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October 6, 2017 in Blog

Debugging Alexa Skills With VS Code and Bespoken

TL;DR Building Alexa skills in Visual Studio (VS) Code with JavaScript? Make it work even better with our CLI – especially for debugging.

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

More information on how we deliver Alexa requests straight to your door, er, laptop here. 🙂

To step through an Alexa skill, first install bespoken-tools package as part of your project:
npm install bespoken-tools --save-dev

Next, add a launch configuration – access configurations via Debug -> Open Configurations. Create a configuration that looks like this:

"version": "0.2.0",
"configurations": [
"type": "node",
"request": "launch",
"name": "Launch Proxy",
"program": "${workspaceRoot}/node_modules/bespoken-tools/bin/bst-proxy.js",
"args": ["lambda", "src/index.js"],
"cwd": "${workspaceRoot}"

Make sure to put the relative path to your index.js in the args section.

Now, we can try running it – select Debug -> Start Debugging. If everything is working correctly, you will see output like this:

debugging alexa skills

Here we are adding a breakpoint and testing it with the service simulator:

Doesn’t that make things easier? Use this to pinpoint issues with REAL requests from Alexa in your skills!

And if VS Code is not your cup of tea, we also have a tutorial for WebStorm.

Hope that helps – please reach out to us in Slack or Gitter if you have any questions!

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