Why do I have to develop chatbots locally?
As a developer, you probably don’t always have a server with a public IP address and DNS name available. In order to develop and test chatbots locally, a port forwarding service is needed. The Forward-Service ensures that the local test environment (e.g. virtual machine behind a firewall or without a public IP address) is accessible from the Internet and therefore globally visible.
Why do I need a port forwarding service to receive instant messages?
Most instant messengers use WebHooks for communication and push events (e.g. new text message or video from user, message was read etc.). A WebHook is a HTTP callback of the messenger service to inform the receiver (in this case the Business Bot Platform) about events, i.e. when something happens. The Forward-Service must forward the HTTP requests to the local server so that Business Bot Platform and thus Chatbot know about these events.
How does it work in detail?
The Forward-Service has an official DNS name and a public IP address, e.g. https://myname.forward-server.com/. This URL is then configured in the Messenger service (e.g. Telegram) for all events. As soon as an event occurs, the Messenger service sends the request to the Forward-Service. The Forward-Service then passes the request (unchanged) to the local server (localhost) via a tunnel. The following graphic illustrates this concept.
By means of Forward-Services, you can develop chatbots faster and test them more efficiently. Some providers offer the basic functionalities (HTTP/TCP tunneling) free of charge.
Would you like to use the Business Bot Platform in your company? Contact us, we are looking forward to support you around the subjects installation, administration and chatbots in the corporate environment.