How I Use VS Code To Develop And Debug Custom Actions In Rasa

How I Use VS Code To Develop And Debug Custom Actions In Rasa

How I Use VS Code To Develop And Debug Custom Actions In Rasa. In this article, I share how I iteratively develop custom actions in Rasa using VS Code.

Introduction

In this article, I share how I iteratively develop custom actions in Rasa using VS Code.

The code to reproduce the results described in this article can be found here.

I assume the reader is familiar with Rasa and VS Code.

Motivation

Imagine you work for a pizza establishment and are tasked with building a chatbot to order pizza.

You’ve got the intent and entity recognition part working decently well and now it’s time to move on to payment processing. This involves computing the total amount to bill based on the slots collected during the conversation and interfacing with a payment provider to manage the payment process. It’s a complex step that is best implemented via custom actions.

How do you go about developing such a custom action?

My preferred workflow is to iteratively develop the custom action with the help of a REPL for immediate feedback and to understand the chatbot’s state at the point of the action being called. I do not want to have to repeatedly modify the custom action and restart the action server and then talk to the bot to verify its correctness.

As far as I know, there is no resource that describes such a workflow. All the tutorials I’ve read or watched the show “what” to write to implement a custom action but not “how” to do it. It’s like it's assumed that the developer will get it right the first time … So I thought it’s a good idea to share an approach for the “how” of implementing custom actions.

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