Editor's Note: In our new monthly release roundup series, we'll be showcasing the latest developer tools and features you can use to make your Alexa skills more engaging for customers and easier to manage and deploy. We'll also share new features for monetizing Alexa skills.
In today's roundup we share details about five new things that we released for skill developers in January, including a new feature for in-skill purchasing (ISP) and several enhancements to help you build higher-quality skills more easily. We hosted two livestreams about these updates, which are included below. Below you can learn more about what's included in the January release roundup and check out the livestream for more information from Alexa evangelists and code samples.
1. Add In-Skill Purchasing Directly from the Alexa Developer Console
Building skills with ISP helps you generate revenue from one-time purchases (like new skill features), consumables (like game hints), or subscriptions. Now you can monetize and publish your skills all from within the Alexa Developer Console, so making money from Alexa skills just got easier. Currently, ISP is only available for skills published to the US Alexa Skills Store. Read the announcement blog learn how developers are making money with Alexa skills. Get started with ISP in the developer console with our technical documentation.
2. Manage and Control Your Skills through the Alexa Developer Console
You asked for more information and status visibility during the skill certification process. Now you can now find dynamic estimations on when your skill’s certification results will be provided, a history of certification updates, and a list of countries where your live skills are available – all built right into the Alexa Developer Console. This capability is available in all locales. Read more in the technical documentation for the Skill Manager API and for the developer console. Watch the full livestream below or skip to 1 min 25 sec to go directly to the section about skill certification results.
3. Alexa-Hosted Skills (Beta) is Now Available to All Developers to Reduce Complexity in Skill Building
Ever wished you didn't have to set up an AWS account, provision AWS Lambda, Amazon S3 and S3-backed key-value tables, and AWS CodeCommit just to build a custom skill? Now you can build, edit, and publish a skill all from within the Alexa Developer Console. Just select Alexa-hosted for your skill’s back-end services when creating a new skill, and we do the rest. And there's no charge within the bounds of your AWS Free Tier account. Alexa-Hosted Skills (beta) is available in all locales. Read the blog for details on what's included, and get started with the technical documentation. Click here to jump to the portion of the livestream about Alexa-hosted skills.
4. Improve Your Interaction Model With Utterance Profiler
This new protoyping tool can help you improve your skills' accuracy and engagement. Testing a single-turn utterance or set of multi-turn utterances (with dialog directives) with Utternace Profiler shows you how your interaction model selects and considers intents and slots, so you can update your interaction model to support utterances that were selected incorrectly. This capability is available in all locales. Read the blog for more on how testing tools can improve your user experience. Read more in the technical documentation for the Command Line/Skill Manager API and for the Alexa Developer Console. Click here to jump to the portion of the livestream about Utterance Profiler.
5. Auto-Delegate Simplifies Working with Dialog Models, Helping You Build, Test and Publish Faster
A dialog model identifies the prompts and utterances to collect, validate, and confirm the slot values and intents. When you delegate the dialog to Alexa, Alexa automatically completes all slots and confirmations in a dialog before sending an intent request. This makes building dialogs easier, so you can focus on capabilities like custom logic or better user experience. This capability is available in all locales. Read more in the technical documentation. Click here to jump to the portion of the livestream about auto-delegate.