Quick Start: Set Up the AVS Device SDK on macOS for Voice-Only Devices

The following quick start guide provides step-by-step instructions to set up the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Device SDK on macOS. This process includes installing, building, authorizing, and using the AVS Device SDK. When finished, you have a working Sample App to test interactions with Alexa.

Before you get started, see the SDK overview page to establish a working knowledge of how the SDK works. This quick start guide is applicable to both beginners and advanced users of the SDK. However, you should have some basic knowledge of the Mac Terminal.

Prerequisites

You must meet the following prerequisites before you begin this quick start guide.

  • Mac running OS X 12.4+ – Amazon tested the procedures on versions 12.4 and 12.5. No other Mac OS X versions were tested.
  • External speaker or headset – Your audio source.
  • AVS Device SDK 3.0 and above – This quick start guide instructs you to download the latest version of the SDK.
  • Python3 – Minimum version 3.0.x.
  • Homebrew – A software package management system that simplifies installation.
  • XCode command line tools – An integrated development environment for macOS.
  • Minimum dependencies – The Alexa app relies on external libraries to compile. For more details about the external libraries you must install, see AVS Device SDK Dependencies.
  • Registered product with AVS – You must register your product with Alexa Voice Service. After you have registered your product, save the config.json for “Other devices and platforms” because you need it to complete this quick start guide. This file contains the client ID for your Alexa Voice Service product and is used as part of the authorization between Alexa Voice Service and your device.

Steps to set up the AVS Device SDK on macOS for voice-only devices

To set up the AVS Device SDK on macOS, complete the following steps:

  1. Set up your macOS environment
  2. Download the AVS Device SDK
  3. Find paths to dependencies
  4. Build the SDK Sample App
  5. Set up your configuration file
  6. Run and authorize the Sample App
  7. Use the Sample App

Step 1: Set up your macOS environment

The following instructions use your home directory represented by the tilde (~). If you want to store the SDK under a different path, update the commands accordingly.

To set up your development environment on macOS

  1. Open the Terminal, and then create your SDK folder structure.

     cd ~
     mkdir sdk-folder
    
     cd sdk-folder
     mkdir sdk-build sdk-source sdk-install db
    
    
  2. Update your Homebrew package list.

     brew update && brew upgrade
    
  3. Install the core SDK dependencies.

    The AVS Device SDK uses external libraries to handle the following functionality:

    • Maintain an HTTP/2 connection with AVS.
    • Play Alexa text-to-speach (TTS) and music.
    • Record audio from the microphone.
    • Store records in a database.
     cd ~
     brew install sqlite3 git cmake curl gstreamer gst-plugins-base gst-plugins-good gst-plugins-bad gst-libav clang-format doxygen googletest openssl@1.1 portaudio
    

Step 2: Download the AVS Device SDK

The AVS Device SDK is available on GitHub. Clone the SDK into the sdk-source folder by using the following commands.

cd ~/sdk-folder/sdk-source
git clone --single-branch https://github.com/alexa/avs-device-sdk.git

Step 3: Find paths to dependencies

  1. Update the libffi package configuration path to the path retrieved in the previous step.

    export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$(brew --prefix)/opt/libffi/lib/pkgconfig:$(brew --prefix)/opt/openssl@1.1/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH"
    echo 'export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$(brew --prefix)/opt/libffi/lib/pkgconfig:$(brew --prefix)/opt/openssl@1.1/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    
  2. Set environment variables for PortAudio and curl.

    Homebrew installs the PortAudio and curl packages into a folder that can be found using the brew --prefix command.

    brew --prefix
    

    The following commands set environment variables to hold the paths for needed dependencies for you to use in step 4.1.

    export CURL_LIBRARY_PATH=$(brew --prefix)/opt/curl/lib/libcurl.dylib
    export CURL_INCLUDE_DIR=$(brew --prefix)/opt/curl/include
    export PORTAUDIO_LIB_PATH=$(brew --prefix)/opt/portaudio/lib/libportaudio.dylib
    export PORTAUDIO_INCLUDE_DIR=$(brew --prefix)/opt/portaudio/include
    

Step 4: Build the SDK Sample App

In this step, you build the SDK by using your Terminal.

Use CMake parameters to customize what features you want to build in the Sample App.

This example configures the following build options:

  • Enables GStreamer.
  • Enables PortAudio.
  • Specifies the curl library location.
  • Enables debug logging.

To build the SDK Sample App

  1. Generate the build dependencies for the Sample App by using the following CMake command.

     cd ~/sdk-folder/sdk-build/
    
     cmake ~/sdk-folder/sdk-source/avs-device-sdk \
     -DGSTREAMER_MEDIA_PLAYER=ON \
     -DPORTAUDIO=ON \
     -DPKCS11=OFF \
     -DCURL_LIBRARY=$CURL_LIBRARY_PATH \
     -DCURL_INCLUDE_DIR=$CURL_INCLUDE_DIR \
     -DPORTAUDIO_LIB_PATH=$PORTAUDIO_LIB_PATH \
     -DPORTAUDIO_INCLUDE_DIR=$PORTAUDIO_INCLUDE_DIR \
     -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=DEBUG
    
  2. Build the Sample App.

    make SampleApp
    
Notes

The command make SampleApp uses a single thread for compilation. You can speed up compilation with more threads by adding the -j2, -j4, or -j8 make flag, depending on your processor.

The make SampleApp command only builds the SDK Sample App. To build the entire SDK— including unit tests— run the make command instead.

Step 5: Set up your configuration file

Before you can run the Sample App, you must set up an SDK configuration file named, AlexaClientSDKConfig.json. This file contains your SDK settings to authorize your device with Amazon.

To set up this file, you run a configuration script named genconfig.sh. This script is located in your SDK download package at ~/sdk-folder/sdk-source/avs-device-sdk/tools/Install.

To set up your SDK configuration file

  1. Place the config.json file you downloaded in the ~/sdk-folder/sdk-source/avs-device-sdk/tools/Install directory.

  2. Run genConfig.sh script to generate your config. When you run the script, include all the parameters shown in the following code example.

  cd ~/sdk-folder/sdk-source/avs-device-sdk/tools/Install

  bash genConfig.sh config.json 12345 \
  ~/sdk-folder/db \
  ~/sdk-folder/sdk-source/avs-device-sdk \
  ~/sdk-folder/sdk-build/Integration/AlexaClientSDKConfig.json \
  -DSDK_CONFIG_MANUFACTURER_NAME="my_project" \
  -DSDK_CONFIG_DEVICE_DESCRIPTION="macos"

Step 6: Run and authorize the Sample App

When you run the Sample App for the first time, you must authorize it with Amazon using a generated code specific to your device.

To run and authorize the Sample App

  1. Navigate to your build folder, set up an environment variable, and then start the Sample App.

     cd ~/sdk-folder/sdk-build/
     GST_PLUGIN_PATH=$(brew --prefix)/lib/gstreamer-1.0/ ./SampleApplications/ConsoleSampleApplication/src/SampleApp ./Integration/AlexaClientSDKConfig.json
    
  2. Wait for the Sample App to display the following message.
    ##################################
    #       NOT YET AUTHORIZED       #
    ##################################
    ################################################################################################
    #       To authorize, browse to: 'https://amazon.com/us/code' and enter the code: {XXXX}       #
    ################################################################################################
    
  3. Open a browser, and then navigate to the URL specified in the message from the Sample App.
  4. Sign in to your Amazon developer account.
  5. Enter the code specified in the message from the Sample App.
  6. Select Allow.
  7. Wait for the sample to authorize.

    You can now use the Sample App to talk to Alexa.

     ###########################
     #       Authorized!       #
     ###########################
     ########################################
     #       Alexa is currently idle!       #
     ########################################
    

Step 7: Use the Sample App

Now that you have a working Sample App, try an interaction with Alexa. For more details about how to interact with Alexa, see Use the Console Sample App.

To relaunch the Sample App

  • Run the following command.

      cd ~/sdk-folder/sdk-build
      GST_PLUGIN_PATH=$(brew --prefix)/lib/gstreamer-1.0/ ./SampleApplications/ConsoleSampleApplication/src/SampleApp ./Integration/AlexaClientSDKConfig.json DEBUG9
    

Extra build options

Use the following instructions to enable additional build options.

Enable debug logs

Use the debug flag to get more information about problems you might encounter. Accepted values include DEBUG1 through DEBUG9.

For example, the following command uses the DEBUG9 logging flag.

cd ~/sdk-folder/sdk-build
GST_PLUGIN_PATH=$(brew --prefix)/lib/gstreamer-1.0/ ./SampleApplications/ConsoleSampleApplication/src/SampleApp ./Integration/AlexaClientSDKConfig.json DEBUG9

Troubleshooting

For details about fixing common issues, see Troubleshooting the AVS Device SDK Common Issues.