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Slack bot with Nodejs

Building a slack bot using bolt library in Nodejs

Build your own personal slack bot in few steps. In this post we’ll navigate through process of creating the bot.

Slack setup

First create a slack workspace

  • Give your workspace a name

Create a new bot at slack apps

  • Give your new app a name
  • Choose workspace you created before to install the app

Then go to Features > OAuth & Permissions screen to scroll down to Bot Token Scopes to specify the OAuth scopes, select app_mentions and chat_write to enable the bot to send messages.

Before jumping into application setup, let’s copy signing secret and verification token from basic information page. we’ll be using this later in our nodejs application

Application setup

Create a npm project, install @slack/bolt and dotenv packages

mkdir test-bot && cd test-bot
npm init -y
npm i dotenv @slack/bolt -S

Add start command to scripts if necessary

...
"scripts": {
  "start": "node index.js"
}

Create a .env file and add SLACK_SIGNING_SECRET, SLACK_BOT_TOKEN

Note: Don’t commit this file to any repo

SLACK_BOT_TOKEN= #token goes here
SLACK_SIGNING_SECRET= #sigining secret goes here

In your index.js file, require the Bolt package, and initialize an app with credentials

require("dotenv").config();
const { App } = require("@slack/bolt");

const bot = new App({
  signingSecret: process.env.SLACK_SIGNING_SECRET,
  token: process.env.SLACK_BOT_TOKEN,
  endpoints: "/slack/events",
});

(async () => {
  // Start the app
  await bot.start(process.env.PORT || 3000);

  console.log("⚡️ Bolt app is running!");
})();

Deploy application to a live server like ngrok.

Event Setup

We’ll need to subscribe to events, so that when a Slack event happens (like a user mentions app), app server will receive an event payload

  • Go to Event Subscriptions from the left-hand menu, and turn the toggle switch on to enable events

  • Enter your Request URL

Subscribe to app_mention event

Install app to workspace

You should see bot in your workspace now!

Handling Events

To listen to any Events API events from Slack, use the event() method. This allows your app to take action when something happens in Slack. In this scenario, it’s triggered when a user mentions app.

bot.event("app_mention", async ({ context, event }) => {
  try {
    const command = event.text;
    let reply;
    if (command.includes("Hi")) {
      reply = `Hi <@${event.user}>,  you mentioned me`;
    } else {
      reply = "How can i help you?";
    }
    await bot.client.chat.postMessage({
      token: context.botToken,
      channel: event.channel,
      text: `${reply}`,
    });
  } catch (e) {
    console.log(`error responding ${e}`);
  }
});

Okay, let’s try the app!

Add app to a channel and mention the app. You should see a reponse from bot!

Troubleshooting

Reinstall app if you don’t see any responses from bot

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