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January 24, 2019Leo Ohannesian
We’re excited to announce that all Alexa developers now have access to Alexa-hosted skills (beta), a new offering that automatically provisions and manages a set of AWS cloud services for your skill’s back-end. With an Alexa-hosted skill, you can build, edit, and publish a skill without leaving the Alexa Developer Console. This allows you to build skills quickly and spend your time designing engaging experiences, rather than managing cloud services. Alexa-hosted skills are available to developers in all Alexa locales but you will only be able to create and edit hosted skills through the console during the beta period.
More than 500 developers have already created over 1,000 voice experiences using Alexa-hosted skills during the private preview. Developers involved in the preview enjoyed the simplicity of the experience and highlighted the value of being able to deploy and test skill code in less than 2 minutes after creating a skill.
An Alexa skill consists of a front-end voice model and a backend cloud service that processes requests and tells Alexa how to respond. Previously you had to provision and manage this backend on your own with a cloud endpoint, services for media storage, and a code repository. Alexa-hosted skills offers an easier option. It automatically provisions and hosts an AWS Lambda endpoint, Amazon S3 media storage, and a table for session persistence so that you can get started quickly with your latest project. You’ll be able to use a new code editor in the Alexa Developer Console to edit and deploy your code. AWS Lambda will route your skill request, execute your skill code, and manage your skill’s compute services. You can use Amazon S3 for media files, such as images to be shown on multimodal devices like Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Fire TV. AWS CodeCommit is also included as part of a hosted skill’s deployment pipeline so that your skill’s code is kept in a secure repository from the start, even if you are just building an early prototype. You can use AWS Lambda, Amazon S3, and AWS CodeCommit up to the limits of the AWS Free Tier with Alexa-hosted skills.
Alexa-hosted skills enables you to build skills faster and more efficiently. From the start, you get a set of cloud services tuned to your skill-building needs and a skill package that leverages the latest Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and AWS SDKs. The console’s code editor deploys AWS Lambda code in under 10 seconds when new dependencies don’t have to be deployed, which allows for rapid iteration and makes Alexa-hosted skills the easiest way to get started with a new custom skill.
Alexa-hosted skills are available to developers building skills in all locales. During the beta period, developers should note that the console’s code editor has not yet been translated into Japanese and that all AWS services will be hosted in the US East (N. Virginia) region.
Get started with Alexa-hosted skills today by selecting the “Alexa-Hosted (Beta)” option for your skill’s back-end when creating a new skill. Learn more in our documentation.