Tutorial: Add action support (csharp)

Add action handling code


In addition to utterance based invocation of your Skill, we have now introduced action based invocation similar to a method call whereby a client can invoke a specific function of your Skill passing data (slots) and receive response data back. The skill can still prompt as usual in a conversational manner for missing slots and other needs.

Follow this part of the tutorial to wire up the action you created as part of the previous step.


  1. Create a new class called to represent the new Action within your Dialogs folder and paste in the example class definition shown below. This class is based on the existing SampleAction and shows some extensions to handle an incoming object containing data and how to return an object back to the caller as part the end dialog operation.

Note that action processing can send activities just like any Dialog and prompt for missing data or confirmation. Update the input and output types as per the previous step along with validation steps.

Note that an output object can be returned to a caller by passing it on the call to EndDialogAsync. This is then automatically added to the EndOfConversation event and accessible by the caller.

    public class SampleActionInput
        public string Name { get; set; }

    public class SampleActionOutput
        public int CustomerId { get; set; }

    public class SampleAction : SkillDialogBase
        public SampleAction(
            IServiceProvider serviceProvider,
            IBotTelemetryClient telemetryClient)
            : base(nameof(SampleAction), serviceProvider, telemetryClient)
            var sample = new WaterfallStep[]

            AddDialog(new WaterfallDialog(nameof(SampleAction), sample));
            AddDialog(new TextPrompt(DialogIds.NamePrompt));

            InitialDialogId = nameof(SampleAction);

        private async Task<DialogTurnResult> PromptForName(WaterfallStepContext stepContext, CancellationToken cancellationToken)
            // If we have been provided a input data structure we pull out provided data as appropriate
            // and make a decision on whether the dialog needs to prompt for anything.
            var actionInput = stepContext.Options as SampleActionInput;
            if (actionInput != null && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(actionInput.Name))
                // We have Name provided by the caller so we skip the Name prompt.
                return await stepContext.NextAsync(actionInput.Name);

            var prompt = TemplateEngine.GenerateActivityForLocale("NamePrompt");
            return await stepContext.PromptAsync(DialogIds.NamePrompt, new PromptOptions { Prompt = prompt });

        private async Task<DialogTurnResult> GreetUser(WaterfallStepContext stepContext, CancellationToken cancellationToken)
            dynamic data = new { Name = stepContext.Result.ToString() };
            var response = TemplateEngine.GenerateActivityForLocale("HaveNameMessage", data);
            await stepContext.Context.SendActivityAsync(response);

            // Pass the response which we'll return to the user onto the next step
            return await stepContext.NextAsync();

        private async Task<DialogTurnResult> End(WaterfallStepContext stepContext, CancellationToken cancellationToken)
            // Simulate a response object payload
            SampleActionOutput actionResponse = new SampleActionOutput();
            actionResponse.CustomerId = new Random().Next();

            // We end the dialog (generating an EndOfConversation event) which will serialize the result object in the Value field of the Activity
            return await stepContext.EndDialogAsync(actionResponse);

        private class DialogIds
            public const string NamePrompt = "namePrompt";
  1. Add the following line to your Startup.cs class to make the new action available for use.
  1. Within your MainDialog class you need to add the newly created dialog so it’s available for use. Add this line to your MainDialog constructor whilst also creating a local variable.
    // Register dialogs
    _sampleAction = serviceProvider.GetService<SampleAction>();
  1. Within your MainDialog class you need to handle a handler for each incoming Action your Skill supports. The name of your action specified within the name property of your Action definition is mapped to the Name property of the incoming activity.
protected override async Task OnEventActivityAsync(DialogContext dc, CancellationToken cancellationToken = default(CancellationToken)
    var eventActivity = dc.Context.Activity.AsEventActivity();

    if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(eventActivity.Name))
        switch (eventActivity.Name)
            // Each Action in the Manifest will have an associated Name which will be on incoming Event activities
            case "SampleAction":

                SampleActionInput actionData = null;                       

                var eventValue = dc.Context.Activity.Value as JObject;                      
                if (eventValue != null)
                    actionData = eventValue.ToObject<SampleActionInput>();                            

                // Invoke the SampleAction dialog passing input data if available
                await dc.BeginDialogAsync(nameof(SampleAction), actionData);



                await dc.Context.SendActivityAsync(new Activity(type: ActivityTypes.Trace, text: $"Unknown Event '{eventActivity.Name ?? "undefined"}' was received but not processed."));

        await dc.Context.SendActivityAsync(new Activity(type: ActivityTypes.Trace, text: $"An event with no name was received but not processed.")); 
  1. Build and deploy your updated Skill. You have now added an additional Action to your Skill which should be visible within a client application such as Power Virtual Agent.