Introducing the Pandorabots CLI

Feb 27, 2015 · 2 min read

While we already offer a number of tools for working with the Pandorabots API, we are proud to announce the newest member of our open-source arsenal: the Pandorabots CLI. This tool is designed to let you manage and interact with your bots straight from the command line.

Why is this great?

Of course, you could use an HTTP client like cURL to talk to the API. For example, to upload a file via cURL:

$ curl -v -X PUT ''
--data-binary @/home/mybot/example.aiml

That’s a lineful! Wouldn’t it be better if you could just freely type the commands, without worrying about all the necessary parameters to format a request?

This is exactly what we’ve done with the CLI:

$ pb upload example.aiml

The CLI offers an easy and slick interface for doing all the things you’ll need to create, update, and maintain your chatbots.


The CLI itself is written in Javascript, so you’ll need to setup node.js on your machine before you can install it. Luckily, node.js offers a number of installers for OS X and Windows users to make this very easy. You can also download binaries for Linux, or build yourself from the source code.

Node.js comes prepackaged with npm, which is a Javascript package manager that has an extremely vibrant community of modules and users. You can install the CLI using the npm command:

$ npm install -g pb-cli

This will install the CLI globally to your machine, making the pb and pandorabots commands now available use in your command line.


The CLI introduces the concept of configuration files, which allow you to freely type commands as shown above. The configuration file is a JSON file called chatbot.json. It stores basic information about your application:

{ "app_id": "********", "user_key": "******", "botname": "*******" }

When you run a a CLI command, it will look in the current directory for the chatbot.json file. If it finds one, it will automatically add the necessary information to you call. You can create this file from scratch, or, run the init command to let the CLI build it for you. This command will prompt you for all the necessary information:

$ pb init


Once you have created a chatbot.json file, you can begin running all sorts of commands you might expect us to offer for the Pandorabots API:

$ pb create 
$ pb upload example.aiml
$ pb compile
$ pb talk Hello world!

The CLI offers some additional tools not available through our REST API, such as the ability to upload multiple files at once:

$ pb push

Take a look at the CLI on Github for a complete list of the commands available. Please fork the project or report any issues or suggestions you may have!

Originally published at on February 27, 2015.


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