Chatbot, software world’s new celebrity. What is it? As per Wikipedia

A Chatbot (also known as a Talkbot, Chatterbot, Bot, Chatterbox, Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual methods.

The way I see it (in over simplified statement), it is a Web Service powered by Natural Language Processing and, driven by BigData and Machine/Deep Learning.

There are many frameworks available to build a Chatbot and of all, I chose Microsoft Bot Framework for obvious reasons. There are good number of articles on how to build Chatbot using Microsoft Bot Framework and deploy it on Azure, which I’ll not repeat.

Once Chatbot is built and deployed, a client application is required using which users can communicate with it. Microsoft, provides Out-of-box integration with Skype and allows Chatbot developers to integrate their Chatbots with Facebook Messenger, WeChat and few others.

There are situations when developers want their custom chat clients to interact with Chatbots and integration with custom chat clients is made possible by DirectLine API. Chatbot integration with custom chat clients is a challenge as there is little or no documentation and no samples available for reference. In this article I would using fiddler to demonstrate Chatbot integration with custom chat clients. Let’s get started

Step 1: Enable DirectLine API

Login into your bot dashboard using Microsoft Live ID. Once you register your bot you’ll supported channels.In the list of channels Add Direct Line channel.

When you select Add, a new browser tab will open up where you should Check “Enable this bot on Direct Line” option. You should also generate Direct Line Secret by clicking “Generate Direct Line secret button”. Save generated secret for later use.

Step 2: Use Fiddler to communicate with the Chatbot hosted on Azure

Step 2.1: Initiate communication with Chatbot

Any custom chat client should start its interaction with Chatbot by posting message to “

Header of the POST message should have Authorization parameter, which take Direct Linesecret generated in Step 1

Authorization: BotConnector <Direct Line secret>

Above request returns with return code 200 and conversation id, like below

Note conversationId. This token/conversationId is valid only for 30 minutes

Step 2.2: POST message to Chatbot

Using the conversationId we can POST any number of messages to Chatbot. All messages to Chatbot will be posted to a new URL, which is”, in this example the POST request will be sent to

Request Body will be in the format below
"text": “<Your Message>”

Above request doesn’t have a response body and return Code will be 204.

Content-type must be sent in header. Without Content-type in header, Chat Client cannot post message to Chatbot.

Step 2.3: Retrieve Chatbot’s response for the message sent

Above request doesn’t return response from Bot. To view responses from Bot we need to perform a GET request on same URI to which we posted in Step 2.2: POST message to Chatbot


Response from bot is present in “text” field