The IBM Watson™ Dialog service was retired on September 8, 2016, after which no new instances of the service can be created, though existing instances of the service will continue to function until August 9, 2017. Users of the Dialog service should migrate their applications to use the IBM Watson™ Conversation service. See the documentation for the Conversation service to learn how to migrate your dialogs to that service.

The Dialog service provides a comprehensive, robust, platform for managing conversations between virtual agents and users through an application programming interface (API). These conversations are commonly referred to as dialogs.

Dialogs are created by using the REST API for the Dialog service or by calling the functions in the client-side libraries for Watson Developer Cloud applications in Node.js and Java.

The Dialog service can manage 1 - 100 dialogs. Dialog XML files can contain as many lines as necessary, but they are limited to 200 MB.

How to use the service

The following image shows the process for using the Dialog service.


See a quick demo.

Popular uses

Create dialogs for virtual agent applications. With dialogs, humans and virtual agents can have natural, free-flowing, and human-like conversations.

Virtual agent applications that use dialogs that are created by the Dialog service can assist users in the following ways:

  • Engage in personalized, context-aware interactions

  • Answer questions

  • Provide product suggestions and decision support

  • Perform tasks and make transactions

  • Drive a user through a step-by-step process

  • Disambiguate inquiries

  • Connect with external systems

  • Show personality and have humanized interaction

  • Navigate users through websites and provide links

  • Provide interactive problem resolution


The Dialog service provides a simple, guided experience for users to quickly achieve goals without human help.

The Dialog service is easy to use. It's available through an API, so you can focus on your own business logic and application code.

Because the service is hosted by IBM, you can immediately take advantage of every improvement that we make. And the scalable IBM infrastructure removes the need for you to staff your own highly available data center.

Sample applications

The following sample applications use the Dialog service.

Sample source code and documentation is available:

  • Node.js code on GitHub for a sample Dialog application. This application requires a separate dialog definition, which you can create by using the Dialog tool.

Your feedback

We are always looking to improve and learn from your experience with our services.

You can submit comments or ask questions about the Dialog service in the Watson forum.