Use Snapshots to create a self-contained deployment package of your Virtual Agent.
A Snapshot preserves all resources (e.g. Flows, Lexicons, Connections), logic, content, configuration, NLU models and even Extensions of your Virtual Agent in one single, downloadable package.
You can use Snapshots e.g. to
- deploy a stable version of your Virtual Agent to a customer-facing Endpoint while maintaining the ability to make changes to development or staging versions with 100% peace of mind that your deployed version won't change
- transfer Virtual Agents between Dev-, Q&A- and Prod-environments (manually or automatically)
- create cyclical backups of your Virtual Agents and store them in external repositories
Note that Endpoints are not included in Snapshots, enabling you to effectively decouple Virtual Agents' backend development from their frontend channel.
#1 Create a Snapshot
Navigate to Deploy in the sidebar and go to Snapshots. Select New Snapshot, define a name like "Production" and click Save. Your Snapshot is created in the background. When your Snapshot is ready, you will receive a notification and it appears in the Snapshot list.
#2 Change your Flow
In this example, add a Say Node right after the Start Node. Use a text like "This is a test". This is to later see the difference between the Snapshot version of the Flow and the Flow in the Editor.
#3 Test it in the Interaction Panel
When you start a chat in the Interaction Panel, the Virtual Agent will - as expected - reply with "This is a test." Now notice that the Interaction Panel has an additional dropdown that reads "No Snapshot". Change it to "Production". Chatting now will execute the Flow as it is preserved in the Snapshot.
#4 Configure an Endpoint
Go to Endpoints, select an Endpoint or create one if you haven't already. You'll see that "Snapshot" is now a mandatory field: You can choose to use the latest version of your Virtual Agent (the one you see e.g. in the Flow editor) for your endpoint or a Snapshot version.
#5 Work with Snapshots
Go back to Snapshots. Select the "more options" menu on your Snapshot. Click "Prepare Download". The entire Virtual Agent (excluding the Endpoints) is now packaged into one file. When the preparation is finished, your Snapshot is ready for download by clicking the cloud icon with the arrow down. The cloud icon on top of the screen allows you import a Snapshot file.
Note that all of these actions can also be triggered from the upcoming CLI tool to enable a fully integrated CI/CD pipeline.
Now chose the Restore option under "more options". The Snapshot will now be restored and replace all logic. Be aware that everything in your Virtual Agent will be overwritten by the Snapshot. (Hint: If you create another fresh Snapshot before restoring, you can switch back and forth between both states.) Check the Flow to confirm your Say Node from Step 2 is now gone.