I guess there would be very few developers who do not use StackOverflow in their day to day life. StackOverflow is part of a developer’s life.
Whenever we have some issues or doubts we go to the browser -> opens StackOverflow or search for the question on the browser -> StackOverflow link opens and then we can clear our doubts or issues.
Now imagine you have an active bot in your Visual Studio Code and as soon as you have any issues, just ask that to the bot without leaving Visual Studio Code.
Sounds interesting right?
It is possible with AI driven StackOverflow bots as Microsoft has teamed up with Stack Overflow to create a bot that will answer your programming questions from inside the Visual Studio code editor.
Let us see what are the things required to run the bot.
- Node 8.1.4 or more
- StackBot directory
Steps to run:
- Run npm install in StackBot directory
- Run npm start in StackBot directory
- Navigate to http://localhost:portNumber/ to interact with bot
Please note that as this bot uses a number of services(including Bing Custom Search, LUIS, QnA Maker, and Text Analytics), you will need to create applications and generate keys for each one. Microsoft has created a GitHub page with the necessary details which can help you to guide on how to do this.
For this article, we will concentrate more on Visual Studio Code capability to run StackOverflow bot.
Configuration of the bot in Visual Studio Code
As I explained earlier, Visual Studio Code allows developers to quickly call the bot using some simple commands.
- Once the bot is deployed, go to https://dev.botframework.com/bots/new and register your bot
- From the Bot dashboard, add ‘Direct Line’ channel which will communicate with your bot’s backend service
- Add site with appropriate name which will then redirect to the page where you can generate the tokens
Once you add a site:
- Click on Show to view the keys:
- Copy the tokens and go back to Visual Studio Code
- Open user settings and add the new field named StackCode.directLineToken, assign the token you copied earlier into this field
- If everything is done correctly, a pan would be opened which is the interactive window, nothing but the bot
Microsoft has given the bot demo in Ignite conference last month where they showed how powerful the bot is.
Let us see some examples of the bot:
Whenever you want to get help from StackOverflow, just start the StackOverflow bot:
Which will open the StackOverflow bot:
Now you can just write down your question in the text and bot will give the answers:
It can even help you if you need the code.
For example, you are in a need to convert Name+Surname into Surname, First Initial of your name.
Just ask this to the bot:
And the bot will reply the code for you with the code:
It can even read the image you uploaded into the bot.
For example, you have an exception, you take the screenshot of the exception and just upload that image into the bot:
It is really mind-blowing.