In the previous article , we had an overview and example of how to start creating Microsoft Azure Bots and integrate with Teams. Furthermore once the bots are integrated with teams ,we would need to create application package for our Azure Bot, so that we can provide better end user experience.
To interpret further once the azure bot is available to the end users via teams it will not be showing to them as an application (example shown below). Providing them as vanilla format will not be more intriguing to the consumers.
In Microsoft Teams there is an option to create a customized app package for our azure bots. Once we create and publish them, it will be available for end users in the app section. From Microsoft Teams users can search and install them on their Teams Client.
With app studio package admins can create their own customized apps for Microsoft Teams and publish them to individual users, teams and globally to the whole organization. Search and install app studio package from app section in Microsoft Teams.
Once after it is installed , open App Studio and use the Manifest Editor to create the App Package.
Here there are two options:
Create a new app – Used to create our own customized app.
Import an existing app – We can import our own customized existing app.
In this section create a new app is selected since the scope is to create an app for an existing azure bot service.
In the app section provide the information as requested.
App ID is crucial here and it must be the value of the Azure Bots from the setting page of the Azure Bots that we are creating the APP Package. Rest all information is descriptive and can be added easily.
Capabilities tab is a vital section as this determines the functionality of the bot. Select only the bot section , add the required information and leave the others with default configuration .In above example existing bot must be selected because the app package is been created for an active bot. Provide them a name and use the option select from one of my existing bots.
The other options have to be chosen very carefully based on your bot functionality. For instance choosing My Bot is a one-way functional only for a bidirectional bot will not provide the message input window to the end users during the interaction.
It is important to note that for a 1:1 bot it needs to be selected only in personal scope. Choosing the other options for a 1:1 bot will create a malfunctioning of the app to the end users.
On a security perspective there are few options to restrict, provide SSO and Device permissions.
Provide the below information for the SSO.
And we have the option to control the device permission which is really great.
Having done all these settings above there is an option to test and distribute the created app package.
The easiest way is to install in our own client before distributing them by choosing the first option install your app in teams for testing.
After installation the app is ready to be launched.
Now on a user experience it provides us a prime look to our Azure Bot and looks appealing.
Its better to change the bot profile icon as well to show the same icon in the chat conversation.
Having tested this app from individual level client , now it is time to publish them to all users. Download them as json file and upload it from a teams client with global admin privilege.
The application must be downloaded from the teams client that was used to create this manifest file. Once after its been downloaded we can see it would have been downloaded them as json file along with the associated PNG files.
This zip file needs to be uploaded from the teams client using the option upload a custom app.
Once logged in with Global Admin Credentials – Navigate to store and use the option – upload a custom app.
There is 2 options to upload for me or my teams and upload for the whole tenant which will make the app be available for all users.
Once after its uploaded , successfully this new app for the azure bot will be available for end users and they can search in the store and install them.
Finally the App can be updated to next version with ease of operations or deleted with the below settings from the Teams client with Global Admin Credentials.
There are much more ways to control this app visibility and user experience on teams client like side loading the apps for easier communication , restricting them only via 3rd party apps etc. We will discuss about these configurations in the next upcoming blog.
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