Skype

Connect Rocketbots to Skype.

Skype is a telecommunications application that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls as well as instant messaging services over the internet. The application is managed and operated by a subsidiary of Microsoft. At the end of 2010, there were over 660 million worldwide users, with over 300 million estimated active each month as of August 2015. At one point in February 2012, there were 34 million users concurrently online on Skype.

The Skype Logo

For a detailed list of features against the other channels, you can take a look at the comparison table.

Setting Up Skype

In order to connect Skype to your Space, you will need the following:

Creating the App

First, navigate to Microsoft Azure to register a new app. This service will help you connect your Skype Bot to Rocketbots so that you can interact with your contacts.

The Microsoft Azure Signin Page

Log onto the Microsoft Azure Portal using your Microsoft account. After you have signed in, navigate to the App Registrations Page if you are not there already. You may have to use the search bar on the top of the platform to navigate there.

The App Registrations Page

On the App Registrations Page, click on "New registration" on the top left. This should take you to a form where you can register a new application.

Registering a New Application

Here, enter a suitable name for your new app under the "Name" section (e.g. "Rocketbots Skype"). This name will only be used internally for connecting your Skype Bot to Rocketbots.

For the "Supported Account Types" section, make sure "Accounts in any organized directory and personal Microsoft accounts (e.g. Skype, Xbox, Outlook.com)" is selected.

Once you have done so, press the blue "Register" button.

When your app has been created, you will be taken to the Overview Page of your newly created app.

The App Overview Page

You may want to keep the App Overview Page open as you will need to access it later.

Creating the Bot

Next, you will have to create a new bot on Microsoft's Bot Framework Developer Portal. This service will allow you to host a shell of the Bot on Skype and allow its profile to be found by your contacts.

Signing into the Bot Framework Developer Portal

Go ahead and press the blue "Sign In" button to login with your Microsoft account. After signing in, you will have to fill out a form to create your Bot.

Creating the Bot

Bot Profile

Under the "Bot Profile" section, give your Bot a suitable name by entering it into the Display Name field. This will be the name that your contacts will see.

The Bot handle field will be used in the URL for your bot. As such, it has to be alphanumeric and underscores only. Note that you cannot change this once the bot has been registered.

For the Long Description field, provide a description of your bot. This may appear in channels or directories.

Here, you also have the option to upload a profile icon for your bot.

Apart from the Bot Handle, you can always change the Bot Profile options later.

Configuration

Under the "Configuration" section, there is a field that asks you to paste your Microsoft App ID.

Back on the Microsoft Azure Portal, navigate to the Overview Page of your app. You can access it through the App Registrations Page by selecting your app.

The App Overview Page

On the Overview Page of your app, copy the "Application (client) ID" and paste it into the respective field on the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal.

For the Messaging Endpoint, leave the field blank for now.

Once you have filled out the required fields, agree to the terms of service at the bottom of the page and press the blue "Register" button to create your Bot.

Adding to Skype

After creating your bot, you will have the option to connect your bot to different channels.

The Connect to Channels Page

Under the "Add a featured channel" section, select the Skype Logo to activate the Skype channel.

Once you have done so, you will immediately be taken to the Configure Skype Page. Here, navigate to the "Messaging" tab.

The Configure Skype Page

Under the "Messaging" tab, make sure messaging is enabled.

At the moment, your Skype Bot is published under Preview Mode. This means that it is not yet publicly searchable. You can still distribute a join link to contacts to add your Skype bot, but Skype will limit your number of contacts to 100 while in Preview.

We will go over how to publicly publish your Skype Bot below.

Connecting to Skype

To add a new channel to an existing Space, navigate to Settings and select the blue "Add Channel" button under Manage Channels.

Under the Channel Connection menu, select the Skype logo and press the blue "Next" button.

Once you have done so, you should be asked for the Channel Name, Greeting Message, and other information needed to connect your Skype account.

Connecting to Skype

Enter a suitable name for the new channel. Note that the Channel Name is private and will only be used within the Rocketbots Platform.

You may enter an optional Greeting Message. This will be shown when a new member of your audience first contacts you.

App ID

Back on the Microsoft Azure Portal, navigate to the Overview Page of your app. You can access it through the App Registrations Page by selecting your app.

The App Overview Page

On the Overview Page of your app, copy the "Application (client) ID" and paste it into App ID field on the Rocketbots Platform.

App Password

Back on the Microsoft Azure Portal, navigate to the "Certificates & Secrets" tab using the sidebar under your App.

The Certificates and Secrets Tab

Under the "Client Secrets" section, press the "New client secret" button.

Adding a New Client Secret

In the New Client Secret Prompt, select "Never" for the expiry date. Then press the blue "Add" button to create the new Client Secret.

On the "Certificates & Secrets" tab, copy the value of the newly added Client Secret and paste it into the App Password field on the Rocketbots Platform.

On the Microsoft Azure Portal, the value of newly generated Client Secrets will be hidden and inaccessible after a short period of time for security.

Connecting to the Platform

Once you have filled in the fields on the Rocketbots Platform, you will have to paste the Webhook URL into your Skype Bot.

Back on the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal, navigate to your bot and select the "Settings" tab on the top right of the page.

The Settings Tab

Scroll down to the "Configuration" section. Copy and paste the Webhook URL from the Platform into the Messaging Endpoint field on the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal.

Once you have done so, scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the blue "Save changes" button to update your bot settings.

Return to the Rocketbots Platform and press the blue "Done" button. Your Space will now be connected to Skype!

Any messages sent to your Skype Bot will now be received on your space on the Rocketbots Platform.

Note that the Microsoft Azure servers can be painfully slow. You may have to wait upwards of 1 hour after completing the setup process before the Skype Bot is fully connected onto the platform.

Testing in Skype

Back on the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal, navigate to your bot and select the "Channels" tab.

Under the list of connected channels, press "Skype" to open a webpage where you can add the Bot to your contact list on Skype.

Adding the Bot to Your Skype Contacts

While your Skype bot is still in Preview, it will not be publicly searchable. However, you still can distribute a join link for people to connect with your Skype Bot.

On the Channels tab of the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal, right click on Skype and copy the link address.

Getting The Link Address

Anyone who follows this URL will be taken to the webpage where they can add your Bot to their Skype contact list.

Note that Microsoft limits Skype Bots in Preview to only 100 contacts. You will need to publicly publish your Skype Bot to exceed this limit.

Publishing on Skype

Bots in Preview are limited to 100 contacts by Skype and cannot be found when searched on Skype. By officially publishing your Bot, it will make your bot searchable in Skype. You will also be able to connect with an unlimited number of users on Skype.

In order to officially publish your Skype Bot for public use, you will have to submit the Bot for Review.

Navigate to the Microsoft Bot Framework Developer Portal. Under the Channels tab, press the blue "Edit" for Skype. This will take you to the Skype Configuration page. Here, select the "Publish" tab.

The Publish Tab

Under the Publish tab, you will have to fill out a form about your Bot and your information. Once you have filled in the required fields, press the blue "Submit for Review" button at the bottom.

Skype will now look over your Bot to see if it meets their requirements. If they cannot approve your Bot, they will tell you what you need to change before it can be approved.

Once Skype has approved your Bot, contacts can find your Bot by searching for its Display Name on Skype and you will be able to have an unlimited number of Skype contacts.

The Skype review process can take upwards of one week.