November 15, 2018BJ Haberkorn
Editor's Note: Alexa-hosted skills is now available in Beta for all developers to use. There is no sign up process. To create a skill that is Alexa-hosted, select "Alexa-Hosted (Beta)" as your back end resource in the "Create a new skill" page.
We’re excited to announce the developer preview of Alexa-hosted skills, a new offering that automatically provisions and manages a set of AWS cloud resources for your skill’s back-end service. With an Alexa-hosted skill, you can build, edit, and publish a skill without leaving the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) 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. To apply to participate in the preview, fill in the short survey here.
An Alexa skill consists of a front-end voice model and a back-end cloud service that processes requests and tells Alexa how to respond. Previously you had to provision and manage this back end on your own with a cloud endpoint, resources for media storage, and a code repository. Alexa-hosted skills offer 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 ASK 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 resources. 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.