Process information inputted by users

This guide describes how to receive and read the information that users enter in card messages and dialogs. Users can input data that Chat apps receive, read, and respond to. Widgets that let users enter information include the following:

  • TextInput for free-form text entry that also supports suggestions.
  • SelectionInput for list items and menus, like checkboxes, radio buttons, and drop-down menus.
  • DateTimePicker for date and time entries.


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Receiving data input from users lets Chat apps do things such as the following:

  • Update customer service cases.
  • Create work orders.
  • Authenticate with web services.

How receiving data works

A Chat app presents information to the user as a dialog or card message. In this example, a dialog asks the user to enter information about a contact using the TextInput and SelectionInput widgets:

A dialog featuring a variety of different widgets.

When finished, the Chat app receives the data that users entered in the dialog in JSON format and an interaction event where:

To get data about what users inputted, use the Event.common.formInputs field in the event payload. The formInputs field is a map where keys are string IDs assigned to each widget and values represent user input for each widget. Different objects represent different input data types. For example, Event.common.formInputs.stringInputs represent string inputs.

Your app can access the first user-entered value at event.common.formInputs.NAME.stringInputs.value[0], where NAME is the name field of a TextInput widget.

Receive data from cards

When a user inputs data in a card message, your Chat app receives a Chat app interaction event, such as the following example:

JSON

{
  "type": enum (EventType),
  "eventTime": string,
  "threadKey": string,
  "message": {
    object (Message)
  },
  "user": {
    object (User)
  },
  "space": {
    object (Space)
  },
  "action": {
    object (FormAction)
  },
  "configCompleteRedirectUrl": string,
  "common": {

    // Represents user data entered in a card.
    "formInputs": {

      // Represents user data entered for a specific field in a card.
      "NAME": {

        // Represents string data entered in a card, like text input fields
        // and check boxes.
        "stringInputs": {

          // An array of strings entered by the user in a card.
          "value": [
            string
          ]
        }
      }
    },
    "parameters": {
      string: string,
      ...
    },
    "invokedFunction": string
  }
}

Receive data from dialogs

When a user submits data in a dialog, your Chat app receives another Chat app interaction event, such as the following example:

JSON

{
  "type": enum (EventType),
  "eventTime": string,
  "threadKey": string,
  "message": {
    object (Message)
  },
  "user": {
    object (User)
  },
  "space": {
    object (Space)
  },
  "action": {
    object (FormAction)
  },
  "configCompleteRedirectUrl": string,

  // Indicates that this event is dialog-related.
  "isDialogEvent": true,

  // Indicates that a user clicked a button, and all data
  // they entered in the dialog is included in Event.common.formInputs.
  "dialogEventType": "SUBMIT_DIALOG",
  "common": {
    "userLocale": string,
    "hostApp": enum (HostApp),
    "platform": enum (Platform),
    "timeZone": {
      object (TimeZone)
    },

    // Represents user data entered in a dialog.
    "formInputs": {

      // Represents user data entered for a specific field in a dialog.
      "NAME": {

        // Represents string data entered in a dialog, like text input fields
        // and check boxes.
        "stringInputs": {

          // An array of strings entered by the user in a dialog.
          "value": [
            string
          ]
        }
      }
    },
    "parameters": {
      string: string,
      ...
    },
    "invokedFunction": string
  }
}

Respond to data collected from a card message or dialog

After receiving the data from a card message or dialog, the Chat app responds by either acknowledging receipt or by returning an error, both of which are done by returning an ActionResponse:

  • To acknowledge successful receipt, respond with an ActionResponse parameter that has "actionStatus": "OK".
  • To return an error, respond with an ActionResponse parameter that has "actionStatus": "ERROR MESSAGE".

Example

The following example checks for the presence of a name value. If absent, the app returns an error. If present, the app acknowledges receipt of the form data and closes the dialog.

Node.js

/**
 * Checks for a form input error, the absence of
 * a "name" value, and returns an error if absent.
 * Otherwise, confirms successful receipt of a dialog.
 *
 * Confirms successful receipt of a dialog.
 *
 * @param {Object} event the event object from Chat API.
 *
 * @return {object} open a Dialog in Google Chat.
 */
function receiveDialog(event) {

  // Checks to make sure the user entered a name
  // in a dialog. If no name value detected, returns
  // an error message.
  if (event.common.formInputs.WIDGET_NAME.stringInputs.value[0] == "") {
    res.json({
      "actionResponse": {
        "type": "DIALOG",
        "dialogAction": {
          "actionStatus": "Don't forget to name your new contact!"
        }
      }
    });

  // Otherwise the app indicates that it received
  // form data from the dialog. Any value other than "OK"
  // gets returned as an error. "OK" is interpreted as
  // code 200, and the dialog closes.
  } else {
    res.json({
      "actionResponse": {
        "type": "DIALOG",
        "dialogAction": {
          "actionStatus": "OK"
        }
      }
    });
  }
}

Apps Script

/**
 * Checks for a form input error, the absence of
 * a "name" value, and returns an error if absent.
 * Otherwise, confirms successful receipt of a dialog.
 *
 * Confirms successful receipt of a dialog.
 *
 * @param {Object} event the event object from Chat API.
 *
 * @return {object} open a Dialog in Google Chat.
 */
function receiveDialog(event) {

  // Checks to make sure the user entered a name
  // in a dialog. If no name value detected, returns
  // an error message.
  if (event.common.formInputs.WIDGET_NAME[""].stringInputs.value[0] == "") {
    return {
      "actionResponse": {
        "type": "DIALOG",
        "dialogAction": {
          "actionStatus": "Don't forget to name your new contact!"
        }
      }
    };

  // Otherwise the app indicates that it received
  // form data from the dialog. Any value other than "OK"
  // gets returned as an error. "OK" is interpreted as
  // code 200, and the dialog closes.
  } else {
    return {
      "actionResponse": {
        "type": "DIALOG",
        "dialogAction": {
          "actionStatus": "OK"
        }
      }
    };
  }
}

Python

def receive_dialog(event: Mapping[str, Any]) -> Mapping[str, Any]:
  """Checks for a form input error, the absence of a "name" value, and returns
     an error if absent. Otherwise, confirms successful receipt of a dialog.

  Args:
      event (Mapping[str, Any]): the event object from Chat API.

  Returns:
      Mapping[str, Any]: the response.
  """

  if common := event.get('common'):
    if form_inputs := common.get('formInputs'):
      if contact_name := form_inputs.get('WIDGET_NAME'):
        if string_inputs := contact_name.get('stringInputs'):
          if name := string_inputs.get('value')[0]:
            return {
              'actionResponse': {
                'type': 'DIALOG',
                'dialogAction': {
                  'actionStatus': 'OK'
                }
              }
            }
          else:
            return {
              'actionResponse': {
                'type': 'DIALOG',
                'dialogAction': {
                  'actionStatus': 'Don\'t forget to name your new contact!'
                }
              }
            }

Troubleshoot

When a Google Chat app or card returns an error, the Chat interface surfaces a message saying "Something went wrong." or "Unable to process your request." Sometimes the Chat UI doesn't display any error message, but the Chat app or card produces an unexpected result; for example, a card message might not appear.

Although an error message might not display in the Chat UI, descriptive error messages and log data are available to help you fix errors when error logging for Chat apps is turned on. For help viewing, debugging, and fixing errors, see Troubleshoot and fix Google Chat errors.