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Receive messages

RBM agents receive messages and events through a publish/subscribe relationship with Cloud Pub/Sub. When a user sends a message to your agent, the user's messaging app sends the message to Cloud Pub/Sub, and your agent receives the message through a subscription. Your agent can then decode the message, process it, and issue a response to the user.

The user sends a message to the agent

Users can send whatever text, locations, or files that their RCS client allows. Your agent needs to handle any text, locations, or files the user might send, as well as any error states that those messages might trigger.

Handle incoming messages

How your agent handles and responds to messages from users is highly dependent on your business logic. Generally, however, the steps to respond to a user message are consistent.

Step 1: Identify the type of message the user sent

Users can send four types of messages:

  • Text messages are freeform responses.
  • Suggestion messages include the postback data and text of the suggested action or suggested response that the user tapped.
  • Location messages include latitude and longitude values.

  • File messages include the URI for a file and associated data.

Step 2: Process the message content

The user message's content should guide your agent's logic and next response in the conversation.

The easiest way to identify user intent is with postback data from a suggested reply or suggested action. Regardless of the text associated with the suggestion, the postback data is machine-readable.

If a user sends a text message, your agent might parse the response for supported keywords or use NLU (such as Dialogflow) to process the user's message and identify a path forward.

Location and file messages don't include text or postback data, so your agent should consider the context of the conversation and recent messages before responding.

If your agent doesn't know how to respond to the user's message, it should respond with an error state and try to continue the conversation by prompting the user for additional information, by asking for input in a different way, or by presenting suggested replies and suggested actions that the agent knows how to respond to.

Step 3: Conduct business logic

Once your agent identifies the correct response to the user's message, it gathers necessary information from your infrastructure and interact with other systems as necessary to fulfill the business logic of the interaction.

Step 4: Respond to the user

After the agent fulfills the business logic for the interaction, it sends another message and continues the conversation with the user.

Examples

The following code shows how your agent receives messages. For formatting and value information, see UserMessage.

Agent receives text

{
  "agentId": "AGENT_ID",
  "senderPhoneNumber": "PHONE_NUMBER",
  "messageId": "MESSAGE_ID",
  "sendTime": "2018-12-31T15:01:23.045123456Z",
  "text": "Hello, world!"
}

Agent receives a message from a suggestion

{
  "agentId": "AGENT_ID",
  "senderPhoneNumber": "PHONE_NUMBER",
  "messageId": "MESSAGE_ID",
  "sendTime": "2018-12-31T15:01:23.045123456Z",
  "suggestionResponse": {
    "postbackData": "suggestion_1",
    "text": "Suggestion #1"
  }
}

Agent receives a location

{
  "agentId": "AGENT_ID",
  "senderPhoneNumber": "PHONE_NUMBER",
  "messageId": "MESSAGE_ID",
  "sendTime": "2018-12-31T15:01:23.045123456Z",
  "location": {
    "latitude": 37.422000,
    "longitude": -122.084056
  }
}

Agent receives a file

{
  "agentId": "AGENT_ID",
  "senderPhoneNumber": "PHONE_NUMBER",
  "messageId": "MESSAGE_ID",
  "sendTime": "2018-12-31T15:01:23.045123456Z",
  "userFile": {
    "category": "IMAGE",
    "thumbnail": {
      "mimeType": "image/jpeg",
      "fileSizeBytes": 1280,
      "fileUri": "https://storage.googleapis.com/copper_test/77ddb795-24ad-4607-96ae-b08b4d86406a/d2dcc67ab888d34ee272899c020b13402856f81597228322079eb007e8c8",
      "fileName": "4_animated.jpeg"
    },
    "payload": {
      "mimeType": "image/gif",
      "fileSizeBytes": 127806,
      "fileUri": "https://storage.googleapis.com/copper_test/77ddb795-24ad-4607-96ae-b08b4d86406a/d2dcc67ab888d34ee272899c020b13402856f81597228322079eb007e8c9",
      "fileName": "4_animated.gif"
    }
  }
}