Atomist Bot

Atomist can now be put to work, creating projects, editing code, managing issues, and generally tying your whole development process together. Let’s kick things off by having the Atomist Bot create a new project for us.

Create a new project

You can ask the Atomist Bot to create a new project for you either through a direct message or by addressing the Bot in a channel it has been invited to. For our purposes, we will assume you are starting the conversation in your Slack team’s #general channel, which the Atomist Bot joins when invited to your Slack team, and that the Atomist Bot is named @atomist. In the #general channel, type the following message.

@atomist generators

The Atomist Bot will reply with a list of project generators that it can use on your behalf to create a new project in GitHub. The Atomist Bot will respond with a list of project generators something like the following.

List of project generators

While the full list of project generators can be useful if you are just browsing, we want to create a Spring Boot REST service, so we can narrow down the list by providing a search term, “spring” in this case.

@atomist generators spring

This time the Atomist Bot will respond with a list of project generators matching the search term, including the NewSpringBootRestService generator.

Entry for the NewSpringBootRestService

Click on the “Generate project” button to begin the process of creating your new project.

Starting a dialogue with Atomist to create a new project

The Atomist Bot will respond with a message telling you what project generator you created and then start a thread off that message to gather the information it needs to generate the project. Click now on the “1 reply” link below the message to open up the thread in Slack. You will see that the Atomist Bot has asked you a question in the thread.

Project creation thread with Atomist

Type in a name for your new project and press Enter. The project name must be a valid GitHub repository name, containing only letters, numbers, dashes (-), and underscores (_). Since the project name is the only required input parameter for the NewSpringBootRestService generator, the Atomist Bot will respond with a message showing the project name you entered and the default values for all the other input parameters.

Project parameters all set

You can change the value for any of the parameters by typing in set <parameter> <value> before you click on Generate project.

Now click on Generate project and you’ll see several things happen:

  • In the thread, the Atomist Bot will announce “One moment while I run the generator.”
  • Atomist will go and create the repository for you in the GitHub account you previously authorized.
  • The Atomist Bot will announce that it has “Successfully generated your project” back in the main channel where the project creation thread was started in, in our case that would be #general. The announcement will contain a link to the newly generated project.
  • Atomist will create a new channel in your Slack team for the new project, that will also be associated with the project’s repository so when you want to work on that project, you do it in that channel.

If you are working through these steps in the Atomist Community Slack, the new repository will be created under your personal GitHub account and the Atomist Bot will not create a Slack channel for the repository.

Link existing channels and repositories

The Atomist Bot will automatically link repositories and channels it creates, but you can link existing repositories to channels too. See Using Atomist on existing projects below.

Here’s what the successful project creation message looks like:

Project creation response from Atomist

Click on the project link to see your project in GitHub.

GitHub Project page

Clone your new repository from GitHub and you will have a new, working project courtesy of Atomist.

GitHub and CI notifications

In addition to creating projects and Slack channels, Atomist can react to events that occur on your repositories as well. Still in Slack, go to the new channel Atomist created for your new project. The channel will have the same name as the repository.

If the name of the project you created is longer than 21 characters, the channel name will be truncated to 21 characters, the maximum length channel name Slack allows.

If you are working through these steps in the Atomist Community Slack, a Slack channel will not be created. You can see example GitHub and CI notifications in channels associated with the Atomist open source project repositories like #rug and #rug-cli.

Make sure your new repository is set up to automatically build on your CI system. Once the CI is configured for the project, let’s make a small change in project and commit it to see what the commit and build messages look like.


In this example, the project is enabled in Travis CI, so our commit triggers a Travis CI build. Atomist, being connected to both GitHub and Travis CI, receives information about the commit from GitHub and a notifications from Travis CI about each step of the build process. Below you see a message from the Atomist Bot correlating the commit with the just-started build.

Commit Notification

GitHub Issues and Pull Requests

Atomist can send messages when events occur on issues and pull requests (PRs), for example when a PR is opened or someone comments on an issue. Here’s an example of a message the Atomist Bot sends when someone closes and issue.

GitHub Issue Close Message

Changing GitHub from Slack

Getting well-formatted message in Slack about what is happening to your project on GitHub is nice, but it only scratches the surface of what Atomist can do. In addition to passively receiving and then displaying GitHub events, Atomist can generate and modify code and open issues and PRs, all without you ever having to leave Slack. Let’s use the Atomist Bot to create a GitHub Issue for us.

We can open GitHub Issues without leaving Slack by sending a create issue message to the Atomist Bot. When running commands like this, the Atomist Bot is aware of the context in which it is asked to run the skill. This allows the Atomist Bot to collect less information in certain situations. As an example, let’s run the create issue command in the #general channel of your Slack team.

@atomist create issue

The Atomist Bot responds in a thread, collecting the information it needs to send to the command handler.

Creating a GitHub Issue in #general

Since the #general channel is not linked to a specific GitHub repository, the Atomist Bot must ask you in what repository you want to create the issue.

Compare this to sending the same create issue message sent to the Atomist Bot in the #sprocket channel it created earlier when it generated the sprocket project for us. When the Atomist Bot created the project and channel, it linked them together. This linking becomes part of the context when the Atomist Bot responds to messages in that channel. In this case, this means that when you run commands that require a GitHub repository as input in the #sprocket channel, the Atomist Bot does not need to ask you for the repository name, it already knows and supplies that information to the command handler automatically.

As usual, your Atomist Bot will start a thread to collect all the information necessary it needs to complete the request, creating a new issue on the sprocket project.

Creating an Issue

Once you have entered all the needed information, your Atomist Bot will respond with a summary and the option to submit or cancel.

Issue Summary

Click the “Submit” button and Atomist will create the issue and then respond back in the main #sprocket channel.

Issue Created

But that’s not where the interaction stops. The Atomist Bot will also post a message in the #sprocket channel containing a summary of the newly created issue and some buttons for common actions taken on issues: assign it someone, add a label, add a comment, etc.

Issue Created

Go ahead and click on the link to see the issue on GitHub.

Issue in GitHub

Now head back to the #sprocket channel in Slack and click on the “Bug” button to add the “bug” label to the issue:

Issue labelled as a Bug

We see the Atomist Bot responding that it has successfully edited the issue. Let’s make sure. Click on the link to open up the issue in GitHub.

Issue in GitHub

We can see that Atomist, as us, has labeled the issue a bug, just as we asked.

Now imagine that you are another team member who has noticed this new issue and wants to add a comment from inside GitHub. Using the GitHub web interface, add a comment and click the “Comment” button.

New comment on issue in GitHub

You will see a new message in the #sprocket channel from the Atomist Bot notifying you that the issue has been updated.

New comment notification in Slack

The circle is complete! After connecting Atomist and GitHub, we can see GitHub events in Slack, take action on them, and see the result in GitHub and Slack.

Using Atomist on existing projects

You almost certainly have many existing projects that you would like Atomist’s help keeping track of. To get Atomist’s help with an existing GitHub repository, simply invite the Atomist Bot to a channel where you discuss that repository. You can invite the Atomist Bot to a channel just as you would invite any other user, e.g., by using the /invite @atomist command. Once the Atomist Bot is in the channel, you can tell the Atomist Bot what repository to associate with the channel using by sending it the repo message. The repo command takes a single argument, the name of the repository you want to associate with the channel. You supply just the name of the repository, not including the repository owner since the Atomist Bot already knows what GitHub organization is associated with your Slack team.

@atomist repo REPOSITORY_NAME

If you are working through these steps in the Atomist Community Slack, associations can only be made with repositories in the atomist GitHub organization.

Once the association is made, the Atomist Bot will begin reporting on activity in the associated repository and you can interact with the repository, creating and assigning issues, etc., just as you do with channels the Atomist Bot creates when it generates a project.

At any time you can ask the Atomist Bot to tell you what repository is associated with the current channel by sending it the repos message.

@atomist repos

The Atomist Bot will respond with the repositories linked to the current channel, providing links to the repositories and buttons to allow you to quickly un-link the channel and repository.

Repositories linked to a channel