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Packaging Guide

When you create a conversational app with maxbot it's a good choice to create your own Python package. That's what allows you to distribute your app, e.g. deploy and run it on a remote server.

Nowadays, there are several ways and tools to create Python packages (what you install with pip install something). You might even have your favorite already.

Here's a guide, showing one of the alternative ways of creating a Python package with a maxbot conversational app, from scratch.


For this tutorial we'll use Poetry.

Poetry's docs are great, so go ahead, check them and install it.

Create a Project

Let's say we want to create a maxbot application called hello-world.`

Create a project with Poetry:

$ poetry new hello-world
Created package hello_world in hello-world

Enter the new project directory:

$ cd hello-world/

You can see that you have a generated project structure that looks like:

$ tree
├── hello_world
│   └──
├── poetry.lock
├── pyproject.toml
└── tests

Dependencies and Environment

Add maxbot[all] to your dependencies. This command also creates a virtual environment for your project:

$ poetry add maxbot[all]
Creating virtualenv hello-world-g89_GtdQ-py3.9 in /Users/user_name/Library/Caches/pypoetry/virtualenvs
Using version ^0.1.0.dev20220922191958 for maxbot

Updating dependencies
Resolving dependencies... (6.9s)

Writing lock file

Package operations: 47 installs, 1 update, 0 removals

...omit lots of dependencies...
• Installing maxbot (0.1.0.dev20220922191958)

Activate that new virtual environment.

$ poetry shell
Spawning shell within /Users/user_name/Library/Caches/pypoetry/virtualenvs/hello-world-g89_GtdQ-py3.9

Create Your Bot

Now let's create an extremely simple bot.

Add the following code into the hello_world/

from maxbot import MaxBot

builder = MaxBot.builder()
# here you can customize your bot by changing builder properties
bot =

The bot uses builder.use_package_resources to load resources. __name__ is the name of the current Python package hello_world. The bot needs to know where it’s located to load resources, and __name__ is a convenient way to tell it that.

Add Resources

All resources are located in the package directory hello_world.

In our project let's create a single file hello_world/bot.yaml with the contents from Quick Start Guide:

- name: greetings
examples: [Good morning, Hello, Hi]
- name: ending
examples: [Goodbye, Bye, See you]
- condition: intents.greetings
response: |
Good day to you!
- condition: intents.ending
response: |
OK. See you later.
- condition: true
response: |
Sorry I don't understand.

Of course, if you have a lot of resources, you can split them into multiple files and subdirectories in the package directory.

Keep Your Secrets

The telegram channel settings in the bot.yaml contains api_token which is the secret token used to authenticate your bot. It's good practice to store such secrets in environment variables rather than in code.

So write the reference to the environment variable TELEGRAM_API_KEY instead of actual value YOUR_TELEGRAM_API_TOKEN.

api_token: !ENV ${TELEGRAM_API_KEY}

Perhaps you don't want to reveal your secret to anyone, not even your team. Then a good place to put your secret environment variables is the virtualenv’s activate script. This script is located outside the project directory and will not be accessible to anyone but you.

You can get the path to your virtualenv with the poetry env info -p command. So put the following contents to the end of the script $(poetry env info -p)/bin/activate:


Activating the virtualenv will set the variables.

Install your package

You can now install your package:

$ poetry install
Installing dependencies from lock file

No dependencies to install or update

Installing the current project: hello-world (0.1.0)

Your package is installed in editable mode in the environment created by Poetry. Editable (or development) mode means that as you make changes to your local code, you’ll only need to re-install if you change the metadata about the project, such as its dependencies.

Run The Bot

Now you can run your bot using the maxbot run command.

The maxbot command is installed by maxbot package, not your application. It must be told where to find your bot in order to use it. The --bot option is used to specify how to load the bot.

Your bot is in the hello_world package in the variable called bot. So type the following

$ maxbot run --bot hello_world:bot

You’ll see output similar to this:

TODO: just ptb logs for now

Open your telegram bot in the Telegram app, type "hello" and see the answer. Congratulations, you’re now running your maxbot conversational application!

Test your code


  • just plain python tests using pytest
  • need a bit advanced codebase to test it

Write some stories


  • move stories from "quick start" tutorial
  • need pytest plugin to run the stories
  • need click environments and dotenv to not to repeat --bot option

Create a wheel package

Python packages have a standard format called a "wheel". It's a file that ends in .whl.

You can create a wheel with Poetry:

$ poetry build
Building hello-world (0.1.0)
- Building sdist
- Built hello-world-0.1.0.tar.gz
- Building wheel
- Built hello_world-0.1.0-py3-none-any.whl

After that, if you check in your project directory, you should now have a couple of extra files at dist/:

$ tree dist/
├── hello-world-0.1.0.tar.gz
└── hello_world-0.1.0-py3-none-any.whl

The .whl is the wheel file. You can send that wheel file to anyone and they can use it to install your program.

The wheel file only includes source code and resources contained in the hello_world/ directory (your Python package).

Deploy your package

Let's say you have a server that you want to deploy your bot to. If you don't have a server you can open another terminal and set up a new virtual environment on your development computer to try out the instructions below.

You need to copy the wheel file to your server then install it with pip.

$ pip install hello_world-0.1.0-py3-none-any.whl

This will install your package along with its dependencies, i.e. the maxbot package.

The next step is to configure your application by setting the required environment variables on your server. The way you set variables depends on your server setup. We just export the variables before running the application.

Now you have your conversatinoal app installed and configured on yor server. And you can use it freely:

$ maxbot run --bot hello_world:bot

What's next

  • Use Git, the version control system, to save your code.
  • Integrate a CI tool to run your tests and deploy your package automatically.