What's New in the Alexa Skills Kit: November 2019 Release Roundup
Leo Ohannesian Dec 17, 2019
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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 Web API for Games, new publishing tools, new speaking styles, and many more releases from November!

1. Build faster on SMAPI using the new SMAPI SDK for Node.js, Python, and Java

The SMAPI SDK makes it easier to get started with SMAPI, now available for Node.js, Python, and Java. The SMAPI SDK supports all Skill Management APIs, including interaction model, intent request history, and in-skill purchasing APIs. Visit our docs to find out more:

2. Pick your skill’s release date with self service skill publishing.

You can now control the publishing schedule of your skill with self service skill publishing. This can be especially useful when coordinating your skill’s availability with marketing, back-end deployments, or events. Check out the blog here, or read about it in our tech docs. 

3. Build games with web technologies (preview)

With the Alexa Web API for Games, you’ll be able to build for multimodal devices using HTML and web technologies like Canvas 2D, WebAudio, WebGL, JavaScript, and CSS. Read the announcement here

4. Improve skill performance with new skill metrics on latency and responsiveness

Starting today, you can monitor your skill’s endpoint latency and endpoint response so that you can stay on top of how your skill is performing right from the Analytics tab of the Alexa Developer Console. Read the announcement here or check out the tech docs here.

5. Let Alexa distribute your skill to same-language locales with automated skill distribution in the ASK CLI

Now available on the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) CLI, automated skill distribution lets you give Alexa permission publish qualified live skills to all locales of the same language. For example, when submitting a skill to EN_US you can easily reach customers from EN_CA, EN_MX, EN_UK, EN_IN and others with no additional effort. Read the announcement hereCheck out the tech docs here. 

6. The Amazon.FallbackIntent expands to all French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese language locales

Handle unexpected user requests in new locales with the international expansion of the fallbackIntent. Check out the announcement hereRead the tech docs here.

7. In-Skill Purchasing (ISP) now available in France, Italy, and Spain

You can now earn money by offering premium content in Alexa skills published in France, Italy, and Spain. Read the blog here. 

8. Create custom connected skill experiences with tasks (preview) and direct skill connections

With the latest enhancements to Alexa Skill Connections, you get more control to create cross-skill experiences in a way you define. You can now create custom tasks (preview) to expose functionality from your skill to other Alexa skill and use direct connections to better controll the skill connections experience. Read the blog here. Check out the tech docs here. 

9. Customers can now use voice to give your skills permission for reminders.

Customers can now use voice to grant your skill permission to create and edit Alexa reminders. Voice permissions for reminders reduce customer friction in granting permission, and thereby increase permission request conversion rates. Read the announcement here. Check out the tech docs here. 

10. Use new Alexa emotions and speaking styles to create a more natural voice experience

You can enable Alexa to respond with either a happy/excited or a disappointed/empathetic tone in the US. Emotional responses are particularly relevant to skills in the gaming and sports categories. Additionally, you can have Alexa respond in a speaking style that is more suited for a specific type of content, starting with news and music. To read the announcement go here. For the tech doc on emotions go here. For the tech doc on speaking styles go here. 

11. PhoneNumber (beta) and Ordinal (beta) built-in slot types expand to All Locales

Receive input for phone numbers and list selection with the PhoneNumber (Beta) and Ordinal (Beta) built-in slot types, now available in all locales. Read the announcement here. For the tech docs on the PhoneNumber slot type go here. For the tech doc on the Ordinal slot type go here. 

12. Save and clone APL documents in the APL authoring tool

You can now save and clone multimodal templates in the APL authoring tool. Read the announcement here. Check out the tech docs here.