Certify and Publish Your Skill

Welcome to Module 8 of the beginner workshop about building an engaging Alexa skill. In this module, you'll learn how to certify and publish your skill for customers to use.

Time required: 15 - 30 minutes

What you'll learn:

  • What skill certification is and why it's required
  • How to validate and test your skill
  • How to use the submission checklist
  • How to submit a skill for certification
  • What the different publication statuses are
  • How to update your skill
  • How to roll-back your skill to a prior version
  • How to hide or remove your skill from the Alexa Skills Store

Step by Step: Certify and publish your skill

To complete this module, you need to sign in to the Alexa developer console with your Amazon developer account, and then open the Cake Time skill.

If you aren't signed in already, open the Alexa developer console Sign-In page, enter your Amazon developer account credentials, and then click Sign-In.

Step 1: Run validation and pre-certification tests on your skill

When you run validation, the tool performs the following tasks:

  1. Verifies that all required Alexa Skills Store fields are complete.

  2. Performs a set of pre-certification tests on the skill. These tests send requests to your skill's endpoint.

    The validation tool runs tests for all locales that your skill supports. When the tool finds issues, the Validation page lists them by locale.

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

To run the validation and pre-certification tests

  1. In the developer console, open your skill, and then click the Certification tab.

  2. On the Validation page, under Fixes Required, fix any issues found, and then click the Certification tab.
  3. On the Validation page, click Run to re-run the tests.

  4. When you have fixed all remaining issues, the Validation page displays Zero errors found.

Step 2: Review the submission checklists

The Validation page can help you find issues that would cause your skill to fail certification. However, this page doesn't perform the full set of tests that are part of certification. To make sure your skill passes certification, review the relevant submission checklists for your skill's interaction model and any special features.

To review the submission checklists

  1. In the Alexa Skills Kit documentation, go to Review the submission checklists.

  2. Click through the list of links, and then follow the instructions.

Step 3: Submit your skill for certification review

After you've run your validation and pre-certification tests, reviewed the submission checklists, and you have zero errors, you can submit your skill for certification review.

To submit your skill for certification review

  1. In the developer console, open your skill, and then click the Certification tab.

  2. In the left-hand column, click Submission.

  3. On the Submission page, next to Publishing preference, select the radio button next to one of the two options:

    • To publish your skill as soon as it's approved and be notified by email that it's live, select Certify and publish now.
    • To choose when your skill or update goes live for customers at some point after certification, select Certify and publish later.

    Submission Page

  4. In the field next to Version message, to help keep track of different versions of your skill, enter a brief message about this skill version.

  5. In the upper-right corner, click Submit for review. After you submit the skill, the skill status shows "In Review". While the skill is in the certification process, you can't make any changes to the configuration.

  6. (Optional) If needed, to withdraw your skill from the certification process, click Withdraw from review.

    When you submit the skill, the pre-certification functional tests run automatically. If the skill fails any of these tests, Amazon removes the skill certification and returns it to development status. If this happens, Amazon notifies you by email at the address associated with your Amazon Developer account.

Step 4: Check the certification status of your skill

After submission, you can view the status of your skill and any updates from the certification review process.

  1. In the developer console, open your skill, and then click the Certification tab.

  2. In the left-hand column, under Validation, click Submission.

  3. On the Submission page, in the Certification Updates section, under the TIME column, you see the date and time of various updates.

  4. Under the NOTES column, you see the date and time when certification results should be available.

    Submission Page

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

  5. If the skill was certified, the email provides an estimate for when it will become available to end users.

  6. If the skill wasn't certified, the email provides information about the issues you need to correct. You can make any necessary changes and then re-submit your skill.

    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 aren't available in all countries.

Step 5: Check the publication status of your skill

The developer console categorizes the publication status of your skills to help you keep track of your overall skill building process. The current publication status for a skill is displayed in the developer console in your list of skills.

  1. Open the developer console, and on the Skills tab, locate the row for your skill.

  2. Under the STATUS column, view the status of your skill.

  3. Review following list to understand what the various status names mean:

    • In Dev: your skill is in development and available only to you. If you have enabled it for testing, you can test it on devices registered to your developer account.
    • In Cert: your skill is in certification. Amazon is currently reviewing your skill for publication. During this time, you can't edit the configuration.
    • Certified: your skill is certified, but not published. If you chose to certify, but not publish immediately, your skill will be in this state until you select the option to publish it.
    • Live: your skill is published and is available to users. You can't edit the configuration for live skills.
    • Hidden: your skill was previously published, but is now hidden. The skill is no longer available when customers search or browse the Alexa Skills Store, but customers that already have the skill enabled can continue to use it.
    • Removed: your skill was previously published, but now is removed. Customers can't enable or use the skill, even if it was enabled on their account previously.

(Optional) Step 6: Roll back your skill to a previous version

Despite your best efforts, sometimes a bug or other error goes live with the latest release. You can use the skill rollback feature to switch back to an earlier version of your skill. Because the earlier version already passed certification, you won't have to wait for another review.

Make your edits and fixes while a "last known good" runs for your customers, and then submit the updated version for certification.

The rollback feature is available from the Version history section of the Certification tab. For detailed instructions, see Role back your skill by using the developer console in the Alexa Skills Kit documentation.

(Optional) Step 7: Revise and update your skill after publication

After Amazon publishes your skill to end users, your skill's status changes to "Live." You can't 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. After Amazon certifies the new version, 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.

(Optional) Step 8: Hide or remove your skill

You can suppress a live skill so customers can no longer enable it. Suppression applies to the skill in all locales. You can't 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 can't enable or use the skill.

To hide or remove your live skill

  1. Open the developer console, and on the Skills tab, locate the row for your existing live skill.

  2. In the Actions column, from the Choose action menu, select Hide or Remove.

  3. When prompted, select a reason for the skill suppression, and then click Hide or Remove.

    This action sends a request to hide or remove the skill. The suppression might take a few days to complete. After the skill is suppressed, the updated status is displayed in the skills list STATUS column of the developer console Skills tab.

    To re-publish your skill, update the development version, and then re-submit for certification. When your re-submit your skill, a new certification process begins.

When you finish Step 8, this concludes Module 8. You're almost done! Continue to Module 9 to wrap up the workshop and see additional skill building resources.

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