Learn how to Create and Automate a Webex Area

Earlier than my profession in info expertise, I used to be an educator. I started instructing inner-city youngsters in a summer season camp, the place I realized, practiced and taught many beneficial classes, together with the significance of getting enjoyable and in preserving 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 pc expertise (I used to be a programmer and technophile as a toddler). Lastly, after incomes a Grasp’s in Schooling and whereas instructing aboard, I realized tips on how to make the most of Info and Communications Expertise (ICT) in a day by day routine, in an effort to switch data to college students. Primarily utilizing a number of the very applied sciences which serve to distract them, to show them. And, to supply them the instruments to show themselves.

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


This challenge describes tips on how to create a Webex bot which posts to a Webex area you’ve gotten created. Adaptive Playing cards shall be used to design the message the bot will publish. Data of Python is critical in an effort to program the bot, message, and area particulars. GitHub Secrets and techniques, Actions, and Workflows shall be utilized to automate precisely what and when the bot posts.


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 a whole lot of probably the most cutting-edge and fascinating phrases related to improvement, coding, networking, cloud computing and the sociology of expertise. The phrase is in inexperienced font. A multi-word/sentence definition is offered beneath that. Under the definition is a button with inexperienced font that’s clickable and can take the person to the supply and/or extra info 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 identify it and click on ‘Create’. Now the room is created and it’s best 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 a listing of the latest rooms you’ve interacted with ought to be returned.

The room you simply created shall 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 once you’ll want them.

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

I want utilizing Adaptive Playing cards when posting to Webex areas. In the event you’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.


Subsequent we need to create a message to publish within the Webex area that may include the cardboard we simply created. You’ll be able to check this out with the interactive Create a Message on the Webex for Builders web page below the ‘Strive it’ tab. Don’t neglect 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. Once you get it working, click on the ‘Instance’ tab and replica 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, primarily based on the adaptive card. Now, let’s write some Python code that may make every little thing come collectively and run. I take advantage of the Visible Studio Code IDE.

Create a digital surroundings 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’ll be able to see that the code is fairly easy -> https://github.com/xanderstevenson/word-of-the-day-bot/blob/primary/chatops.py. The primary substances are the adaptive card we created, some if/else statements and a easy requests operate for posting to a Webex room. I import ‘return_word’ operate from a file in the identical listing referred to as ‘phrases’. That is additionally a Python module and principally picks a random time period from a listing to publish 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’ve gotten your Webex Room and you’ve got Python code to publish messages to your room. However who will publish 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 should be logged in to do that). Select ‘Create a Bot’. Comply with 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 surroundings. You’ll be able to 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) [email protected] wod % python chatops.py
your message was efficiently posted to Webex Groups

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

In an effort to run the app on a schedule, we use GitHub workflows. In an effort to try this, you’ll must create a GitHub repo named ‘.github’ and creat a listing in it referred to as ‘.github/workflows’. In order that structrure will seem like this: ‘.github/.github/workflows/’.

Subsequent, you need to create a workflow file within the workflows listing. It would include a reputation, a set off, a job, and primary steps (together with checkout and run). To be taught extra about what all this implies, take a look at this tutorial: How To Construct Your First GitHub Actions Workflow. I even have a ‘workflow templates’ listing within the ‘.github’ repo that incorporates the workflow as a template, in addition to a properties.json file describing every little thing.

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!


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 need to join the Workflow we created with the repo and the code we need 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 useful and prebuilt workflows in a bit titled ‘By Alexander Stevenson’. In the event you’ve already accomplished this, you possibly can return a step to Actions and click on ‘Choose workflow’ to select the workflow you need.

If every little thing is setup appropriately, the code will run utterly and the Webex area will obtain a brand new message. If not, you’ll get an electronic mail to the tackle related together with your GitHub account. You may as well 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 Selection and Sources

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

I used a wide range 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 a listing of phrases that may make anybody who makes use of them sound sensible. Nicely, not likely. Really, humor is a standard theme. Making an attempt to laborious to sound sensible normally has the other impact.

Sources (not all-inclusive)

Remodel Wikipedia Article to MP3 Recordsdata

By clicking on the ‘Be taught Extra’ button on every Phrase of the Day message, customers are taken to a webpage which can present an excellent deeper definition. The overwhelming majority of the time, this shall be a Wikipedia article. Personally, I plan on studying your entire article in order that I can actually 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 have neither the time, endurance, nor want to learn the Wikipedia article, simply use wikitrola and you’ll take heed 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 nonetheless solely applies to empty init.py recordsdata. So empty init.py recordsdata are not essential and could be omitted.


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