Today, we’re excited to announce three upgrades to our Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Software Development Kits (SDKs) that make them easier to use and integrate to your existing infrastructure. ASK SDKs aim to significantly reduce the need for boilerplate code and get you to focus your energy on your ideas. The addition of Java Templates, support for Python Web Frameworks, and several utility functions continue to increase your productivity as a skill developer.
Use Templates to Simplify and Better Manage Java Skill Code
Java skill developers can now use templates to simplify and better manage their skill code in the latest version of the Alexa Skills Kit SDK for Java. Previously, the ASK SDK for Java only provided developers the option of building JSON responses to Alexa in code. With templating support, the ASK SDK for Java enables you to manage your skill code in a more intuitive and scalable fashion. You can now translate your response-building code into simple JSON templates, which are better able to scale with the complexity of your skills. As a Java developer new to skill development, you can now work with the same templating engines you’ve grown familiar with from web development.
By using the included FreeMarker templating engine, you no longer have just the option of creating JSON responses in Java code. Now you can also write JSON directly in template files that can be shared and reused as needed, allowing you to focus on building other parts of their skill that will drive a positive customer experience.
Templating engine support is now available in the latest version of the ASK SDK for Java on GitHub. We also have documentation and examples available to help you get started.
Use New Helpers to Quickly Integrate with Django and Flask Services
If you develop your skill in Python, you can now easily integrate the Alexa Skills Kit SDK for Python into new or existing web services built with Django or Flask. With just a few lines of code, Django and Flask web apps can now quickly and easily integrate the SDK and automatically secure their communications with Alexa. Support for Django and Flask is now available with the latest version of the Alexa Skills Kit SDK for Python on GitHub. Take a look at our examples and documentation to get started.
Use Utility Functions to Improve Productivity
You can now also take advantage of utility functions for all of our SDKs which help improve your productivity.
Previously, you needed to write non-trivial amounts of code in order to perform common tasks such as fetching slot values, locale, device ID etc. when receiving requests from Alexa. This work can be tedious and error prone.
Now, the NodeJS, Python, and Java SDKs will provide utility functions out of the box to perform these common tasks. Please visit our documentation about the SDK utilities on Java, Python, and NodeJS to get started today.