Cake Walk

Build an Engaging Alexa Skill

Skill certification and launch

For your skill to be available to users on their Alexa-enabled devices, your skill must undergo a thorough certification process. This module walks you through how to get your skill ready and then submit it for certification. The first step is validating and testing your skill.

Validate and test your skill

Validation does the following:

  • Verifies that all required skill store fields are complete
  • Performs a set of pre-certification tests on the skill. These tests send requests to your skill's endpoint.

The tests are run for all locales that your skill supports. Issues are listed by locale.

These tests provide immediate feedback for common certification failures. You can start the tests and then navigate away from the page. Return to the page to check the status and test results.

To run these tests, open your skill in the Alexa developer console, and click the Certification tab. The Validation page opens and displays any issues found.

After fixing one or more issues, return to the Certification tab. On the Validation page, click Run to re-run the tests.

For a smoother certification process, fix any issues reported by the tests. When there are no remaining issues, the page displays "Zero errors found."

The tests perform a subset of the tests performed during the certification process. You should still review the certification checklists and ensure your skill would pass all the listed tests before you submit.

Review the submission checklists

The Validation section can help you find issues that would cause your skill to fail certification. However, this does not do the full set of testing performed as part of certification. To ensure your skill passes certification, review the relevant submission checklists for your skill's interaction model and any special features.

Click here for links to review the available submission checklists.

Submit the skill

When you are ready to submit your skill, navigate to Certification > Submission. If your skilled passed the validation tests, you can click Submit for review to submit the skill.

After you submit the skill, the skill status shows "In Review". While the skill is in the certification process, you cannot make any changes to the configuration.

If needed, withdraw the skill from the certification process by clicking Withdraw from review.

When you submit the skill, the pre-certification functional tests run automatically. If the skill fails any of these tests, the skill is removed from certification and returned to development status. If this happens, you will be notified by email to the address associated with your Amazon Developer account.

To view the status of your skill and any updates from the certification review process, navigate to Certification > Submission. The Certification Updates section shows the date and time when certification results should be available, as shown in the following image.

After Amazon completes the certification review, you will receive an email at the address associated with your Amazon developer account:

  • If the skill has been certified, the email will provide an estimate for when it will become available to end users.
  • If the skill could not be certified, the email provides information about the issues you need to correct. You can make any necessary changes and then re-submit.

For skills that pass the certification review, the Submission page lists the countries where the skill is available. Some skills that pass the certification review are not available in all countries.

Publication status

The current publication status for a skill is displayed in the developer console in your list of skills.

In Development

The skill is available only to you. If you have enabled it for testing, you can test it on devices registered to your developer account.

In Certification

Amazon is currently reviewing the skill for publication. During this time, you cannot edit the configuration.

Live

The skill has been published and is available to users. You cannot edit the configuration for live skills.

Hidden

The skill was previously published, but has since been hidden. The skill is no longer available when customers search or browse the skill store.

Removed

The skill was previously published, but has since been removed. Customers cannot enable or use the skill.

A Hidden skill is still available to those who enabled it before it became hidden. 

You can re-submit a Hidden or Removed skill.

Revise and update your skill after publication

Once your skill is published to end users, your skill's status changes to live. You cannot change the configuration for a live skill. Because any changes to the skill configuration would require re-certification, a new development version is automatically created in the developer console. This version has the same information as the original live version. You can use the developer version to improve the skill and add features.

You can work on the new version independently of the original. For instance, for a custom skill, you can add more intents and sample utterances to the interaction model. If you make code changes in your service, you should use a different endpoint or Lambda function to test those changes so you do not disrupt users who are using the live version.

When you submit your new version for certification, both versions remain in your list until the new version is certified. Once the new version is certified, it becomes live and replaces the previous live version. A new development version is then created so that you can continue making updates.

For a better user experience, maintain backward compatibility with the previous version of your skill. For example, if you add new intents, continue to support the previous intents that users are already using.

Hide or remove a skill (skill suppression)

You can suppress a live skill so customers can no longer enable it. Suppression applies to the skill in all locales. You cannot suppress a skill in some locales and keep it available to users in others.

There are two types of skill suppression:

Hide

The skill remains active for customers who previously enabled it. The skill is no longer available when customers search or browse the skill store.

Remove

The skill is disabled for all customers, including those who had previously enabled it. Customers cannot enable or use the skill.

When you hide or remove a skill, the skill is not deleted and you can still see it in the developer console. Both the suppressed and development versions are displayed in the console. You can continue to make changes to the development version.

To hide or remove a skill, follow these steps:

  • Open the Alexa developer console.
  • Find the existing live skill in the list. In the Actions column, click Hide or Remove.
  • When prompted, select a reason for the skill suppression, and then click Hide or Remove.

This sends a request to hide or remove the skill. The suppression may take a few days to complete. Once the skill is suppressed, the updated status is displayed in the console.

To re-publish a skill, update the development version and re-submit for certification. Re-submitting starts a new certification process.