Store Overview

What is the Store?

Thank you for coming to the Store. If this is your first time visiting this portal, you might be wondering what is the “Store” and what are the benefits of using it. The Store is simply a place for you to discover components published by other developers.

The Store is also all about reuse. This means that you can try out components found in the Store and bring them in the Workspace so that you can reuse them in your own flows.

Since you may be new to using the Store and the Workspace, you will encounter some commonly used terms that might seem unfamiliar to you. These terms are widely used throughout the Store, Workspace, and in the Help documentation.

To see a list of commonly used terms, see: Terminology.

Implementation

Botlets in the Store have actions with defined semantic input/output so that they can be invoked from other botlets. A botlet consists of the following components:

  • Identity: Organization and unique name
  • Actions: Public set of actions registered by the botlet. Each action has semantic input and output which is defined in typed entities. Entity types belong to an organization.
  • Channel bindings: End users interact with botlets through channels like Cortana.
  • Code: Bots can be developed in our dedicated high level SCL or written in your language of choice and hosted as a RESTful API in any platform or cloud service.
  • URI: The botlet endpoint if not developed in SCL and therefore hosted elsewhere

Other Store Features

  • Managed security credentials (OAuth2 and OAuth1) on behalf of users and botlets
  • Builds users’ personal knowledge graph as interactions happen
  • Allows rapid prototyping with minimal effort
  • Provides deep analytic capabilities for each botlet
  • Supports natural language intents and binding to external language understanding models

What are the benefits of using the Store?

The benefits of using the Store are:

  • Being able to access free samples and tutorials that can help teach you how to build botlets
  • Being able to use prebuilt botlets because they encapsulate common functions that almost all flows require such as selection, location resolutions, form filling, and much more
  • Being able to publish your own botlets and any other assets to share their functionality with other developers
  • Being able to draw more traffic to your APIs
  • Being able to gain recognition for the components you’ve published to the Store
  • Being able to easily search and select items in the Store and bring them to your Workspace to be reused in your own flows

Microsoft Account

To sign in and create an account in the Store, you must have a registered Microsoft account (MSA). An MSA gives you access to various digital services like Outlook, OneDrive, and more. If you do not have a MSA and need to create one, click: Create One!.

Ways to visit the Store

There are three ways you can visit the Store:

  • Clicking Store and visiting the portal directly.
  • Clicking Create a skill and visiting the Cortana Dev Center directly.
  • Clicking BotFramework and visiting the portal directly.

Contacting Support

If you encounter a technical issue and you require assistance, please send an e-mail message to:

kstore@microsoft.com

MSDN - Cortana Skills Forums

MSDN Forums

Stackoverflow - Cortana Skills Kit Questions

Stackoverflow - Cortana Skills Kit Questions

What is the Workspace?

The Workspace is the environment where you do all your work in. It is the place where organizations and the assets that make up botlets get created and their permissions to them are managed. Developers use the Workplace to build conversational flows that integrate with outside services and work across channels.

In the Workspace, you can do the following:

  • Compose a flow
  • Create a component
  • Define an Action
  • Assign read/write permissions to organizations and the assets that make up botlets
  • Grant permissions to other people to view and modify your code
  • Test out botlets to see how they behave with the use of the Workspace chat tool
  • Monitor the behavior and performance of a botlet by and troubleshoot issues using the Dashboard.
  • Simultaneously search for items in the Store and in your Workspace.

To read more details about the Workspace environment, see: Workspace Overview.

Exploring the Store Portal

This section is an exploration of the Store portal. We will be going over how to search for items in the Store, and the descriptions of the various panels that feature:

  • Hero Panel
  • My recent items
  • Prebuilt botlets
  • Tutorials
  • Top Picks

Searching the Store

Searching the Store is straight forward. You basically type in a key word in the text field such as an organization name and press enter, or you can click the magnifying glass icon.

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You can also search the Store using parameters like a botlet ID or an entity ID.

Searching the Store versus searching the Workspace

When you search for items in the Store, the results that get returned back to you are public items. Public items are items that are published to the rest of the world.

This compares differently to getting search results back in the Workspace. In the Workspace, you will notice public items and your private items. Private items are organizations and their assets that have not been made public. Items that you create in the Workspace are private until you to publish them to the Store.

For more details about publishing your components to the Store, see: Publishing.

Store Panels

The Store portal consists of the following panels:

  • Hero Panel
  • My recent items
  • Prebuilt botlets
  • Tutorials
  • Top Picks

Hero Panel

The Hero panel displays messages, promotions, and status details to help keep you up to date and informed about the Store portal.

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My recent items

The “My recent items” panel lists the botlets and assets that a user has write permissions to in the Workspace or had previously interacted with inside the Store. This panel is positioned up at the top of the Store to make it quick and convenient for you to come back and instantly access your botlets and assets without having to search around for them.

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Prebuilt botlets

The “Prebuilt botlets” panel consists of botlets and assets that have been created by Microsoft and other third-party developers. Prebuilt botlets encapsulate common functions (i.e., selection, location resolutions, form filling, etc.) that developers can use to build a botlet.

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In addition, Prebuilt botlets are an extremely useful library for developers to use for writing skills. Prebuilt botlets fall into three general categories:

  • Constructing entities
  • Interaction with the user
  • General utilities

To see the full list of Prebuilt botlets and to learn more about the three categories that they fall into, see: Prebuilt Botlets.

Tutorials

The “Tutorials” panel consists of sample tutorials that you can bring into the Workspace to try out and examine their code.

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Top Picks

The “Top Picks” panel consists of botlets and services that are the most widely viewed and used botlets in the Store.

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Logging out of the Store

To log out of the Store portal, click Log out on the navigation ribbon.

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