Blog Announcements, Tutorials, Thought Leadership

Build an Alexa Skill with Bespoken in Boulder, Austin, and Lima

As voice developers and software engineers, we live and breathe voice-first technology every day. And with the recent onslaught of voice powered hardware and software announcements from Amazon and Google, the industry will be hard to ignore even with non-developers.

We know most of you interact with us via the BST command line interface, the Bespoken dashboard, or maybe in the Alexa Slack group or @bespokenio on Twitter. While we are grateful for our numerous digital interactions, we remain dedicated to the unique needs of voice developers. That’s why we’re spending the last two weeks of October presenting at three meetups.

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Debugging Alexa Skills With VS Code and Bespoken

Visual Studio Code is a very popular developer environment for building Alexa skills with Javascript. And we think it works even better with our Bespoken CLI – especially for debugging.

With it, you can easily step through an Alexa skill, using the REAL interactions coming from Alexa. A quick illustration on how our proxy works:

bst Proxy Flow

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Unit Testing Alexa Skills Using Virtual Alexa

Meet Virtual Alexa – a magical emulator that is an essential tool for unit testing Alexa skills. Check it out on Github, or read the API docs here.

Virtual Alexa is based on our existing BSTAlexa emulator, but we’ve taken it to the next level. 🙂

What are our motivations for creating this? We wanted to provide:

  • An intuitive, natural way to unit test Alexa skills programmatically – as if you were speaking to the device
  • A simpler interface for startup and teardown of tests
  • A first-class project in its own right

We see the Virtual Alexa emulator as a standalone, highly useful project, and so we have moved it to its own repository. It really has taken on a life of its own, independent of our core CLI project, bst, as it is foundational to other new pieces we are working on.

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The Future of Voice On The Voicebot Podcast

In episode 6 of The Voicebot Podcast, our very own founder and CEO John Kelvie joins Bret Kinsella, editor of voicebot.ai for a conversation about voice apps, voice diagnostics, and the future of voice.

As longtime acquaintances working in similar spaces for over a decade, listen in on this candid and intriguing recording between two industry experts.

Highlights include:

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Hello, It’s Me – Bespoken

Welcome to the new look of Bespoken. We still offer the same tools, but now they are not part of the name.

Today, the Bespoken brand goes animal style. As in, we are excited to reveal a new logo and website featuring our favorite digital creature, the Bespoken Llama.

To celebrate, we are giving away two Amazon Echo Shows to two lucky users that sign-up before Sept 30. Sign-up for the Bespoken dashboard, integrate our SDK in 5-minutes, and complete a short survey – and you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win. See complete rules and guidelines.

Take a peek at the new site, and update your browser bookmarks to bespoken.io. Current users, log in to your Bespoken dashboard at apps.bespoken.io/dashboard.

You may be wondering what inspired the colorful new look and the cute llama with the fluffy tail. Well, let me share the short story of our rebrand.

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Serverless Plugin For Local AWS Lambda Development

We love the Serverless Framework, and use it with our own internal development.

However, as much as we love it, we knew at least one thing it was missing: the Bespoken proxy.

But not anymore – now with our Serverless plugin, you can develop and test your AWS Lambdas developed with Serverless locally. Send HTTP requests and responses directly to your laptop while you’re developing, no deployment required.

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Monitoring For Alexa Skills and Google Actions

We are pleased to announce the release of our monitoring software and alerting notifications for Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant.

Monitoring works with either HTTP-based or Lambda-based voice apps, and regularly pings your service to ensure that it is alive and responding in a timely fashion.

Any issues, and you will get an email alert immediately. It’s easy to setup, and works in tandem with our already in-depth logging features.

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Silent Echo For Alexa – Now In Beta

We are pleased to announce the Beta version of Silent Echo – Speak to Alexa without Talking!

The service includes:

  • UI – To interact with your virtual Silent Echo device without using your voice.
  • Bot – To interact with Silent Echo via Slack.
  • SDK – To interact with the Silent Echo SDK programmatically.

We think these are very useful tools, and hope you enjoy them and find them helpful as well!

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Introducing Actions On Google Support

We love the Google Assistant and Actions on Google, and have been working with them since their release late last year.

We are pleased that we now have support for them natively in our tools, both our bst proxy as well as Logless diagnostics dashboard. And we are thrilled to be recognized by Google on their Monitoring & Tools page, the only monitoring provider to have this recognition.

We believe Bespoken’s offering is a great asset for developing first-class Conversation Actions.

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