Beta Release 0.8

Summary - 02/03/20

Intro

This document describes the new features available in the 0.8-beta release version of the Virtual Assistant across the following categories:

  • Virtual Assistant and Skills
  • Clients and Channels

Virtual Assistant and Skills

Bot Framework 4.7 Support

The Virtual Assistant and Skill Templates have been updated to use the Bot Builder SDK v4.7 skills implementation. This marks the transition of Skills from Preview into GA as part of the core SDK. Skills are now supported across C#, Javascript/Typescript and Python with Java support to follow.

Skills are the conversational component model for Bot Framework. Power Virtual Agents now has now added support for Skills through the new manifest schema.

All skills have been updated to the new v4.7 SDK skills implementation and have updated manifest files. The latest botskills CLI tool also provides support for the new manifest format.

For more guidance on how to update your project to use this feature, refer to the following articles:

QnA Maker Dialog Support

This release updates the Virtual Assistant Template to use the QnAMakerDialog released in Bot Builder SDK v4.6. QnAMakerDialog introduces support for Follow-Up prompts and Active learning along with use of cards for cases of ambiguity.

For more guidance on how to update your project to use this feature, refer to the following articles:

MainDialog.cs updates

In this release the ActivityHandlerDialog.cs has been deprecated and replaced with a Waterfall Dialog implementation in the MainDialog of the Virtual Assistant and Skill templates.

For more guidance on how to update your Virtual Assistant to use the updated MainDialog approach, refer to the following article:

Deployment updates

This release includes a number of updates and improvements to the Virtual Assistant and Skill deployment scripts. These changes include ARM template deployment of LUIS Authoring Keys, migrating to the consolidated Bot Framework CLI, and support for Azure US Government deployments.

LUIS Authoring Resource ARM support

The Virtual Assistant deployment now supports provisioning a LUIS Authoring Resource through ARM deployment. This removes the need to explicitly provide an authoring key during the deployment, and allows for RBAC on the resource enabling authoring keys to be shared by users of the same Azure subscription.

Bot Framework CLI migration

Work has begun on migrating from the deprecated Bot Builder Tools to the consolidated Bot Framework CLI. The QnA Maker, LUDown, and LuisGen commands have been converted in the deployment scripts, with support for LUIS coming in a subsequent release.

Azure US Government support

This release enables the Virtual Assistant resources to be deployed in the Azure US Government Cloud. Support for Skills in Azure US Cloud will follow in a subsequent release.

For more guidance on how to deploy your Virtual Assistant to Azure US Government Cloud, refer to the following article:

Clients and Channels

Android Virtual Assistant Client

The Android client for the Virtual Assistant has been updated to support both custom wake words and authentication using the Linked Accounts solution.

Summary

Microsoft is committed to bringing our customers the ability to bring their own unique Virtual Assistant experiences to their users by providing the tools and control that is required in a world of many Virtual Agents. We look forward to how you take these enhancements forward to enable your customers in the future. As always you can provide feature requests and/or bug reports at https://github.com/microsoft/botframework-solutions/issues.

Release notes

For more information on the changes in this release and version compatibility, please refer to the v0.8-beta release notes.