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Quick tips for Dialogflow REST API users

If you are using Dialogflow’s REST API, these tips can help speed up your development.

Use the Postman app

If you hadn’t used it already, Postman calls itself “the complete toolchain of API developers”.

For our case, Postman allows you to take the various API calls you see in the Dialogflow documentation and test these requests.

For example, here is a request I created as I was working on the Chatfuel integration tutorial.

But here is the best part. Once you confirm that the request is constructed properly, you can simply use the Code link at the top right and get auto-generated code for the request you just made.

And the Postman app supports many programming languages:

Understand what a Dialogflow session is

When you send a request to the /query endpoint, you need to specify the sessionID.

While I haven’t seen a good definition of a session (as it relates to Dialogflow) in the documentation, you can think of HTTP sessions as a reasonable starting point.

But there are a few things you need to know about the Dialogflow sessions. I wrote about this on Dialogflow’s old forum:

  1. I don’t think there is a good, published documentation of best practices
  2. The sessionID duration depends on the channel (web, FB, Slack etc)
  3. The Facebook integration seems to change the sessionID somewhat unpredictably midway through a conversation. I don’t know if this is still an issue. See here: SessionId consistency

Understand how contexts work inside a session

Now this is really important.

If your app takes the responsibility of managing the sessionID (as it should), you don’t have to worry about managing the context for the conversation. Said another way, as long as you are making sure that you are sending the correct sessionID in each /query request, Dialogflow will automatically do the context management for that particular session.

This point may seem somewhat obvious. But I am not so sure.

Here is a good example of what not to do and how people sometimes get confused:

If you didn’t know, there is a chatbot building framework called Chatfuel. And someone wrote a piece of code which integrates Chatfuel and Dialogflow. It was the only solution which was available when I went looking for some sample code, so I need to give this person their due.

However, the solution was created by a Chatfuel expert who doesn’t fully understand how contexts work inside Dialogflow’s API-managed sessions. By API managed, I mean that the session starts as a result of sending API requests to Dialogflow and further session actions – a technical way of saying that the conversation goes on 🙂 – are performed by sending more API requests.

As a result the solution which is currently doing the rounds cannot work for intents which set and use contexts (the NLP portion will work though).

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Thanks a lot for the advice (of buying and following your videos)! They helped a lot indeed. Everything is very clear when you explain, much clearer than the official documentation to be honest 🙂

Neuraz T
Review for Learn Dialogflow CX
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I think Aravind really did a great job to introduce dialogflow to people like me, without programming background. He organizes his course in very clear manner since I have been a college professor for 20 years. It is very easy for me to recognize how great Aravind’s course is! Very use-friend and very easy to follow. He doesn’t have any strong accent when he gives the lectures. It is so easy for me to understand. Really appreciate it.

Yes, I will strongly recommend this course because even I can learn how to design chatbot (no programming background) after studying Avarind’s course, you definitely can!

Ann Cai
Review for Learn Dialogflow ES

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