How to Get Secure Webhook for SUSI Bots in Kubernetes Deployment

Webhook is a user-defined callback which gets triggered by any events in code like receiving a message from a user in SUSI bot is an event. Few bots need webhook URI for callback like in SUSI Viber bot we need to define a webhook URI in the code to receive callbacks and make our Viber bot work. In this blog, we will learn how can we get an SSL activated webhook while deploying our bot to Google container using Kubernetes. We will generate SSL certificate using kube lego service that is included in kubernetes and you will define that in yaml files below. We can also generate SSL certificate using third party services like CloudFlare but by using it we will be dependant on CloudFlare so we will use kube lego.

We will start off by registering a domain first on which we will activate SSL certificate and use that domain as a webhook. Go to freenom and register your account. After logging in, register a free domain of any name and check out that order. Next, you have to set IP for DNS of this domain. To do so we will reserve an IP address in our Google cloud project with this command:

gcloud compute addresses create IPname --region us-central1

You will get a created message. To see your IP go to VPC Network -> External IP addresses. Add this IP to DNS zone of your domain and save it for later use in yaml files that we will use for deployment. Now we will deploy our bot using yaml files but before deployment, we will create a cluster

gcloud container clusters create clusterName

After creating cluster add these yaml files to your bot repository and add your IP address that you have saved above to the yamls/nginx/service.yaml file for “loadBalancerIP” parameter. Replace domain name in yamls/application/ingress-notls.yaml and yamls/application/ingress-tls.yaml with your domain name that you have registered already. Add your email ID to yamls/lego/configmap.yaml for “lego.email” parameter. Replace “image” and “env” parameters in yamls/application/deployment.yaml with your docker image and your environment variables that you are using in your code. After changing yaml files we will use this deploy script to create a deployment. Change paths for yaml files in script according to your yaml files path.

In gcloud shell run the following command to deploy an application using given configurations.

bash ./path-to-deploy-script/deploy.sh create all

This will create the deployment as we have defined in the script. The Kubernetes master creates the load balancer and related Compute Engine forwarding rules, target pools, and firewall rules to make the service fully accessible from outside of Google Cloud Platform. Wait for a few minutes for all the containers to be created and the SSL Certificates to be generated and loaded.

You have successfully created a secure webhook. Test it by opening the domain that you have registered at the start.

Resources

Enabling SSL using CloudFlare: https://jonnyjordan.com/blog/how-to-setup-cloudflare-flexible-ssl-for-wordpress/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFvwEVkl5gk

Enhancing SUSI Line Bot UI by Showing Carousels and Location Map

A good UI primarily focuses on attracting large numbers of users and any good UI designer aims to achieve user satisfaction with a user-friendly design. In this blog, we will learn how to show carousels and location map in SUSI line bot to make UI better and easy to use. We can show web search result from SUSI in form of text responses in line bot but it doesn’t follow design rule as it is not a good approach to show more text in constricted space. Users deem such a layout as less attractive. In SUSI webchat, location is returned with a map which looks more promising to users as illustrated below:

Web search is returned as carousels and is viewable as:

We can implement web search in line by sending an array of text responses. We can do this with the code below:

for (var i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
   msg[i] = "";
   msg[i] = {
       type: 'text',
       text: 'text to be sent here'
   }
}
return client.replyMessage(event.replyToken, msg);

If we send web search using text response it looks messy, a user will not like it that much as it is difficult for a user to read and understand a lot of text in one place. You can see it in the screenshot below:

To make it better looking we will implement carousels for web search in SUSI line bot. Carousels are tiles that can be scrolled horizontally to show rich content. We can implement carousels using this code:

for (var i = 1; i < 4; i++) {
   title = 'title of carousel';
   query = title;
   msg = 'description of carousel here';
   link = 'link to be opened here';
   if (title.length >= 40) {
       title = title.substring(0, 36);
       title = title + "...";
   }
   if (msg.length >= 60) {
       msg = msg.substring(0, 56);
       msg = msg + "...";
   }
   carousel[i] = {
       "title": title,
       "text": msg,
       "actions": [{
               "type": "uri",
               "label": "View detail",
               "uri": link
           },
           {
               "type": "message",
               "label": "Ask SUSI again",
               "text": query
           }
       ]
   };
}

In above code, we are checking the length of title and description because line API has a limit for the title up to 40 characters and description up to 60 characters. If limit exceeds we then trim the title or description accordingly and use it. Next, we assign title, description, and link to be opened in action to carousel so that we can use it in below code.

const answer = [{
       type: 'text',
       text: ans
   },
   {
       "type": "template",
       "altText": "this is a carousel template",
       "template": {
           "type": "carousel",
           "columns": [
               carousel[1],
               carousel[2],
               carousel[3]
           ]
       }
   }
]
return client.replyMessage(event.replyToken, answer);

Above code shows an array names answer in which we have added carousels that we have created in last code. After implementing this web search will look like this:

This UI looks neat and easy to read and users will like this. Ask SUSI again will send the title of the carousel to SUSI. To show location map on SUSI line bot just like it is shown on SUSI webchat we will follow this code:

const answer = [{
       type: 'text',
       text: ans
   },
   {
       "type": "location",
       "title": "name of the place here",
       "address": address,
       "latitude": latitude of location here,
       "longitude": longitude of location here
   }
]
return client.replyMessage(event.replyToken, answer);

We will send a location type message which will include latitude and longitude of the location so that Line bot can show location using map. After implementing location type response it will look like this:

On clicking on this location it will open a map inside line app on which we will see a pointer pointing at the location that we have provided.

If you want to learn more about line messaging API refer to this https://devdocs.line.me/en/#messaging-api

Resources
https://devdocs.line.me/en/#messaging-api