Contexts and attributes

What are contexts

Contexts are information stores that conform to a specific way of behaving (the Context interface) and provide a generic way for the ConversationEngine and the ResponseEngine to store or retrieve attributes.

We support persistent contexts that will be automatically stored together with user information and retrieved as required. This enables you to store information across multiple interactions.

In order to identify in what context an attribute should be stored in, or retrieved from we namespace attribute names. The format is context_name.attribute_name. Whenever OpenDialog encounters an attribute it will extract the attribute name and resolve it - i.e. it will determine what type (Int, String, etc) is the attribute and whether it is a supported attribute and then it will use the ContextManager to store or retrieve the attribute from an appropriate context.

Core Contexts

"Out of the box" OpenDialog supports the following contexts

  • user - the user context stores attributes against the user node in Dgraph. As such attributes stored in the user context will persist across requests.

  • session - the session context is an in-memory context valid for a single request-response exchange. It is a convenient context to store application specific attributes that are only required within the space of a single request. We use the session context to store messages coming back from external NLU interpreters, for example, so that they can be embedded within a message and displayed to the user.

  • global - the global context is a persistent context that can be managed through the UI. By visiting admin/global-contexts you can add attributes to the global context. These attributes will then be available throughout your application by referencing global.attribute_name

Custom Contexts

Developers can create custom contexts to store and retrieve relevant information.

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