Video Tutorials About How to Build Skills for Alexa

Learn the components of skill programming, and tooling with our video tutorials guiding you.

Alexa Skill Building: video tutorials

Australia’s developer evangelist Azi Farjad helps developers to build for Alexa. She will walk you through how to build voice-first Alexa skills with hands-on video tutorials. From ideation, to brainstorming concepts, to using situational design to map out the voice interaction, building engagement through sounds, through to creating a voice experience using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).

 

Our video series include:

How to Build an Engaging Alexa Skill

Deep Dive into Alexa Skill Buliding

Zero to Hero: a Comprehensive Course to Building an Alexa Skill

 

Check out skills from Australian, New Zealand, and international developers on the Australian Alexa Skill Store.

 

Stay in touch:   Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  Twitch

Alexa Skills - ANZ Evangelist

How to Build an Engaging Alexa Skill

In this Alexa Skill Building series, Australia’s developer evangelist Azi will walk you through seven steps required to build an engaging Alexa skill.

 

If you are watching to build a skill from scratch, make sure you do the hands-on exercises for each step before moving to the next video. By the end of the series, you’ll know best practice Alexa Skill building, complete with an engaging Alexa skill published to the Alexa Skill Store.

Step 1 - How to brainstorm what to build?

You'll learn how to:

  • Write an elevator pitch for your voice idea,
  • Script a few ‘happy paths’ to explain what the skill will do, and
  • Research the concept to validate your skill idea.

Step 2 - How to design voice interactions?

An engaging Alexa skill is built from a well thought out design. A key part of designing the experience is mimicking an engaging human conversational partner. We’ll teach you how to think about voice UX, and how to create compelling dialogue.

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Step 3 - How to build a skill?

Learn how to build an Alexa skill based on your voice design. We will cover how to technically build your skill as well as the basics about Alexa Presentation Language (APL), APL tooling, and how to expand your skill with images for multimodal experiences.

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Step 4 - How to create engaging sounds?

As voice is the main mode of interaction in an Alexa skill, it is important to use quality voices to make your skill stand out. We’ll teach you how to create quality voice assets and to make your skill more engaging.

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Step 5 - How to test and certify?

Learn how to submit your skill for certification, and make it available on the Alexa Skill Store. We’ll explain the certification process, and share tips on getting your skill certified faster.

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Step 6 - How to promote and market your skill?

We’ll share marketing tips to drive Alexa customers to use your skill.

 

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Step 7 - How to retain skill engagement?

We’ll talk about what retention means, and tips to optimize your skill to increase retention. We’ll also share how to analyze your skill when it is live, and consider strategies to improve your skill’s retention.

 

Watch now >>

 

 

Deep Dive into Alexa Skill Building

In the Deep Dive tutorials, we select skill building features and functionalities to explain in-depth to help you improve your Alexa skill and its engagement.

 

Have a topic you would like us to dive deep on? Let us know by emailing the ANZ Alexa Skills team.

"Alexa, game on!" Building an engaging Alexa game skill

Everyone remembers that one game from their childhood they absolutely loved. The fun, the challenges, the adventures into wild uncharted lands. Players love to explore new worlds, and find new ways to immerse themselves in those experiences. In this video, we show you the possibilities that mixing games with a natural interface like voice via Alexa opens up. We'll also share tips to make your voice game more engaging.

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Zero to Hero: a Comprehensive Course to Building an Alexa Skill

Learn how to develop an Alexa skill in 11 videos with matching source code.

By completing the course, you’ll understand the components of skill programming, and tooling to help you build engaging skills. You’ll learn how to use the Alexa Developer Console to create and test your skill. You’ll also learn how to use Alexa-hosted skills to host your skill’s back end. The course introduces how to program your back end using the Alexa Skills Kit Software Development Kit for Node.js.


You’ll also learn how to leverage important Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) features like:

If you’re new to skill building, we recommend starting from Part 1 - we'll cover the basics of Alexa Skill building to get started on your skill building journey. If you know the basics, you can skip ahead to specific modules.   

Part 1: Alexa Skills Kit Overview

We'll cover the very basics of Alexa Skill building. From fundamentals and terminology to a functional hello world skill you'll get everything you need to get started in your skill building journey!

Topics covered:

  1. Development and Production Lambda Stages (AHS branches)
  2. Lambda Dependencies (package.json, requires in code)
  3. Handler as processor of incoming requests. Handler structure
  4. Request Types (LaunchRequest, IntentRequest, SessionEndedRequest)
  5. Skill Builder (custom vs standard) and its functions
  6. Reflector (catch all intent handler)
  7. Out-of-domain utterances (only in the English version)

Github source code

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Part 2: Skill Internationalization (i18n), Interceptors & Error Handling

Continue your Alexa skill building journey with internationalization (i18n): we'll depart from a simple 'hello world' skill in English, and add support for more than one language while keeping a single code base.

Topics covered:

  1. Multiple models per locale
  2. Key/value string resources for i18n
  3. Enriching handlerInput with t function via interceptor
  4. Attribute manager as key/value store
  5. High level attribute types (session(short term), persistent(long term))
  6. Changing locale on Build tab and on Test tab (test both locales)

Github source code

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Part 3: Slots, Slot Validation & Automatic Dialog Delegation

We'll introduce slots to capture variable data spoken by the user, and demonstrate how to create validation rules for them. We'll also show how to offload the slot value capture mechanics to Alexa by using automatic dialog delegation.

Topics covered:

  1. Slots explanation
  2. Built in and custom slot types
  3. Synonyms (minimal, we're not using synonyms, eg. January -> first month)
  4. Required Slots & Prompts
  5. Slot Validation
  6. Auto-Delegate, Dialog Delegation Strategy
  7. Utterance Profiler
  8. Intent Confirmation
  9. Basic Intent Chaining

Github source code

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Part 4: Persistence

We continue our skill building journey with persistence, a way to keep user information across sessions. We'll show you short- and long-term persistence which allow your skill to remember things so when the users interact with it again we can offer a customized experience.

Topics covered:

  1. Session attributes
  2. Persistent attributes
  3. Persistence adapters (S3 and DynamoDB) / detect if lambda is Alexa hosted
  4. Copy session attributes to and from persistent attributes via interceptors
  5. Async/await
  6. Session counter (to say eg. "welcome back")

Github source code

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Part 5: Accessing ASK APIs

We'll look at accessing Alexa Skill Kit's APIs. These are specific public APIs available to developers to access user and device information to tailor the skill experience. These APIs require user consent when user information is involved, and help reduce friction as account linking is not required. We'll also look at SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language) which allows you to spice up Alexa's responses.

Topics covered:

  1. Service API (User Profile API - given name)
  2. Settings API (timezone)
  3. SSML (speechcons and audio files)
  4. Array capable localisation interceptor
  5. String replacement with plurals support

Github source code

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Part 6: Reminders API

We'll cover the Reminders API, which allows you to set reminders in your skill so Alexa will say a message out loud at the time that you decide, based on user input. In this example, we'll create a reminder for the user's birthday.

Topics covered:

  1. Reminders API
  2. AMAZON.SearchQuery
  3. Intent Confirmation

Github source code

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Part 7: Accessing External APIs

In this video, we'll explain a frequently used functionality by Alexa skill developers: accessing external APIs. Alexa skills are not closed environments, hence you can connect to external services from the skill back-end. We'll show how to do this from a node.js based lambda using the Axios library.

Topics covered:

  1. Fetch external API (async/await, axios)
  2. Progressive Response

Github source code

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Part 8: Alexa Presentation Language (APL), Part 1

Traditionally voice enabled devices did not include a screen, but this has changed in the last few years. We have a range of screen devices including the Echo Show, and Fire TV. As Alexa skill developers we need to learn how to use Alexa Presentation Language (APL) to enrich skills with visuals which will help increase engagement. In this first APL video, we'll take a look at the foundations of an APL document and use it in various intents.

Topics covered:

  1. APL RenderDocument and APL Directive
  2. APL Databinding and APL Authoring Tool
  3. APL Styles, Layouts and ViewPorts
  4. APL Transformers (Text to Hint)
  5. Home Cards
  6. Media storage in Alexa-hosted Skills

Github source code

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Part 9: Alexa Presentation Language (APL), Part 2

In this second video dedicated to Alexa Presentation Language (APL), we'll make use of data obtained from an external API and create a way to visualize that data together with providing touch capabilities on multimodal devices.

Topics covered:

  1. APL Authoring Tool
  2. APL Layouts & Sequences
  3. APL Transformers (Text to Hint)
  4. APL Touch Wrapper

Github source code

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Part 10: The ASK Command Line Interface (CLI)

In this video, we move away from the web browser and use the command line. If you're an advanced developer used to the command line, you can leverage our ASK Command Line Interface (CLI) with access tons of APIs to effectively automate virtually any task related to building Alexa skills. We'll show you how to configure and use the ASK CLI to do the most basic, but key operations.

Topics covered:

  1. Configuring the ASK-CLI with personal AWS account support
  2. Cloning an Alexa Hosted Skill
  3. Editing a skill in code and deploying the skill

Github source code

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Part 11: Publishing

We'll take a look at the final step before your Alexa skill is available to everyone in the world: publishing. We've been through coding and testing, and will now walk you through the steps required to publish your Alexa skill.

Topics covered:

  1. Distribution tab in developer console
  2. Skill metadata for publication
  3. Submitting a skill for certification

Github source code

Watch now >>