dialog flow. But unlike the built-in components, custom components perform actions that are specific to your bot. They execute functions that the system components can’t. While the FinancialBot uses system components for generic tasks like setting variables and outputting text, it uses custom components for the operations that are unique to banking transactions, such as returning account balances (BalanceRetrieval in the following state node, printBalance).
    component: "BalanceRetrieval"
      accountType: "${accountType.value}"
      return: "printBalance"

Custom components don’t reside within Intelligent Bots. Their functionality is provided through backend services that are accessed through calls made to, and returned from, a REST service called the Component Service. As the Dialog Engine enters a state in the dialog flow, it assesses the component. When it encounters one of the built-in components (noted by System.), it executes one of the generic tasks described in Built-In Components: Properties, Transitions, and Usage. When the Dialog Engine discovers a custom component, however, it calls the Component Service, which hosts one or more custom components.

The Component Service is like a shim. It first finds and then invokes the custom component on behalf of the Dialog Engine. When a custom component is invoked, it can pass input parameters to a backend service and return the result. The Dialog Engine then resumes, moving on to the next sate in the dialog flow (or to the state dictated by the action described in the returned JSON payload).

The Component Service assists the bot through two methods: GET and POST. The GET method returns the metadata for all of the components hosted by the Component Service. This is a design time call, one that returns the names of the components along with their properties and actions that you include in your dialog flow definition. At runtime, the POST method invokes the component named in the state definition.

The JSON payload of the call made by the Dialog Engine includes input parameters, variable values, user-level context, and the user’s message text. When the component gets this input from the Component Service, it mutates the variable values, and then returns the call. The Dialog Engine parses the returned payload and proceeds.

The Component Service

The Component Service is hosted in its own Node container.

As pictured here, the Node container can be part of AMCe, but it can be part of any other REST infrastructure. If you opt for AMCe as the container for your custom components, you can integrate them with remote services using various connectors. Because they are implemented as custom code APIs, they can access the AMCe platform APIs through the AMCe SDK. There’s another advantage to implementing the Component Service in AMCe: you can get it up and running with minimal coding using the Intelligent Bots SDK because it provides you with a starter application that gives you everything you need. To find out about the artifacts included in the SDK, see How Do I Implement the Component Service in AMCe?.


You can still integrate them with remote services if you use another Node container, but keep in mind that direct REST calls can give rise to additional concerns and tasks. With no backend to manage the connection, for example, you’ll need to update the code whenever the connection changes.
The Shell

The Shell routes the GET and POST requests. It produces a list of components in response to the GET call made by Intelligent Bots when you register a Component Service. The Shell also invokes the component using the component name that’s appended to the POST call (POST uri/components/{ComponentName}). To respond to these requests, the Shell component references a file in the Registry component that maps the component names to their corresponding JavaScript implementation files.

The Registry

The Registry component maps each component to its implementation.

Within the Registry.js file, a JSON object definition surfaces the components to the Shell. Each component is described by a name-value pair in which the name is the name of the component (like ‘Balance Retrieval’ in the following import statement) and the value is a return function with a reference to the JavaScript module location relative to the Registry.js file (./). In this snippet, the three components, BalanceRetrieval, TrackSpending, and Payments are custom components, each of which map to a separate JavaScript module. The require function includes these separate modules in the Registry.js file.
'use strict';

module.exports = {





Declare strict mode (‘use strict’) at the beginning of the Registry.js file to safeguard against the inadvertent creation of global variables from erroneous user input. The strict mode improves error checking by throwing exceptions for errors that would otherwise occur silently, like values set on a read-only property.
Because the Shell.js component assumes that it shares the same file location as the Registry.js , the Shell.js file uses the following import statement:
var registry = require('./registry'); 
Remember that you don’t need to edit the Shell.js file. You just need to make sure that it’s in the same directory with the Registry.js module (and if you’re using AMCe, the SDK.js module as well).
Component Modules

Each component is written as JavaScript module. If you’re writing one of these modules, then you need to include two functions that mirror the GET and POST calls in the Component Service REST contract: metadata and invoke. You also need to conclude the module with the callback function,done.

The metadata function provides the component descriptions that you use when you define your dialog flow. It includes a name (which must be unique), and the names and types of the input parameters that it expects. It also includes the actions supported by the component. For example:
metadata: () => ({
    "name": "helloWorld",
    "properties": {
      "properties": {
        "name": {
          "type": "string",
          "required": false"
    "supportedActions": ["nameFound", "nameNotFound"]
The invoke function executes the REST call. It includes two arguments: conversation, which is a reference to the SDK and done, a callback invoked by the component when it has finished processing. The done function tells the Shell to create the component’s response payload and send it back to the bot.


Always include the done() callback at the end of each component. The component can’t send its response without it and as a result, the bot will time out.
module.exports = {
    metadata: () => (
        "name": "BalanceRetrieval",                   },
        "properties": {
                "accountType": { "type": "string", "required": true }
            "supportedActions": []

invoke: (conversation, done) => {
      var accountType = conversation.properties().accountType;

      var accounts = AccountService.account(accountType);



Along with the component name and properties that get returned during design time by the invoke function, this code sample shows how the invoke function uses one of the SDK’s helper methods (conversation.properties) to retrieve the value of the accountType from the payload of the POST request. With the value retrieved, the custom code can use it to call connectors or other APIs running in AMCe.


If you implement the Component Service with AMCe, you can also leverage the SDK, whose helper methods enable the components to access the context of a bot’s request messages, which can be comprised of elements that describe the variable values, the language processing results, the extracted entities, and any input parameters that have been defined for the component. The SDK also enables the components to return a response to the bot.

The Shell passes the SDK to the custom components with each call to the invoke function. To access the SDK’s methods, the invoke function uses an argument called conversation, which is automatically passed with each request along with the essential done () callback that signals the Shell when the component has completed its work.
invoke: (conversation, done) => {

    var listdata = 
        "item1, item2, item3";

    conversation.variable("listDataVar", listdata);

The Message Model
The Message Model is a utility class that creates and validates the message structure. An instance of this class is instantiated with the payload that represents the message so that the message can be parsed and validated.


Version 1.1 of the Intelligent Bots SDK lets you leverage the Conversation Message Model (the CMM), a framework that defines various platform-agnostic templates for the messages sent between the bot and its users. Not only does the CMM allow your bot to output messages as loops of cards that have actions configured for both the images and buttons that display within each of them, it also gives your bot other capabilities as well, such displaying context- specific messages and allowing users to share locations or upload audio, video, file, or image attachments. The Intelligent Bots SDK documentation describes how you integrate the CMM into the code for your custom components, the methods for different types of message formats, and how you can upgrade your custom component service to use the CMM.
How Do I Implement the Component Service in AMCe?

While you can use the Shell and Registry components in any REST framework that produces a JSON object from the incoming request, you can only use the SDK’s helper methods if you implement the Component Service in AMCe. To use the SDK and get ready-made versions of the Shell and Registry, you need the Intelligent Bots SDK.

Accessing the Intelligent Bots SDK

You can get the Intelligent Bots SDK (omce-bots-sdk-<version_number>.zip) from the Oracle Technology Network’s Oracle Autonomous Mobile Cloud Enterprise download page. You can also access this page by clicking Downloads in the left navbar.

After you unzip the file, open the api_implementation folder. It contains the following artifacts that you modify to build your service. It includes JavaScript files for the Shell, Registry and the SDK (shell.js, registry.js, and sdk.js). It also includes the following:
  • mcebots.js—Contains the generic component logic. You copy and paste this into your own component service.

  • package.json—Contains the node.js module dependencies required for the project’s package.json file.

  • mcsbots.raml—A template for creating the AMCe custom API.

Creating the Component Service in AMCe

You can find out more in Custom APIs in Developing Applications with Oracle Autonomous Mobile Cloud Enterprise, but the process in terms of the custom components is as follows:

  1. Define the GET and POST endpoints—You can define these endpoints on your own, or use the starter RAML template (mcebots.raml).

    1. In AMCe, click New API.

    2. Enter the API name, a description, and a short description.

    3. Drag mcebots.raml into the dialog and then click Create.

  2. If you want to enable anonymous access, click Security in the left navbar and then switch off Login Required.

  3. Click Save.

  4. Download the JavaScript scaffold:
    1. Click Implementation in the left navabr.

    2. Choose Download JavaScript Scaffold.

    3. Unzip the scaffold file. This file contains the following:
      • The component service file—This file, which is named after your API, contains the REST endpoints defined for AMCe custom code APIs.

      • package.json—The project configuration file. It includes a list of module dependencies.

  5. Implement the Custom Component:

    1. Within the scaffold file, add a directory with the SDK, Registry, MessageModel and Shell modules.


      The Shell, Registry, MessageModel and SDK components must reside within the same directory as the Component Service.
    2. Implement the scaffold’s JavaScript to add the custom component logic. To do this, you’re going to replace most of the contents of the component service file with those of the mcebots.js file from the Intelligent Bots SDK:
      1. Open the component service file in the JavaScript editor of your choice.

      2. Note the service.get function URI. It looks something like /mobile/custom/MyFirstComponentService/components.

      3. Delete all of the contents of the file except for the comments at the top of the file.

      4. Open the mcebots.js file and then copy its contents to the component service file.

      5. Replace the value of const apiURL = ‘/mobile/custom/bots/components’; with the value of the service.get function. For example, const apiURL = ‘//mobile/custom/MyFirstComponentService/components’;.

      6. Point to the shell.js file. Because the component service file and the directory containing the Intelligent Bots SDK artifacts (which includes the shell.js file) are not located in the same folder, you need to modify the Shell variable’s ./shell parameter to reference the location of the shell.js file. For example, if shell.js resides in a directory called js, you would change the default parameter from this:
        var shell = require('./shell')();
        to this:
        var shell = require('./js/shell')();
      7. Save the file.

    3. Edit the package.json file in the scaffold file with the Bot SDK dependencies in the package.json file from the Intelligent Bots SDK:

      1. Open the Intelligent Bots SDK’s package.json file in the text editor of your choice and then copy and paste its dependencies definition to a clipboard:
          "dependencies": {
            "joi": "^9.2.0"
      2. In the scaffold’s package.json file, paste the definition on its own line, one directly after the “main”: attribute.

  6. Create the custom component module by creating a JavaScript file. This file includes the metadata and invoke functions described in Component Modules. The scaffold for the file looks like this:
    "use strict";
    module.exports = {
            metadata: () => (
                "name": "sample.hello",
                "properties": {
                    "name": { "type": "string", "required": true }
                 "supportedActions": []
        invoke: (conversation, done) => {
            const name = conversation.properties().name ? conversation.properties().name : '';
            conversation.reply({ text: 'Hello ' + name });
    Use the functions exposed by the SDK to allow interactions with the bot’s request payload. See The SDK Helper Methods.


    All custom component files must reside within the same directory. Also, make sure that all of your component files all have the .js extension.
  7. Edit the registry.js file with the name and location the component file.

  8. Install the node modules.

  9. Package the scaffold and upload the node project to AMCe.

  10. Associating APIs with a Backend in Developing Applications with Oracle Autonomous Mobile Cloud Enterprise and then test your API.

  11. Register the component service with Intelligent Bots so that it can be discovered by the Dialog Engine. To do this first click Components (This is an image of the Components icon.) in the left navbar and then Add Service. Complete the dialog by adding a name, selecting Mobile Cloud, and then by providing the following:
    • Backend ID—This value is generated when you create a mobile backend. It’s listed on the Settings page.

    • Metadata URL—The is custom API URL, which is displayed in the Overview panel of the API Designer when you click the GET method in the


      Be sure to append this URL with /components so that it can return the component information in the Bot Builder’s Components page.
    • The user name and password. If you selected Use anonymous Access, you need to provide the Anonymous Key. This value is generated when you create a backend. It’s displayed on the Settings page for the backend that manages your API.

    You’re now ready to add the custom components to your OBotML definition.