Today we are excited to announce the public beta of the Alexa Presentation Language (APL), following up on the APL public preview announcement from last month. This new design language allows you to build interactive, multimodal Alexa skills and customize them for different Alexa-enabled devices. Starting today, you can begin designing Alexa skills using APL in all locales supported by Alexa, and test them in the Alexa Developer Console using the authoring tool and simulator.
Please note, APL skills may display differently on devices than the APL authoring tool until an upcoming software update is complete. After the software update, we will begin certifying and publishing APL skills and let you know via a follow-up announcement here on the blog.
Build with Voice, Visuals, and Touch
APL is designed from the ground up for creating voice-first, multimodal Alexa skills. Optimized for Alexa-enabled devices, it also ensures that your skills can reach customers on Echo Spot, Echo Show, and Fire TV. With APL, you have the flexibility to enhance your skill experience for different device types, control your user experience by defining where visual elements are placed on screens, and choose a variety of components available with APL that are best suited for your content. You can use the following features for your APL skills:
- Images, Text, and Lists: Use images and text and specify text color, size, and weight for available fonts. You can also make both text and images responsive to touch using TouchWrappers. Use vertical and horizontal lists to show a continuous list of choices, and allow customers to navigate the list via voice or by touch / remote control.
- Layouts, Styles, and Conditional Expressions: You can take advantage of the pre-defined header, footer, and hints provided by Amazon. You can customize by device type using the when property in your APL documents; You can also see viewport information in your skill lambda. For example, you can use this to send different voice responses for example, you may want to send different voice responses and/or different visuals when the device shape is round compared to when the shape is rectangular.
- Speech Synchronization: You can send commands that change the audio or visual presentation of the content of the screen or generate them automatically within your APL documents. For example, you can highlight the line or block of text currently being read using the SpeakItem command and highlightMode. You can use SetPage and AutoPage commands to control the pages displayed in a Pager component, and the Idle command to insert pauses.
- Slideshows: You can present slideshows of images and other content.
- Built–In Intents by Ordinal: You can use built-in intents to enable selection by ordinal. For example, customers can say “select the second one” when a list is on-screen, Alexa will invoke your skill with the new built-in AMAZON.SelectIntent and inform you of the selected ordinal.
Get Inspired, Learn, and Build with APL
Many developers have already published multimodal skills using APL. Visit our website to see how they used APL and get inspired to start building your own voice-first, visual experiences. To get started with APL, check out our technical documentation and Alexa Design Guide. Register for our upcoming webinars to learn more:
- Get Started with the Alexa Presentation Language: November 7, 10 am -12 pm PT – Register Now
- Advanced Template Building with the Alexa Presentation Language: November 14, 10 am - 12 pm PT – Register Now
Start building your APL skills today, and see how they will look on different device types using the APL authoring tool and simulator in the Alexa Developer Console. As noted above, please do not test on devices yet since there's a known disparity issue.
Stay Tuned for Device Testing and Certification Availability
When the software update mentioned above is complete, device rendering will match the authoring tool and we will begin the certification process for skills that you submit. If you submit skills before then, we’ll wait until the update is finished to start the certification process. Please tune into the Alexa developer blog and for follow-up announcements. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive email updates.
In the meantime, please share your feedback on the Alexa developer forum and let us know what you think. Make sure add the "APL" topic to your post. We’ll be monitoring the forum on a regular basis and provide updates accordingly.
We can't wait to see what you build with APL!