What's New in the Alexa Skills Kit: August 2019 Release Roundup

Leo Ohannesian Sep 09, 2019
Smart Home Skills Analyze Game Skills News SDK SMAPI CLI Gadgets Release Roundup

Editor's Note: Our monthly release roundup series showcases the latest in Alexa Skills Kit developer tools and features that can make your skills easier to manage, simpler to deploy, and more engaging for your customers. Build with these new capabilities to enable your Alexa skills to drive brand or revenue objectives.

In this roundup video we share details about the new things released for skill developers last month, including the announcement of the App-to-App Account Linking, Skill Flow Builder, and Custom Interfaces for gadgets along with several other features that can help make you be more productive or build more engaging skills. Check out the entire video for more information from Alexa evangelists and code samples.

1. Improved response structure for client errors in the CLI and SMAPI

Spend less time debugging during skill development with improved error responses. SMAPI and CLI error responses are now more detailed and more actionable for failed operations performed in skill development. Check out the announcement here or learn about it in our docs here.

2. Create story-based game skills faster with Skill Flow Builder

We are excited to introduce Skill Flow Builder (SFB), a new tool that enables you to build story-based game skills faster including interactive fiction, branching narratives, and role-playing games. SFB complements tools like the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) SDK, and provides an easy-to-use solution for the creation of skill flow and content by separating content creation from skill code. Check out the announcement or read about it in our docs

3. Introducing Custom Interfaces to build dynamic gadgets, games, and smart toys

We are excited to introduce Custom Interfaces, enabling you to connect gadgets, games, and smart toy products with immersive skill-based content—unlocking creative ways for customers to experience your product. Click here for additional resources or check out the announcement here. 

4. Use App-to-App account linking and new Skill Activation API to simplify skill setup

Now you can use App-to-App account linking and the Alexa Skill Activation API to let customers link their Alexa account and enable your skill from within your mobile application. Learn more about it from the announcement. 

5. New ASK SDK support for Express.js and Jinja

Newly added support for Express.js in the Node.js SDK and Jinja support in the Python SDK now make it easier to build and integrate skills. Check out the announcement here.

6. Join the ASK CLI beta, now open source

We’re excited to announce the open source release of the ASK CLI in beta on GitHub, now with support for deploying your skill code to AWS using CloudFormation. As an open source tool, anyone can now contribute new features and improvements to the ASK CLI. Additionally, with support for CloudFormation, you can now manage your entire skill infrastructure from a single file. Check out the announcement.

7. New operational metrics available for smart home developers

Starting today, you can view request volume, latency, and success rates for your smart home skills by visiting the Analytics page in the Alexa developer console. You can monitor the metrics from as recently as five minutes prior to quickly identify and resolve issues with your smart home skills in order to minimize customer impact. As a result, you can improve both responsiveness and reliability for your customers. Read about it in our docs. 


As always, we can't wait to see what you build. As a reminder, learn how to get the most out of the tech docs by visiting the Latest Tips page.