Alexa Skill Management API and Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface Enables Faster, More Automated Skill Management

Shiraz Datta Feb 01, 2018

Today we are excited to announce the general availability of Alexa Skill Management API (SMAPI) and Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) with new capabilities to programmatically create and manage your Alexa skills. SMAPI is a set of API operations, and ASK CLI is a command line application that leverages SMAPI to create, update, test, and submit Alexa skills. With ASK CLI, you can automate your skill management and testing workflow, making skill updates faster and more automated.

SMAPI also enables tool builders worldwide to integrate their systems directly with the Alexa Skills Kit, making it easy for developers to manage their Alexa skills in systems they already know and trust. Further, tool builders can build on top of the Skill Management API to bring the Alexa skill creation workflow into their systems. A growing number of companies like PullString and Storyline are already taking advantage of the SMAPI.

“At PullString, we're interested in enabling conversation. SMAPI allows us to seamlessly and deeply integrate our toolset with the Alexa Skills Kit, exposing its powerful features to all authors regardless of their level of technical sophistication,” says Lucas Ives, Head of Conversation Engineering at PullString. “Leveraging SMAPI allows our users to focus on conversation, not code, and deploy skills to the world with a click of a button.”

“Using the SMAPI integration, we remove development from the skill-building process and help our users focus on engaging content,” says Vasili Shynkarenka, CEO of Storyline. “Our product leverages SMAPI to make the creation of flash briefing skills as easy as writing a social media post.”

A Faster, More Automated Approach to Skill Management

With SMAPI and ASK CLI, you can automate the entire process of creating, updating, testing, and submitting your skill for certification. Using EnableSkill API in SMAPI or the ‘enable-skill’ command in ASK CLI, you can now automatically enable your skill for testing. Previously, you had to enable the skill manually through the Alexa developer console or via the Alexa app.

“Now, with the EnableSkill API, we can go one step further and simplify the experience of skill deployment,” adds Maksim Abramchuk, CTO of Storyline. “We can now programmatically enable skills making it easier for our users to use it on their device.”

The `ask deploy` command in ASK CLI deploys and enables the deployed skill for you, so you can immediately test the skill on your Alexa-enabled device or via the `ask simulate` command. After you install and configure CLI, you can go from no skill to telling your device “Alexa, open hello world” in less than a minute by running just three commands in the command line:

$ ask new --skill-name hello-world

$ cd hello-world

$ ask deploy

ASK CLI can now also create new skill projects from starter templates, including facts, quizzes, and trivia skills that are available as open source projects on GitHub. If you have ASK CLI and `git` installed, you can use `ask new --template` to start a project with one of these templates. We will continue to add new templates to this list.

Now you can also retrieve the skill manifest and interaction models of your live skill using SMAPI or ASK CLI, so you can precisely compare and review the changes you have made since publishing your skill. With improvements to skill simulation, test simulation runs the exact same path through Alexa production runtime as an actual device. You can now also use dialog management and synonyms when using SMAPI or ASK CLI to simulate a skill.

All features added since public beta are available in this release, including private publishing with Alexa for Business from Amazon Web Services.

Start Building Alexa Skills Today

Learn more about Alexa Skill Management API and the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface. Then start building your next Alexa skill with the Alexa Skills Kit.

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