Steps to Build an Echo Button Skill

An Echo Button skill is a custom skill, so the steps to build an Echo Button skill are very similar to the steps to build any custom skill. This topic highlights aspects that are unique to Echo Button skills and recommends how to get started building a skill for Echo Buttons.

Get Started

If you want to build an Echo Button skill right away, we recommend the following steps.

If you are new to custom skill creation:

  1. Browse Steps to Build a Custom Skill. You don't need to dive deep yet, just get familiar with the terminology and the overall steps.
  2. Review Additional Requirements for Echo Button Skills so that you are aware of additional things that you must do for your skill to support Echo Buttons.
  3. Go to the Echo Button Sample Code and follow the step-by-step procedures to create an Echo Button skills with the provided code.

If you already know how to build a skill:

  1. Review Additional Requirements for Echo Button Skills so that you are aware of additional things that you must do for your skill to support Echo Buttons.
  2. Go to the Echo Button Sample Code and follow the step-by-step procedures to create an Echo Button skills with the provided code.

Additional Requirements for Echo Button Skills

To create an Echo Button skill, follow the steps to build a custom skill and include the appropriate interfaces, publishing information, and skill code described next.

Interfaces

Include support for one or both of the following interfaces:

Most Echo Button skills use both interfaces.

The way that you specify the interfaces depends on whether you use the Alexa Skills Kit developer console or the Alexa Skills Kit Command-Line Interface (ASK CLI) to create the skill.

  • Developer Console – Find your skill in the list, and then under Actions, select Edit. On the left side, select Interfaces. In the Alexa Gadget row of the interface list, select Gadget Controller, Game Engine, or both.
  • ASK CLI – Add the GADGET_CONTROLLER interface, the GAME_ENGINE interface, or both to the skill manifest as described in Specify Echo Button Skill Details.

Publishing Information

Echo Button skills require additional publishing information, which determines how the skills are described in the Alexa Skill Store. The publishing information that you must provide depends on whether you include support for the Gadget Controller interface or the Game Engine interface.

If your skill supports the Game Engine interface, you must specify whether Echo Buttons are required or optional, the minimum and maximum number of Echo Buttons that the skill supports, and the minimum and maximum number of players that the skill supports. If your skill only supports the Gadget Controller interface, then the only field that you must specify is whether Echo Buttons are required or optional.

You select this information in the following way:

  • Developer Console – Find your skill in the list, and then under Actions, select Edit. From the top menu, select Launch. In the middle of the page, provide the following information:
    • Echo Button Use – Select Required or Optional.
    • Number of Echo Buttons – Select the minimum and maximum number of Echo Buttons that the skill supports. If the skill supports the Game Engine, you must choose values for these fields. If you choose the same value for the minimum and maximum, the Alexa Skill Store will show the matching value as the required number of Echo Buttons.
    • Number of Players – Select the minimum and maximum number of players that the skill supports. If there isn't a maximum, select No Limit. If the skill supports the Game Engine, this information is required. Otherwise, it is optional.
  • ASK CLI – Add the required fields to the skill manifest as described in Specify Echo Button Skill Details.

Languages and Locales

There are no language and locale limitations for skills where the use of Echo Buttons is optional. However, when you choose which languages and locales to support, note that Echo Buttons are available in US, UK, Ireland, Germany, and Austria only. You should therefore distribute your skill to at least one of the countries in that list.

If a skill requires the use of Echo Buttons, the skill can only be used in countries where Echo Buttons are available. In that case, the following rules apply:

  • You can distribute Echo Button skills to US, UK, Ireland, Germany, and Austria, because that is where Echo Buttons are currently sold.
  • Echo Button skills can include a voice user interface (VUI) for any language that the Alexa Skills Kit supports. This is so that customers who choose to change the default language of their Echo device can have a localized experience. However, at minimum, an Echo Button skill must include a VUI for at least one of the three default languages for the countries where Echo Buttons are available: English (US), English (UK), and/or German.

    For example, you can include a VUI language model for English (US) and your skill can be distributed in the US. If you include VUI language models for English (US), English (GB), and French, you can distribute your Echo Button skill to the US and UK, and customers will be able to use your skill in English (US), English (GB), and French depending on their device's language settings.

  • If you add the Gadget Controller or Game Engine interface to an existing skill that does not follow the rules above, the skill will fail certification.

Skill Code

When you write the code for your skill, use the additional directives that the Gadgets Skill API provides:

For sample code, see Echo Button Sample Code.

Next Steps