Implement a new Adapter

Adapters let you interact with the outside world by receiving and sending messages. Joe currently has the following seven Adapter implementations:

If you want to integrate with a chat service that is not listed above, you can write your own Adapter implementation.

Adapters are Modules

Firstly, your adapter should be available as joe.Module so it can easily be integrated into the bot via the joe.New(…) function.

The Module interface looks like this:

// A Module is an optional Bot extension that can add new capabilities such as
// a different Memory implementation or Adapter.
type Module interface {
	Apply(*Config) error

To easily implement a Module without having to declare an Apply function on your chat adapter type, you can use the joe.ModuleFunc type. For instance the Slack adapter uses the following, to implement it’s Adapter(…) function:

// Adapter returns a new Slack adapter as joe.Module.
// Apart from the typical joe.ReceiveMessageEvent event, this adapter also emits
// the joe.UserTypingEvent. The ReceiveMessageEvent.Data field is always a
// pointer to the corresponding instance.
func Adapter(token string, opts ...Option) joe.Module {
	return joe.ModuleFunc(func(joeConf *joe.Config) error {
		conf, err := newConf(token, joeConf, opts)
		if err != nil {
			return err

		a, err := NewAdapter(joeConf.Context, conf)
		if err != nil {
			return err

		return nil

The passed *joe.Config parameter can be used to lookup general options such as the context.Context used by the bot. Additionally you can create a named logger via the Config.Logger(…) function and you can register extra handlers or emit events via the Config.EventEmitter() function.

Most importantly for an Adapter implementation however is, that it finally needs to register itself via the Config.SetAdapter(…) function.

By defining an Adapter(…) function in your package, it is now possible to use your adapter as Module passed to joe.New(…). Additionally your NewAdapter(…) function is useful to directly create a new adapter instance which can be used during unit tests. Last but not least, the options pattern has proven useful in this kind of setup and is considered good practice when writing modules in general.

The Adapter Interface

// An Adapter connects the bot with the chat by enabling it to receive and send
// messages. Additionally advanced adapters can emit more events than just the
// ReceiveMessageEvent (e.g. the slack adapter also emits the UserTypingEvent).
// All adapter events must be setup in the RegisterAt function of the Adapter.
// Joe provides a default CLIAdapter implementation which connects the bot with
// the local shell to receive messages from stdin and print messages to stdout.
type Adapter interface {
	Send(text, channel string) error
	Close() error

The most straight forwards function to implement should be the Send(…) and Close(…) functions. The Send function should output the given text to the specified channel as the Bot. The initial connection and authentication to send these messages should have been setup earlier by your Adapter function as shown above. When the bot shuts down, it will call the Close() function of your adapter so you can terminate your connection and release all resources you have opened.

In order to also receive messages and pass them to Joe’s event handler you need to implement a RegisterAt(*joe.Brain) function. This function gets called during the setup of the bot and allows the adapter to directly access to the Brain. This function must not block and thus will typically spawn a new goroutine which should be stopped when the Close() function of your adapter implementation is called.

In this goroutine you should listen for new messages from your chat application (e.g. via a callback or polling it). When a new message is received, you need to emit it as joe.ReceiveMessageEvent to the brain.

E.g. for the Slack adapter, this looks like this:

func (a *BotAdapter) handleMessageEvent(ev *slack.MessageEvent, brain *joe.Brain) {
	// Check if the message comes from ourselves.
	if ev.User == a.userID {
		// Message is from us, ignore it!

	// Check if we have a direct message, or standard channel post.
	selfLink := a.userLink(a.userID)
	direct := strings.HasPrefix(ev.Msg.Channel, "D")
	if !direct && !strings.Contains(ev.Msg.Text, selfLink) {
		// Message is not meant for us!

	text := strings.TrimSpace(strings.TrimPrefix(ev.Text, selfLink))
		Text:     text,
		Channel:  ev.Channel,
		ID:       ev.Timestamp, // slack uses the message timestamps as identifiers within the channel
		AuthorID: ev.User,
		Data:     ev,

In the snippet above you can see some of the common pitfalls:

  • the adapter should ignore it’s own messages or it risks ending up in an infinitive loop
  • the adapter must make sure the message is actually intended for the bot
  • maybe the message needs to be trimmed
  • you should try and fill all fields of the joe.ReceiveMessageEvent

Optional Interfaces

Currently there is only a single optional interface that can be implemented by an Adapter, which is the joe.ReactionAwareAdapter:

// ReactionAwareAdapter is an optional interface that Adapters can implement if
// they support reacting to messages with emojis.
type ReactionAwareAdapter interface {
	React(reactions.Reaction, Message) error

This interface is meant for chat adapters that have emoji support to attach reactions to previously received messages (e.g. 👍 or 🤖).

Getting Help

Generally writing an adapter should not be very hard but it’s a good idea to look at the other adapter implementations to get a better understanding of how to implement your own. If you have questions or need help, simply open an issue at the Joe repository at GitHub.

Happy adaptering 🤖🎉