Tag Alexa Skills

Alexa Skill Building: 3 Lessons for Developers and Non-Developers

Earlier this year, the Bespoken team held a 1-day hackathon reserved for building our own Alexa skills from start to finish – idea to testing. Now that our skills have been published by Amazon and are available on millions of Echo devices, we need your help selecting a winner.

Before we get to the skills, we’d like to let you in on some hackathon details and share 3 key learnings from this experience. Skip to the skills.

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Automated Testing for Alexa Skills – Validation

We are very pleased to announce our Validation feature is available in Beta on the Bespoken Dashboard. You now have the power to run automated testing for your Alexa Skills – and you can do it all without talking!

With Validation, you can create a sequence of tests for Alexa by just typing. These tests are then automatically run against the actual Alexa Voice Service (AVS) and your skill. It’s magical, it’s extremely useful for ensuring voice app performance, and it goes great with our new bst speak command as well as our Virtual Device SDK. They all rely on the same underlying technology to make testing Alexa easier than ever.

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Developer Diary – Building A Cross-Platform Voice App With Jovo

I am very excited to be the newest member of the Bespoken team.

My first assignment – to build a voice app, of course! I’m an experienced full-stack developer, but this is my first voice-first project. And as part of this, I got interested in using the Jovo Framework, which I learned about from my colleagues.

Jovo allows for building cross-platform voice apps for Alexa and Google Assistant – we have been doing a lot of work to integrate our software with it (read more here). And so I was excited to try it out and learn more about the framework as well as Alexa skills and Google Actions. It seemed like a great way to come up to speed on both platforms simultaneously!

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How I Tested and Debugged My Cool New Alexa Skill

At Bespoken, we strive to eat our own dog food. And to that end, we had a recent hackathon to build our own Alexa skills. I decided to build a fun game, based on the show “The Price Is Right” – it shows you an item and asks you to guess how much it costs. I’m submitting it now – I hope you enjoy it once it is launched!

As part of the core development team, I was able to use our manual and automated testing tools to create my skill quickly, rapidly iterating through develop, test and debug cycles. Now I’m going to show you how I did it, and why I think it gave me an unfair advantage in creating a great skill, fast.

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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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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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Cómo Crear un Skill de Alexa

Hemos creado este artículo para guiar a quienes sean nuevos desarrollando para Alexa a través del proceso de creación de su propio Skill. Para seguir este tutorial, no se necesita de experiencia previa en desarrollo y creemos que, al finalizar, tanto novatos como expertos serán capaces de desarrollar su primer skill por cuenta propia..

Antes de Empezar

Para los creadores de skills principiantes o para quienes no son programadores, es recomendable empezar creando un skill sencillo acerca de “datos” (o facts en inglés). En esta guía, vamos a construir un skill de Alexa sobre uno de nuestros animales peludos favoritos – las llamas.

Al terminar, vamos a ser capaces de hablar con Alexa y ella nos dirá un dato al azar sobre las llamas.

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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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