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Use the Skill Flow Builder Editor

The Skill Flow Builder Editor provides a graphical interface (GUI) where you can create, edit, and preview content for your skill. A Map View shows the scenes in your content and how the scenes flow into one another. Follow the directions in the following sections to learn how to use the editor.

Prerequisites

To run the Skill Flow Builder Editor, you must meet the following minimum system requirements:

  • Operating system: macOS v10.14 Mojave, Windows 10 (x64)
  • 1 GB of available hard disk space
  • Dual-core CPU at 2 GHz
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 1024px x 768px display resolution
  • Install Node.js version 10.15 or later.

Get started

Open the Skill Flow Builder Editor

Open the Skill Flow Builder Editor on: Windows

Open the Skill Flow Builder Editor on: Mac

Set the editor mode

In the top-right corner of the Skill Flow Builder Editor, select from the following editing modes:

Source mode: This mode is for voice designers and developers. Use this mode to create your game or story by editing the text of the .abc file directly. For information about the content format for the Skill Flow Builder, see Use Skill Flow Builder to Create Your Content.

Guided mode: This mode is for voice designers. It provides a graphical user interface for editing the say section, graphics, and actions for the currently selected scene. On the left side of the Skill Flow Builder Editor, use the Map view to create or delete scenes.

Writer mode :This mode is for localization. The visual content editor shows the content that the skill says for each scene and the hear utterances that Alexa listens for. From the top menu, select a locale and edit the strings for the locale, then click Save. Then, use the simulator to preview your changes for the locale. After you deploy your skill, the skill uses the locale-specific strings. If you are not internationalizing your skill, you do not need to use the Writer mode.

Understand the Map view

The Map view shows a diagram of the voice flow of your skill. Each scene in your skill is a dot, and each transition to another scene is a line. Green lines are hear commands. Hover over a green line to show what Alexa listens for to trigger the command. Solid gray lines represent direct go-to links, showing scenes that are either directly chained together or are chained together through logical operations.

To expand or collapse a node in the map view, click the plus sign (+) or the minus sign (-).

Create, edit, and link a node for your game or story

To create a new child node:

  1. Make sure that the editor is in Source mode or Guided mode.
  2. From the left menu, open the Map view.
  3. In the Map view, click a node.
  4. Use icons to create a node.

The editor creates a node that uses a hear command, where you can change what you want Alexa to listen for to trigger the new node.

To rename a node:

  1. Make sure that the editor is in Source mode or Guided mode.
  2. In the Map view, select the node.
  3. Next to the node name, click the pencil button, and then edit the name.

When you rename a node, the editor automatically updates the parent node to refer to the node by its new name.

To delete a node:

  1. Make sure the editor is in Source mode or Guided mode.
  2. In the Map view, click the node.
  3. Use icons to delete a node.

Edit the content for a scene

Use Guided mode to edit what the scene says, what it shows, and the actions it takes, For example:

  • Edit the say section to change what Alexa says.
  • Use different voices in the say section by selecting text and then in the pop-up menu selecting the name of the voice to use.
  • Edit the reprompt section, which is what Alexa says if the user does not answer a question after a few seconds.
  • Use the Actions tab to select what your scene should do, for example go to another scene directly, or listen for additional phrases to trigger scenes to go to.

Use audio or images in your content

Navigate to the desired content panel you want on the left side of the editor window, and then click and drag the content to the right side of the window.

To preview your game

  1. Select Simulate mode tab, and then click Simulate from Start button. In the editor, you can turn the voice preview on or off.

  2. If changes to your audio didn’t update, click the Clear Voice Preview Cache from the troubleshooting menu.

You can edit variables on the bottom of the page. The editor can save changes and return you to your simulation state.

Complete other tasks outside the Skill Flow Builder Editor

To edit your AWS resources, deployment details, or project settings, use the editor of your choice to modify the abcConfig.json file.

Use Snippets

Snippets provide a shorter syntax for performing common operations in your skill's *.abc files. This helps make your files shorter and simpler, and makes future changes easier. Snippets also allow you to shorten the URLs to resources used in your skill such links to audio or image files.

To use a snippet, use brackets that enclose the snippet name like [<snippetName>] in any of your skill say, recap, prompt again, or then sections.

The following example shows a snippet for creating an <audio src=".." /> tag and a break tag.

    *say
        [sfx trumpet_1.mp3] Good morning, [pause] it's time to get up.

During simulate/runtime, the previous snippet is turned into a string similar to the following example.

<audio src='https://s3.amazonaws.com/alexa-ml/testadventureskill/en-US/audio/trumpet_1.mp3' /> Good morning, <break time='1s'/> it's time to get up.

Add Snippets

You can use the Skill Flow Builder editor to add a snippet, using the Snippets panel.

  1. In the Snippets panel and click New snippet at the top.

  2. In the Name field, enter a name, which is what you will put inside of "[]" brackets.

  3. In the Value field, enter the longer value that you want it to evaluate to.

You can also create snippets by modifying the Snippets.json file inside of your project's "content/<locale>/ directory.

The following example shows what the Snippets.json file might look like:

{
    "sfx": "<audio src='$SNIPPET_S3_RESOURCES_URI/audio/$1'/>",

    "pic": "$SNIPPET_S3_RESOURCES_URI/images/$1",

    "trumpet": "<audio src='https://s3.amazonaws.com/alexa-ml/sounds/sound-library-loud/Instruments/Trumpet_1.mp3' />",

    "pause for": "<break time='$1'/>",

    "pause": "<break time='1s'/>",

    "kid": "<voice name='Justin'>",

    "/kid": "</voice>"
}

You can add additional snippets to this file by adding additional lines with snippet "names" and "values".

Delete snippets

In the editor's Snippets panel, you can click the trash can icon to delete a snippet.

You might also edit the Snippets.json file directly for your project to remove snippets.

Edit snippets

To edit an existing snippet in the editor, you must first delete the snippet then make a new snippet with the same name. Or, you can edit the Snippets.json file directly.

Use snippets with custom parameters

Some snippets can take additional parameters, such as the [sfx] snippet. To create a snippet that takes extra parameters, use the $1, $2, $3, etc. variables to handle your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. parameters.

{
    "greeting": "Hello there $1, this is $2."
}

This snippet could then be used by calling it as follows:

    *say
        [greeting John Amanda]

Which would turn into this phrase at simulate/runtime.

    Hello there John, this is Amanda.

Snippets with default content URLs

You can also use snippets to substitute your skills default content URL into your audio/image tags used within your skill. The special variable "$SNIPPET_S3_RESOURCES_URI" is replaced by the S3 path and bucket configured in your skills "abcConfig.json" file.

The following example shows the snippet structure beforehand.

{
    "sfx": "<audio src='$SNIPPET_S3_RESOURCES_URI/audio/$1'/>"
}

The following example shows how the structure turns into the following snippet at simulate/runtime.

{
    "sfx": "<audio src='https://s3.amazonaws.com/alexa-ml/testadventureskill/en-US/audio/$1'/>"
}