Every week the Alexa team streams unique content on the Amazon Alexa Twitch channel to share voice design best practices, build skills from start to finish, and interact with the skill-building community. We stream shows covering most of the topics developers are interested in, and we also broadcast our weekly developer office hours.
Some of our most popular Twitch streams are ones where we build voice experiences from scratch, giving viewers an end-to-end look at the skill-building process. I recently concluded a series of episodes for a show called the Joy of Voice, during which I built a Star Wars database Alexa skill from start to finish. I did all of the development on the stream, so you can watch the episodes in order and see how everything was created.
Here is a quick recap of each episode and what viewers learned. Watch the on-demand videos below to check out the full series.
Episode 1: The One Where We Get Started
In this opening episode, we start creating the Star Wars database skill, which will allow a customer to ask about a droid, person, planet, vehicle, or weapon from the Star Wars universe. The episode covers invocation naming, creating and testing intents, and how to build a new AWS Lambda function to catch the user interactions from those intents. Watch the video below:
- Tips for Choosing an Invocation Name for Your Alexa Custom Skill
- Things Every Alexa Skill Should Do: Use a Memorable Invocation Name and Utterances
- Things Every Alexa Skill Should Do: Respond to Intents, Not Just Commands
Episode 2: The One With Custom Slots
Each of our intents has its own custom slot for the different types of data in our Star Wars skill, but managing that data can become an extensive task. We introduce an external data service called AirTable, which makes it easier for us to create content and manage skill data. Watch the video below:
- Why a Custom Slot is the Literal Solution
- How to Make It Easy for Teams to Contribute Content to Your Alexa Skill
Episode 3: The One With Entity Resolution
Now that we have a full database and customers can make requests for content from our skill, we need to be able to match a customer’s input to one of our records. This episode covers how to use entity resolution to accomplish this. Watch the video below:
- Entity Resolution in Skill Builder
- Alexa Skill Teardown: Understanding Entity Resolution with the Pet Match Skill
- New Training Course: Learn How to Create Conversational Skills on Codecademy
Episode 4: The One Where We Change the SDK Version
While we were filming this Twitch series, we released version 2 of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Software Development Kit (SDK) for Node.js. This episode focused on porting our entire skill from version 1 to version 2 of the SDK. Watch the video below:
Episode 5: The One With In-Skill Purchases
Now with in-skill purchasing, you can make money with your Alexa skills. This episode shows how to monetize your skill by creating and adding in-skill products. We put some of our skill content behind a paywall and walk through the upsell experience that offers premium content to a customer. Watch the video below:
- Understanding the In-Skill Purchasing Experience
- How to Build an Alexa Skill with In-Skill Purchasing
- New Alexa Skill Sample: Add In-Skill Products with One-Time Purchases and Subscriptions
We are currently planning our next series of episodes for the Joy of Voice (in addition to a number of other shows), and we would love your feedback. Reach out to me at @jeffblankenburg on Twitter to let us know what you would like to see!
Join Us Every Week on Twitch
You can find the Alexa team on Twitch every week at twitch.tv/amazonalexa. If you would like to get notifications every time we stream, make sure to follow our channel by clicking the purple heart icon. You can also tune into Twitch every Tuesday at 1 p.m. PST for developer office hours. During these weekly one-hour sessions, a rotating cast of Alexa evangelists are available to answer your skill-building questions.
Source: Alexa Developer Blog