The Alexa Model Is Better
3 reasons why the Alexa model is better. What's different about it? Why is it better? So what? The interaction is all done using HTTPS and JSON. Read more.
The Amazon Echo, powered by the Alexa Voice Assistant, provides an exciting new interface for users. Now with Google jumping into the fray, it is only building momentum for Voice-First experiences. And the innovation goes beyond just Voice – it has also popularized a new programming model. A model that may be as exciting for developers as Voice is for users. The Amazon Echo, powered by the Alexa Voice Assistant, provides an exciting new interface for users. Now with Google jumping into the fray, it is only building momentum for Voice-First experiences. And the innovation goes beyond just Voice – it has also popularized a new programming model. The Alexa model may be as exciting for developers as Voice is for users.
What is different about it?Fundamentally, Alexa is built on Webhooks. They are illustrated below: Rather than being installed directly on a device, an Alexa app – called a Skill – is installed on a server. It listens for events from the Amazon Alexa service, and responds when they arrive. The interaction is all done using HTTPS and JSON, the backbone of modern web services. And it’s not just Alexa Skills that are built this way – this is the fundamental architecture for the majority of the Bot platforms – including Google Actions, Facebook Messenger, MS Bot Builder, Telegram, Kik, Slack, and others. Webhooks are the bot programming model.
What Does It Mean?Programming Alexa can seem so easy, it even makes it easy to overlook what a revolution it represents paradigm-wise. Amazon has built a superior app and experience delivery model. Google has caught on, but no one seems to have told Apple yet. Perhaps a buggy app has delayed delivery of the news 🙂 This model is a boon for developers – there are already more than 8,000 Alexa skills. And the number is likely to only grow faster. I am confident that anyone reading this can build a simple Alexa skill. The same is not true for a mobile app, or even a rich HTML5 web app. But the tooling for this new model is just starting to catch up. As easy as it is to get started, building great, high-quality experiences still requires good development practices. That’s why we built the Bespoken Tools. They allow for: Alexa, and Webhooks, open up whole new avenues for innovation. As users and developers, we are excited to see where they take us.
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