This blog will give you an overview of the software and tools required for developing bots using Microsoft Bot Framework v4 .NET C#.
Following software and tools are required to start developing locally using Microsoft Bot Framework:
- IDE: Visual Studio
- Bot Builder SDK v4 Templates for Visual Studio
- VS Code (Visual Studio Code) [Alternative to Visual Studio]
- .NET Core 3.1 [Only when working with VS Code]
- Bot Framework Emulator
Now, let us go into some details for the above tools -
Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment from Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs and websites, web apps, web services, and mobile apps.
Visual Studio is one of the best IDE for developing .NET applications.
The Microsoft Bot Builder V4 Templates are available for .NET and will let you quickly set up a conversational AI bot using core AI capabilities. They are available as a VSIX package.
Templates are a great way to start your bot development because most of the code is already written. You just have to implement your bot conversational logic.
Visual Studio Code, also commonly referred to as VS Code, is a source-code editor made by Microsoft for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Features include support for debugging, syntax highlighting, intelligent code completion, snippets, code refactoring, and embedded Git.
You can develop your bot using VSCode if you do not have a Visual Studio license. VSCode is free to use.
When working with VSCode, .NET Core 3.1 must be separately installed for Microsoft Bot Framework development. .NET Core 3.1 comes inbuilt in Visual Studio. Therefore, it is not required to install again.
Bot Framework Emulator is a desktop application that allows bot developers to test and debug bots, either locally or remotely.
Ngrok is a cross-platform application that exposes local server ports to the Internet.
ngrok is a great tool to test Microsoft Teams bots developed using Microsoft Bot Framework.
We will go through installing each of the above software and tools in the subsequent blogs.