Zoltar V2

So a few weeks back, there was a big change to the Skype Bot API. Effectively, my old Skype Bot (Zoltar) pretty much stopped working. Bummer.

Skype bots can no longer monitor ongoing conversations in group chats. Instead, they can only respond when someone has explicitly invoked them through a @mention.

I was waiting for a series of things – specifically, for the functionality to become available in the latest version of the Skype desktop app. With that now available, I decided to go back in and convert Zoltar over to the new Microsoft Bot Framework.

So! If you want to give Zoltar a spin, you should add him as a contact.

I re-named the old bot “Zoltar-Original.” If you happened to have him in your contacts, I would suggest removing him.

One other thing – he should work fine in terms of one-on-one conversations. But if you want to interact with him in a group chat scenario, you’ll have to run at least v7.32.

The other caveat is that you have to use a @mention to interact with Zoltar. Where previously you could use

z fortune

Now you have to use

@Zoltar fortune

Kind of a buzzkill, but them’s the new rules.

Same functionality as before, with Zoltar able to retrieve animated GIFs from Giphy, videos from YouTube, and random fortunes from Twitter. He’ll also try to answer specific questions you ask him (also using Twitter).

There are still some bugs in the new bot environment. I used to be able to format text easier, but for some reason the markdown support for Skype isn’t all there yet. So fortunes will come through as just bolded text.

We added Zoltar back to the group chat at work, and it was really enjoyable watching my coworkers interact with him. I have to confess, I missed having him around – and hope he’ll resume his place as one of our more entertaining teammates.

I Made a Skype Bot – His Name is Zoltar
Zoltar the Conversationalist

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