Friday, January 13, 2017

Creating your own Alexa Skill is easy

I started searching on how to build Alexa skills.  I was pretty sure it was going to be some crazy Node or Java solution that used AWS super geeky services.  While this excited my ex hacker (meaning noob coder) desires but then, made me puke a little too.  Well, I was right.  You have to know Node.js or Java.  You have to use Lamda functions.  To do more advanced stuff you can get into APIs and dynomo db or what ever else you need in AWS.

Are you ready to give up yet?  DON'T.  The Alexa team is brilliant.  They are doing a great job of making the Alexa solution as easy as possible.  The development team is providing quick start guides that are very well done.

I followed the guide below and with in an hour I had it working on Alexa.  I have never used Node.js or Lamada but now I can add it to my LinkedIn skills.  Yea!!!

The hardest part was deciding the Intent name.  You have to decide, and can change it later, what you want to say.  Alex, do this or Alexa, what is or Alexa, how many....

I recommend deciding your Intent first and just to challenge your self, try to change the code and setup to match your Intent as you follow this guide.  It will force you to figure out how it works.  If you want to just follow it, that is cool too.

The next morning I had my girls saying "Alexa, Just do it" and some funny personalized phrases coming back.  Alexa did a great job of saying all of our names and even our dogs names.

I am trying to think of a really good use case to build a real skill for the market place.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

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