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Methods to Create and Automate a Webex Area


Earlier than my profession in data expertise, I used to be an educator. I started instructing inner-city children in a summer season camp, the place I discovered, practiced and taught many beneficial classes, together with the significance of getting enjoyable and in protecting a constructive day by day routine. Later, I taught for the federal government and was impressed by means of expertise to save lots of lives (each authorities and civilian). This was a catalyst for main me again to laptop expertise (I used to be a programmer and technophile as a baby). Lastly, after incomes a Grasp’s in Schooling and whereas instructing aboard, I discovered how you can make the most of Info and Communications Expertise (ICT) in a day by day routine, to be able to switch information to college students. Basically utilizing a few of the very applied sciences which serve to distract them, to show them. And, to offer them the instruments to show themselves.

Each day, incremental presentation of related and difficult data is environment friendly, enjoyable and gives a basis for studying, communication and confidence which extends past the partitions of classroom and company workplace alike.

Function

This mission describes how you can create a Webex bot which posts to a Webex area you might have created. Adaptive Playing cards will likely be used to design the message the bot will put up. Information of Python is critical to be able to program the bot, message, and area particulars. GitHub Secrets and techniques, Actions, and Workflows will likely be utilized to automate precisely what and when the bot posts.

WoD

A card much like the above is posted on an everyday schedule to the ‘Phrase of the Day’ Webex room. A random phrase is chosen every time from tons of of probably the most cutting-edge and fascinating phrases related to growth, coding, networking, cloud computing and the sociology of expertise. The phrase is in inexperienced font. A multi-word/sentence definition is supplied under that. Under the definition is a button with inexperienced font that’s clickable and can take the consumer to the supply and/or extra data on the phrase of the day.

Create the Webex Room

Click on on the + signal on the prime of Webex and choose ‘Create a Area’. Then title it and click on ‘Create’. Now the room is created and you need to see it seem within the rooms column on the left of Webex. Now, we’d like the Room ID of the brand new room. We are able to get it by utilizing the Webex for Builders interactive Rooms API name. Be sure to’re logged in and choose to make use of your private entry token. Within the ‘sortBy’ area, sort ‘lastactivity’. Click on the ‘Run’ button and an inventory of the newest rooms you’ve interacted with must be returned.

The room you simply created will likely be on prime. Save the id of the room. Later, we’ll use that as the worth of our ‘teams_room’ variable. It can save you the opposite values someplace as effectively. It’s good apply to maintain notes when creating issues; you by no means know while you’ll want them.

Craft the Template of the Message to Be Posted to Your Webex Room

I choose utilizing Adaptive Playing cards when posting to Webex areas. For those who’re ranging from scratch, you’ll positively want the Buttons and Playing cards Designer discovered on Webex for Builders. Mess around with it utilizing ‘Preview mode’ till it seems to be proper after which copy the code with ‘Copy card payload’. Put it aside someplace.

WoD

Subsequent we wish to create a message to put up within the Webex area that can comprise the cardboard we simply created. You possibly can check this out with the interactive Create a Message on the Webex for Builders web page below the ‘Attempt it’ tab. Don’t overlook to stick you Adaptive Card code you saved into the ‘attachments’ area, in addition to the roomID you saved from the earlier API name. Click on ‘Run’ to create the message. While you get it working, click on the ‘Instance’ tab and duplicate the code. You’ll use this to construct your request.

Constructing the App in Python

Okay, we’ve got our Webex Room and the core of the message, based mostly on the adaptive card. Now, let’s write some Python code that can make all the pieces come collectively and run. I take advantage of the Visible Studio Code IDE.

Create a digital atmosphere and begin constructing your code inside it.

I take advantage of Python and the requests library to do all of the work for this app. You possibly can see that the code is fairly easy -> https://github.com/xanderstevenson/word-of-the-day-bot/blob/primary/chatops.py. The primary components are the adaptive card we created, some if/else statements and a easy requests perform for posting to a Webex room. I import ‘return_word’ perform from a file in the identical listing referred to as ‘phrases’. That is additionally a Python module and mainly picks a random time period from an inventory to put up with the cardboard to the Webex room every time the chatops.py module is run.

Create a Bot to Put up the Message to the Webex Area

Thus far you might have your Webex Room and you’ve got Python code to put up messages to your room. However who will put up the messages. That’s the place the bot is available in.

Go to Webex for Builders / My Apps and ‘Create a New App’ (You’ll have to be logged in to do that). Select ‘Create a Bot’. Observe all of the steps and create the bot. You’ll then get a Bot Entry Token. Save this because the TEAMS_ACCESS_TOKEN variable within the ‘~/.bashrc’ file with the road export TEAMS_ACCESS_TOKEN=””. Use the command ‘supply ~/.bashrc’ to load the variable into the atmosphere. You possibly can test this labored with the command ‘echo $TEAMS_ACCESS_TOKEN’. In my primary module, chatops.py, you’ll see the road ‘access_token = os.environ.get(“TEAMS_ACCESS_TOKEN”). This units it up so the bot is the one doing the posting within the Webex area. Cool, proper?

Working the App out of your Native Console (for debugging)

Now I can run the command ‘python chatops.py’ or ‘python3 chatops.py’ to run the app regionally (for the reason that Python verrsion is 3.8.10). Each time I run this command, a brand new random phrase of the day will seem within the Webex area. I solely use this for testing functions.

(venv) alexstev@ALEXSTEV-M-FCUD wod % python chatops.py
your message was efficiently posted to Webex Groups

Working the App on Schedule (Utilizing GitHub Workflows and Actions)

To be able to run the app on a schedule, we use GitHub workflows. To be able to try this, you’ll have to create a GitHub repo named ‘.github’ and creat a listing in it referred to as ‘.github/workflows’. In order that structrure will appear to be this: ‘.github/.github/workflows/’.

Subsequent, you wish to create a workflow file within the workflows listing. It can comprise a reputation, a set off, a job, and primary steps (together with checkout and run). To study extra about what all this implies, try this tutorial: How To Construct Your First GitHub Actions Workflow. I even have a ‘workflow templates’ listing within the ‘.github’ repo that accommodates the workflow as a template, in addition to a properties.json file describing all the pieces.

That is what mine seems to be like –> https://github.com/xanderstevenson/.github/blob/default-branch/.github/workflows/wod-workflow.yml

It’s solely 29 traces of code! Automation all day!

WoD

One key element in my workflow is that this line ‘TEAMS_ACCESS_TOKEN: ${{ secrets and techniques.TEAMS_ACCESS_TOKEN }}’. I retailer that within the repo you’re studying now below Settings -> Secrets and techniques -> Actions.

Now we wish to join the Workflow we created with the repo and the code we wish to run. In my word-of-the-day-bot GitHub repo, I click on on the Actions tab and click on on ‘New workflow’ and discover my workflow listed amongst all of the really helpful and prebuilt workflows in a piece titled ‘By Alexander Stevenson’. For those who’ve already accomplished this, you possibly can return a step to Actions and click on ‘Choose workflow’ to choose the workflow you need.

If all the pieces is setup accurately, the code will run utterly and the Webex area will obtain a brand new message. If not, you’ll get an e-mail to the deal with related together with your GitHub account. It’s also possible to click on on the ‘Actions’ tab in your code repo and also you’ll see an in depth description of why your code failed.

Phrase Alternative and Sources

For this mission, phrases have been chosen that are related to fashionable and future applied sciences. I additionally intentionally selected phrases which have cross-functional use in community and software program growth. Moreover, I selected a mixture of phrases which will likely be of curiosity to a variety of IT professionals, i.e., engineers, managers, human assets personnel, testers, programmers, builders, cybersecurity, and so forth..

I used quite a lot of assets to search out probably the most cutting-edge phrases however with out getting too deep or technical. Neither did I select phrases which might be too widespread or easy. Final however not least, I attempted to compile an inventory of phrases that can make anybody who makes use of them sound sensible. Effectively, not likely. Truly, humor is a typical theme. Attempting to laborious to sound sensible often has the other impact.

Sources (not all-inclusive)

Remodel Wikipedia Article to MP3 Information

By clicking on the ‘Study Extra’ button on every Phrase of the Day message, customers are taken to a webpage which can present a good deeper definition. The overwhelming majority of the time, this will likely be a Wikipedia article. Personally, I plan on studying your complete article in order that I can really grok every time period.

A colleague of ours at Cisco, John Capobianco, has developed a package deal referred to as wikitrola, which can rework any Wikipedia web page into an MP3 file.

When you’ve got neither the time, endurance, nor need to learn the Wikipedia article, simply use wikitrola and you may hearken to it whereas multitasking or enjoyable.

Codebase Updates

I had created an empty init.py file within the root listing out of behavior. Earlier than Python 3.3 this was accomplished to to make Python deal with the directories as containing packages and facilitate importing between modules. From Python 3.3+ Implicit Namespace Packages are supported which permits the creation of a package deal with out an init.py file. This nevertheless solely applies to empty init.py recordsdata. So empty init.py recordsdata are now not vital and could be omitted.

 


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