Amazon Alexa & Echo Voice Skill Development

“Alexa, how do I program skills for you?”

The journey to proficiency in voice search and creating digital assistants

I originally wrote the this intro snippet for Alexa Skill Development in calendar Q1 2017. For now, I’ve included it below, but it’s worth mentioning that the growth we thought we’d see in voice search, skill usage and voice assistant adoption has been soft vs. our expectations.

Here’s what 2017 me had to say: voice search and digital assistants are taking the digital marketing and search landscape by storm. For my part, learning Amazon Alexa Skill development is an important next step to both understanding the consumer behavior and technology shifts in play. Please follow along with my journey and get in touch with questions or comments.

1: Alexa skill development from the absolute beginning

The start of my shared journey into becoming a better Amazon Alexa skill developer. Start with me.

2: Getting started with Alexa skill development in AWS

Getting started with Alexa skill development by setting up an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account. Note: this content may now be out of date.

3: Getting started with the Alexa developer portal

Getting started with Alexa skill development by setting up an account for the Alexa Developer Portal. (Slightly different from the previous AWS setup, and necessary to proceed.) Note: this content may now be out of date as Amazon continuously updates its interface.

4: How to build your own Amazon Alexa / Echo from a Raspberry Pi

Note: this is an optional section. It’s also extremely technical, but informative. We walk through the process of hardware collection, AWS setup and software installation, leading to having a fully functional Amazon Alexa, DIY-style.

5: Testing your DIY Amazon Alexa Pi

After walking through snow, uphill both ways and doing battle with too much command line, we completed the DIY Alexa Raspberry Pi. This quick post walks through the testing and validation process, with a happy ending!

6: Developing your first Amazon Alexa skill, part 1

We take a lot of baby steps in this article, primarily AWS set up and configuration. It’s not sexy, but contains the necessary steps for us to start playing with invocation, utterance samples and so forth. An essential read!

7: Developing your first Amazon Alexa skill, part 2

In this article, we get a bit more hands on with the configurations pertaining to voice search. Here, we specify a(n) (simple) interaction model, specify intent schemas, provide sample utterances and lay some other key foundations in submitting our Alexa skill for certification.

8: Going interactive – developing an Alexa quiz skill, part 1

It’s time to level up! In this article, we start building out an interactive Alexa quiz skill based on the popular reindeerGames example. Stay tuned as we only do the AWS Lambda function setup here.