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July 24, 2018Nate Schulz
Editors' Note: The Gadgets Skill API is now the Echo Buttons Skill API. The interface names and underlying functionality are unchanged.
ou can now test your Alexa skills for Echo Buttons without owning an Echo device or Echo Buttons by using the Alexa simulator in the Alexa Developer Console. The simulator enables you to focus on delivering fun experiences for Echo Buttons using audio, text, and button input. Use the simulator to debug JSON requests and responses and to test template rendering, multi-turn conversations, entity resolution, dialog management, and more. Echo Buttons customers are always looking for great games to play with their friends and family and we're making it easier for you to make the next great skill they will love.
Starting today, if your Alexa skill uses the GadgetController or GameEngine custom skill interfaces you will be presented with four simulated Echo Buttons when you test your skill using the Test tab in the Alexa Developer Console. You can use these buttons just as you would a pack of physical Echo Buttons; simply click on the buttons to send button events to your skill and display your light animations on each of the buttons during the skill session.
Since the Echo Buttons are integrated into the simulator environment, you will be able to see additional information in the existing Device Log output. You can use these logs to reconcile with events that your skill receives and logs.
In this example below, we launched the Quick Colors skill to test the launch request and roll call features.
Due to the natural difference between the RGB LEDs in the Echo Buttons and colors rendered in a web browser, the color represented in the simulator may not match the color rendered on the Echo Buttons. For best results, we recommend testing colors on physical Echo Buttons hardware prior to publishing your skill.
The Skill I/O panel can be insightful when debugging or testing a skill. This continues to be true for Echo Buttons skills. You’ll be able to see your skill’s directives, including gadget directives, in its response. Please note that Skill I/O may only be available for simulated voice requests and launch requests.
Echo Buttons support in the Alexa simulator is currently in public beta in the US, the UK, and Germany while development continues. For the best experience, we recommend using the latest version of Google Chrome. The Alexa simulator also works in the latest versions of Firefox and Apple's Safari. Be sure to leave us feedback in the Alexa Gadgets Developer Forum.
We're excited to bring these improvements to Echo Buttons Skill Developers, and we hope you find this addition to the Alexa simulator useful. We look forward to seeing the experiences that you create for Echo Buttons!