BotSetup 101

This page describes how to download and setup an AI intelligent chat agent and a corresponding speech I/O interface.

Setting up a Local Chatbot

These instructions will talk you through the setup of a local version of the ProgramD chatbot for use on your local machine. There are more detailed instructions available online, as well.


  1. Download ProgramD at, getting the latest zip "Binary" version (as of 2/23/07 it was 4.6). Save it in some directory where you will keep all of these original downloads.
  2. Download the latest Java runtime (JRE) or SDK from, if you don't already have it installed.
  3. Download some AIML sets from  For starters, download the zip versions of the "Standard" AIML and the A.L.I.C.E. AIML.
  4. If you are feeling adventurous, you could download the latest Annotated A.L.I.C.E., which is a far more complete personality.  More info explaining the sets is at


  1. Install Java, remembering where you put it.
  2. Set an environment variable for JAVA_HOME (Settings->Control Panel->System->Advanced->Environment Variables->User variables) to the base path of where Java is installed (e.g. C:\Progra~1\Java\jre1.5.0_04).  Note that you will probably have to use the 8.3 filename for any directories that contain spaces, such as "Program Files," for things to work.  You can find out the 8.3 filename (dirname) by typing "dir /X" in a Windows command prompt.
  3. Unzip the ProgramD files in a convenient, permanent location, such as C:\ProgramD.
  4. Unzip each of the AIML sets you downloaded into the corresponding directories in the "aiml" directory. After unzipping each one, rename the subdirectory they are in to something short and meaningful, such as "standard" and "alice".
  5. In the C:\ProgramD\conf directory, edit:
  6. Try it but changing to the ProgramD bin directory and running the simple-console.bat program.  You should see a bunch of messages, ending with a [YourBot] prompt.  Type "/exit" to get out of it.  If things don't work, check the online instructions for info.

Turning it into an AIM Chatbot

These instructions explain how to make your Chatbot accessible via AOL Instant Messaging, assuming you have already followed the instructions above for "Setting up a Local Chatbot."


  1. If you want your bot to have its own AOL instant messaging account, make sure to sign up for the desired Screen Name at AOL.
  2. Download the latest zip version of the AIM Listener for ProgramD from the download page, saving the in your download directory.


  1. Unzip it to a temporary location.
  2. Copy the "jaimbot-lib-1.4.jar" file from the "lib" subdirectory into the "lib/aim-listener" subdirectory of your Program D installation.
  3. Copy the "aim-listener.jar" file from the "distrib" subdirectory into the "lib/aim-listener" subdirectory of your Program D installation.
  4. Open "conf/listeners.xml" from your Program D installation, and set the AIM listener to enabled="true". Set the userid and password to the correct
    values for the desired AIM account.


  1. Run ProgramD as before using the simple-console.bat program.  Try chatting to the chatbot using an AIM client.

Adding a Speech Interface

These instructions explain how to make your Chatbot communication using speech, assuming you have already followed the instructions above for "Setting up a Local Chatbot." This requires downloading a 30-day evaluation copy of a Java Speech API, for which a license can be purchased for $16.

Extra First Setup

  1. Go back and download ProgramD version 4.5 at, getting the 4.5 zip "Binary" version, and install as you did 4.6.  The reason for this is that 4.5 comes preset with the Jetty web server, which will make it easier initially to get up and running with the speech interface.  Make sure to download the AIML set(s) that you want, and repeat any necessary setup steps as before.


  1. Download the latest zip version of AliceTalker from the CloudGarden web site, which is probably version 1.4.
  2. OPTIONAL: Purchase a license from CloudGarden for $16 via their web site, clicking on the "Pricing & Licensing" link. After purchase, you will receive an email with instructions and the license key.


  1. Unzip to a sensible directory, such as C:\AliceTalker.
  2. Install the license key, if your purchased it. You will do this using the LicenseManager tool in the TalkingJava SDK, where you will enter in the registration code and your email address.
  3. In the ProgramD directory, edit the chat.html file that is in C:\ProgramD\templates\html, so that line 40 (probably) now looks like this, and save the file:
  4. Connect a microphone to your PC and make sure the volume is at a reasonable level for the speakers.


  1. Change to the bin directory of ProgramD and run web-server.bat.
  2. Change to the AliceTalker directory, and run startAliceTalker.bat.
  3. Select the HTTP Connect Mode, and click the "Connect" button. Alice Talker should speak and welcome you, or give you a useful error message.
  4. Click the "Mic is off" button, which will activate the microphone.
  5. Try talking to AliceTalker, typing as before, and see what happens!

Next Cool Steps

There are more cool things to do, that I haven't tried yet.

last update: 02/23/07