Scale Your Alexa Skill Development Operations with New Publishing and Hosting Capabilities

Udai Mody Jul 22, 2020
Alexa Live Productivity Alexa-Hosted Skills Localization Reach Customers

Today, we’re excited to launch several features that simplify the skill-building process by enabling you to more efficiently expand your skills to new locales, roll back to previous skill versions, start a new skill using templates, quickly deploy updates, and minimize customer latency. Incorporating these features into your skill development process will allow you to delight even more customers with less effort on development operations.

Reach More Customers in New Locales with Less Effort and Risk

Customers all around the world are using Alexa, and in order to reach and delight these customers, you’ll need to extend your skill to additional locales and continuously improve your skill to ensure positive customer interactions. Today, we’re announcing two new features, Locale Clone (GA) and Automated Locale Distribution (GA), to more easily expand your skills to new locales. We’re also launching Skill Rollback (beta), which allows you to quickly revert back to the previous version of your live skill if you discover a bug or friction that was introduced to customers during a skill update. With these launches, you can delight more customers while reducing your development effort and protecting your customer experience.

Expand Your Skills to New Locales Easily with Locale Clone and Automated Locale Distribution
With Locale Clone, you can create or update a locale by cloning a previously-built locale. Before this update, developers would have to copy data manually from one locale to another; now, data can be cloned with a click of a button. With Automated Locale Distribution, you can distribute your skills to all locales of a given language simply by opting into this feature in the Availability section of the Alexa Developer Console. If the skill is eligible, Alexa will create local copies on your behalf and publish them to their respective Alexa Skill Stores. For more information on these features, view the technical documentation for Locale Clone and Automated Locale Distribution.

Reduce Risk When Publishing Updates to Your Skill With Skill Rollback
If you’re concerned about introducing bugs or friction to customers as you make skill updates, you can now roll back your live skill to a previously live version using Skill Rollback. For example, if you recently published an update and notice a bug or friction such as an increase in failed utterances, higher endpoint latency, or lower customer ratings, you can quickly roll back to a previously live version of your skill without needing to resubmit for manual certification if your skill meets the eligibility requirements. This minimizes the exposure of a bad experience to customers. As part of the Skill Rollback launch, you can now also provide a message description with every skill submission to track specific versions of your skill, allowing you to rollback if necessary using the list-versions command on the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI). The list of versions will include the version ID, submission timestamp, submission message, and certification status for every skill version to help you identify which version to rollback to. For more information on eligibility and how to use Skill Rollback, read the technical documentation here.

Start and Scale Quickly with Alexa-Hosted Skills Enhancements

Alexa-hosted skills allows you to create your skill end to end via the Alexa Developer Console without worrying about provisioning the back-end resources for your skills. It also allows you to get started quickly by using one of the skill templates available in the console and continuing development on the online code editor in the console, or offline tools such as Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) or Alexa Skills Toolkit for Visual Studio Code.

More Skill Templates to Choose From
We're releasing a variety of new Alexa-hosted Skills templates to allow you to use featured functionality such as APL and APL for audio, Alexa Conversations, account linking, reminders, and more. You can now access the new templates in the Alexa Developer Console. Along with the new templates, you can start a new skill by importing any publicly shared skill on Git repositories. This will open up possibilities for you to easily share your skills with the larger Alexa developer community. Furthermore, we’ve made improvements to make builds and deployments of Alexa-hosted skills even faster. Now all builds and deployments on Alexa-hosted skills are less than 20 seconds, allowing developers to code, test, and iterate as quickly as possible.

Alexa Hosted Skills Templates

Reduce Skill Latency with No Extra Effort
We’ve also added an AWS endpoint to all Alexa-hosted skills in each of the three Alexa Service regions (GA) so you can improve your skill’s experience for international customers. No matter where your customers invoke your skill, they will experience the lowest possible latency. You can also choose where to provision your Amazon S3 media assets so that your APL skills work even faster in these regions. Best of all, Alexa-hosted skills will do this for you by default with no effort required by you. To learn more about Alexa-hosted skills regional endpoints, read the technical documentation here.

Start Building with Alexa-Hosted Skills
Take advantage of these new features and start building with Alexa-hosted skills today.

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