Quick Start: Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI)

The Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) is a tool for you to manage your Alexa skills and related resources, such as AWS Lambda functions. With ASK CLI, you have access to the Skill Management API, which allows you to manage Alexa skills programmatically from the command line.

Step 1: Prerequisites for using ASK CLI

Before you install ASK CLI, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  1. An Amazon developer account. Sign up is free.
  2. Node.js and npm, which comes with Node.js. ASK CLI requires Node.js version 8.3 or higher, but we recommend that you use the current release or active LTS version of Node.js. To install or update your version of Node.js, refer to the Node.js downloads page. To check your version of Node.js, open a command prompt, then type node --version.
  3. Git, for cloning skills from templates in Git repositories. See Installing Git in the Git documentation.

Step 2: Set up an AWS IAM user

If you use AWS Lambda to host your skill's backend logic, then you need AWS credentials. Make sure that your AWS credentials are set up, with the appropriate permissions, on the computer to which you are installing ASK CLI. For more information, see Create AWS credentials.

If you are not using AWS Lambda, you may point skills to your own endpoint, while still using ASK CLI to manage your skill's model.

Step 3: Install and initialize ASK CLI

Use npm to install ASK CLI.

To install ASK CLI:

  • Installation might require that you run as an administrator or super user. On Windows, open PowerShell with the Run as Administrator option. On Linux or macOS, use sudo.
  • Open a command prompt, then type npm install -g ask-cli.

If you already have ASK CLI installed and want to update to the latest version, install it in the same way as a new user.

The first time you use ASK CLI, you must use the ask configure command to initialize ASK CLI with your Amazon and AWS credentials. For more information, see configure command. The ask configure command prompts you to name your ASK profile, choose the AWS profile to use, and then opens a browser so you can sign in to your Amazon developer account. If you're on a computer without a browser installed, you can use the ask configure --no-browser command to complete initialization. After the initialization is complete, you can use ASK CLI to create or manage your skill.

Step 4: Use ASK CLI commands to manage your skill

The following commands provide basic functionality for managing skills. To see all of the commands available in ASK CLI, refer to the ASK CLI Reference.

To set up a skill project with ASK CLI, see Create a new skill project.

ask new
Using this command you can create a new skill project from a template. The newly created skill project folder contains all the necessary files to deploy a skill, with only minimal changes. For more information, see Create a new skill project.
ask deploy
Using this command inside the skill project directory will deploy your skill to your developer account. If you have your AWS credentials set up and your skill is configured to use AWS Lambda, this command will automatically deploy your skill code as well. For more information, see Deploy a skill project to the development stage.

Step 5: Test your skill

The ask deploy command automatically enables your deployed skill, so you can immediately start testing it on your device or using the ask dialog command. You can also use the Alexa Simulator on the Test page of the developer console.