Steps to Build a Flash Briefing Skill

Complete the following steps to create and configure a Flash Briefing skill in the Alexa developer console, test the skill, and submit it for certification. When you create a Flash Briefing skill, you define one or more feeds that provide content for the skill. A feed can be text or audio that you own or have the rights to distribute.

Before you build a Flash Briefing skill, review Tips for Creating a Great Flash Briefing Skill. Then, complete the following steps to build a Flash Briefing skill.

Prerequisites

Before you build a Flash Briefing skill, make sure that you have the following items:

  • An Amazon developer account. You can use an existing Amazon account to sign in, or you can create a new Amazon developer account. The account is free.
  • An Alexa-enabled device, such as an Amazon Echo. Make sure that you sign in to the Echo with the same credentials as your Alexa developer account.
  • The Amazon Alexa app on your mobile device. For instructions about how to download the Alexa app, see Download the Alexa app on the Amazon website. Make sure that you sign in to the Alexa app on your mobile device with the same credentials as your Alexa developer account.

Steps to build a Flash Briefing skill

To build a Flash Briefing skill, complete the following steps:

  1. Create a skill in the developer console.
  2. Add feeds to your skill.
  3. Test your skill.
  4. Provide publishing information.
  5. Submit your skill for certification.

Step 1: Create a skill in the developer console

You create a new Flash Briefing skill in the by using the Alexa Skills Kit developer console.

To create a skill in the developer console

  1. Sign in to the Alexa developer console.
  2. Click the Create Skill button.
  3. On the Create a new skill page, provide the following information:

    1. For Skill name, enter a name for your skill.
    2. For Default language, select the language for your skill.
      Each Flash Briefing skill targets a single language. After you select a language, you can't change it. The preamble, error message, descriptions and content must be in the same language that you select for the skill.
    3. For Choose a model to add to your skill, select Flash Briefing.
    4. For Choose a method to host your skill's backend resources, select Provision your own.
    5. In the upper-right corner, click Create skill.
  4. For Custom Error Message, enter an error message for Alexa to read when your feed content isn't available for some reason.
    The language of the message must match the language that you chose for your skill. For an English skill, your error message must be in English. For a German skill, your error message must be in German.

Step 2: Add feeds to your skill

A Flash Briefing skill can contain multiple feeds of text or audio content. Alexa reads text feeds by using text-to-speech (TTS) and plays audio feeds. Typically each feed focuses on a specific genre of content, such as sports or local news. One feed is the default feed, and is always turned on for your skill. The remainder of the feeds for a skill can be turned on by the customer. For details about the feed formats and contents, see Flash Briefing Skill API Feed Reference.

To add feeds to your Flash Briefing skill

  1. On the Flash Briefing page, click + Add new feed.
  2. For Preamble, enter the audio introduction for the feed, up to 70 characters.
    Alexa says the preamble before reading or playing the feed contents, for example "In developer news." The language of the preamble must match the language that you chose for your skill.

    The preamble must start or end with the following words:

    • For English (All), start with "In" or "From."
    • For German (DE), start with "In," "Im," "Von," "Vom," or "Aus."
    • For Spanish (ES, US, MX), start with "En" or "De."
    • For French (CA, FR), start with "Dans," "De," "Du," "Sur," or "En."
    • For Portuguese (PT), start with "Em," "De," "Da," or "Do."
    • For Italian (IT), start with "Di," "Da," "In," "Su," or "Per."
    • For Japanese (JP), end with から, からお伝えします, よりお伝えします, が提供しています, or がお送りします.
    • For Hindi (IN), end with में or से.
  3. For Name, enter a name that's unique for this skill and helps customers understand the content.
  4. For Content update frequency, from the drop-down, select the value closest to how frequently you update your content.
  5. For Content type, select whether your feed text or audio. For text, you can provide a feed in RSS or JSON format. For audio, provide stereo or mono MP3 with a bitrate of at least 256kbps.
  6. For Content genre, select the best description of your content.
  7. For Feed, enter the URL of the feed.
    The URL can't require the customer to login.
  8. For Feed Icon, add an image to represent your content feed.
    The image appears in the Alexa app and must be a 512 x 512 pixel jpg or png.
    To view the image in the Alexa app, go to More > Settings > News >Flash Briefing.
  9. To add the feed, click Add.
  10. Repeat steps 1 – 9 for each feed that you want to add.
  11. After you finishing adding feeds, click Save.

Repeat these steps each feed you provide for the skill. The first feed you add is automatically set as the default feed. If you add more feeds, you can change the default feed by selecting it in the Default column.

Step 3: Test your skill

Next, you test your Flash Briefing skill in the Alexa app and with an Alexa-enabled device. If you use a device, register the device to your Amazon developer account so the skill appears on the device. To test the skill you must define at least one feed.

To test your Flash Briefing skill

  1. Complete the steps to enable your skill for testing in the developer console.
  2. Find your skill in the Alexa app, enable it, and then ask Alexa for your Flash Briefing.
    Verify that Alexa reads or plays your content.
  3. Enable all of the feeds in your skill, and test them to verify that they all work correctly.
  4. When you're done testing your skill, select Next.

Step 4: Provide publishing information

In the Alexa app, customers scroll through a list of skills and select a skill to see detailed information. You provide the description and image for your Flash Briefing skill in the developer console. For more details about publishing your skill, see Define Skill Store Details and Availability.

To provide skill details to publish your skill

  1. In the developer console, open the Distribution page.
  2. For Public Name, enter the name that appears to customers in the Alexa app.
  3. For One Sentence Description, enter the description that appears in the Alexa app when a customer browses the skill list.
  4. For Detailed Description, enter the description that appears when a customer selects your skill for more information. Include a list of all the feeds that are offered with your skill.
  5. Add a Small Skill Icon (108 x 108 pixels) and a Large Skill Icon (512 x 512 pixels). If your images are the wrong size, Amazon rejects the skill.
  6. For Category, select the category that best describes your skill.
  7. For Keywords, enter search terms to help customers find your skill.
  8. (Optional) Provide a Privacy Policy URL and a Terms of Use URL.
  9. When you're done, click Save and continue.
  10. On the Privacy and Compliance, answer the questions regarding purchases and personal information.
    1. For Export Compliance, select the option to certify that your Flash Briefing skill can be imported to and exported from the United States and all countries that Amazon operates in.
    2. (Optional) For Testing Instructions, enter instructions for testing your skill.
    3. When you're done, click Save and continue.
  11. On the Availability page, for Who should have access to this skill?, select whether the skill is Public or an Alexa for Business skill.
    1. For Where would you like this skill to be available?, select the countries and regions to make your skill available.
    2. To save the skill details, click Save and continue.

Step 5: Submit your skill for certification

Before you submit your skill for certification, use the Flash Briefing Skill Certification Checklist to perform a final review.

To submit your skill for certification in the developer console

  1. In the developer console, open the Certification page.
  2. On the Validation page, click Run.
  3. For Required fixes, go back and fix your skill details.
  4. To submit your Flash Briefing skill for certification, on the Submission page, click Submit for Review.
    If any information is missing, you must provide it before you can submit your skill.