Glossary

Note

Terms in purple have a special meaning within the BotCentral Platform.

Terms in black are general terms common within the chatbot community.

AI
Artificial Intelligence.
Bot
Any software that automates a task. In BotCentral parlance, often used as a shorthand for a chatbot.
Bot Developer
Someone who uses the BotCentral Platform to create a chatbot.
Bot Message

A Content Object that defines a specific interactive Message Flow. A Bot Message can include:

Bot Response
A Bot Message that is only triggered by pattern matches.
Chatbot
Software that automates chat. BotCentral chatbots can also perform tasks via Web Responders, and then report back to the user with results.
Content
The text, images, video, audio, and ui element managed and sent from a content object.
Content Object

A self-contained unit of ChatBot functionality, such as a:

CUI
Conversational User Interface
Default message
A bot message which is triggered after a user input, if no other message is triggered. Other messages might be triggered by pattern matching, intent matching, or the setTriggerNextMessage() function.
Dynamic Result
A Bot Message result that calls a Web Responder.
Embedded Code

JavaScript included in a Bot Message, executed at one of three points in a Message Flow:

Input
User Input

A message sent by the user to the chatbot.

Typically, we distinguish between input which kicks off a Message Flow and a User Response, which is also a message sent by the user, but which occurs after a Bot Message result has been sent to output, while the bot is waiting to Process User Response.

Intent
A model that captures a particular meaning or user intention which might phrased many different ways. Intents are one way to manage how a bot responds to a user.
JSON

JavaScript Object Notation, a data-serialization format often used for responses in RESTful web services.

In the BotCentral Platform, a Responder accepts JSON responses. The Responder then structures that response for inclusion in a dynamic result, controlled by a Bot Message. For more information, see the Responder documentation.

Menu Action
An item in a Persistent Menu.
Message

Any communication between the chatbot and the human user.

We try to avoid using the word Message, to avoid confusion with Bot Message. Sometimes we use the word Message when we really mean Bot Message. (We hope the context always makes our meaning clear.)

  • When discussing a message sent from the user to the chatbot, we use the term input.
  • When discussing a message sent from a the chatbot to the user, we use the terms output or result, depending on the context.
Message Flow
The flow from User Input, through Pattern Matching, Result preparation, Embedded Code execution, Output, Processing the user’s response, to waiting for the next input. For details, see the complete message flow.
Messaging Platform
The venue for a conversation between a user and a chatbot — for example, Facebook Messenger.
Meta-data
Informal name for various settings and options associated with a Content Object.
NLP
Natural Language Processing. Our ref:intents feature use NLP to determine what a user input means.
Output
Content sent to the user, from the Bot, via the messaging platform
Pattern

A text string that is matched against user input in order to trigger a Bot Message.

Each Bot Message may have one or more patterns. When a user input matches a pattern, the Bot Message is triggered.

Patterns can being or end with asterisks (*), which stand-in for arbitrary text in the user input. For example, the pattern *hi* will match hi and Oh, hi!. The text represented by the asterisks can be accessed in your results with {botContext.starVar1} and {botContext.starVar1}, or in your embedded JavaScript with botContext.getBotVariable('starVar1') and botContext.getBotVariable('starVar2').

You can match against multiple patterns by separating options with pipes ( |) and wrapping the set of options in parenthesis. For example, to match inputs that include hello, hi, and hey, you could create the pattern *(hello|hi|hey)*. (You could also simply enter these as three different patterns.)

For more details, see Responding to the User.

Payload
A value associated with a Quick Reply response, accessible with getQuickReplyPayload(), but not visible to the user. See Quick Replies for more details.
Post-result
Bot Message content appended to the Main Result, and appearing after Quick Replies.
Pre-result
Bot Message content prepended to the Main Result, displayed in its own chat bubble.
Quick Reply

A type of User Menu supported by the Facebook Messenger Platform. Quick Replies are associated with a Bot Message, and consist of a Title (shown to the user) and a Payload (received by the bot when the user makes a choice, to be used in embedded code).

Up to ten Quick Replies can be defined on a Bot Message. They are displayed in a scrollable menu to the user, who can select exactly one item. The Quick Reply menu disappears from the chat window when a selection is made.

For more details, see Quick Replies.

Required Context

A Content Object that defines a variable that is required as a parameter in a Web Responder. The Required Context setup includes a built-in mini-responder that is used to ask the user for the parameter’s value.

For more information on Required Context, see Message Flow and the Weatherbot Walkthrough tutorial.

Responder
Web Responder

A ChatBot Content Object that is called by a dynamic Bot Message. A Responder calls a RESTful web API and structures the JSON response for inclusion in the Output.

Sometimes the term Web Responder is used for clarity, to emphasize that a Responder fetches information from a RESTful web service.

For more information, see the doc:web-responders documentation.

RESTful Web Service

Representational State Transfer. An API accessed over the World Wide Web, by sending HTTP Requests to a URL and receiving serialized data in an HTTP response. RESTful web services do not persist a session.

Most commonly, the response from a RESTful web service is formatted as JSON.

Result
Main Result

The primary content of a Bot Message, sent through the messaging platform to the user.

The Result is sometimes called the Main Result, to distinguish it from the Pre-Result and the Post-Result.

Seed Sentences
Example sentences with equivalent meanings, used to build an intent.
User
In our documentation, User always refers to the human who sends messages to the chatbot. (A person who uses the BotCentral platform to create a chatbot is Bot Developer.)
User Response
A message sent by the user after a Bot Message result has been sent to output, while the bot is waiting to Process User Response.
Webhook Request
The HTTP Request prepared and sent by a Responder to a RESTful web service.