Capabilities and Development of Alexa Skills

Description of your Amazon Alexa Skill

Alexa is regarded as the Amazon cloud-based voice service, as well as brains of millions of the devices that are not limited to the Fire TV, third party devices and Echo family of devices. Alexa is known for availing the built-in capabilities which are commonly referred to as skills. For instance, Alexa has the ability of playing a movie and even respond to questions. The Alexa skills kit allows one to teach the new skills. This is due to the fact that customers have a chance of accessing new abilities by simply asking Alexa the relevant questions or even making requests. One can still build the skills given that the platform facilitates users with a range of abilities. The purpose of Alexa depends on the skill set to be developed or created. What is even more important is to determine how one’s skill integrates the Alexa service with what needs to be built. The kit for Alexa skills allows one to create or make use of the skill type.


In the course of creating the skill, one is forced to look for the information with the help of a web service. Then the process would allow integrating the information with the web service before ordering for anything. The second option is the skill type, which is denoted as custom skill which is integrated in the custom interaction model. The latter demands that one should define the requests the intended skill can handle as well as the words users would end saying that will invoke the intended requests. For instance, the movie skill API is known for defining requests the significant skill would handle and words that users would say to prompt the utterances. For one to build a skill, such as the movie skill API as considered in this case, a number of procedures would be considered as established by Amazon. First, the developer is required to create the developer account with Amazon.

The console https://developer is commonly used in creating an Amazon account. The prompts can be followed as one enters the registration details as well as consent the significant Amazon Developer Services Agreement. The developer can create the skill configuration which is responsible for collection of information regarding the skill. The Alexa services would use the configuration in the course of determining the kind of user requests that would be sent to the significant service linked to the skill. Commonly, developers would go for the custom skill where one would need to have an internet accessible endpoint, which is needed for the cloud based services. The easiest way is to consider the significant option of the AWS lambda in which the service would be added to the developer account. Ultimately, one can take advantage of hosting on the HTTPS web service where an SSL certificate and the cloud hosting provider are required. The lambda function can as well be authored in the node.js, python, Java and Go as well as C#. Alexa also provides an optional device for testing such as the Amazon tap, Amazon echo as well as Amazon Echo Dot.

Critical Evaluation

Working an Alexa skill is more interesting and one would find fun in it. However, challenges are imminent and can therefore not be ignored. Despite encountering the challenges, the development went as planned. I took advantage of the OMDB API which has three pieces of information which are contained in an API request. For the purposes of accessing details aligned to a given film such as the writer, the director or genre, a URL need to be specified using the unique API key as well as the film name towards the end. For example, if it is Avengers Endgame then the (+) need to be introduced at the center for the code to return the desirable outcome. The API has is regarded as a restful web that can obtain the movie details, the content and the images linked to a particular site as chosen by the user. I developed proper codes that were supported by the request library as one way of getting the rating style aligned to the film being requested.

Other details can still be retrieved in almost the same manner with property name Rated that needs to be changed to the required information that is being requested. In the test, details of the film should reflect the Avengers Endgame with the slot named Movie and the intent bears the name MovieYear. Therefore, given the specific parameters, it was easier to match the slot name, the film and the intent name which needs to be adjusted in the code. Any movie skill that would be introduced would bring out the name of the film as Avengers Endgame, the slot name as Movie and the intent should indicate the movie year. With my primary attempts of bringing out the specific values, I forgot to change the parameters which kept giving the movie instead of producing the movie name in the required command code. A recheck of the code, however, allow me to notice the simple mistakes and corrected them in the required order.

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A cross-check of the code allowed me to realign the parameters while trying to display the required outcome. However, it takes some time before one can customize or revise the customized skill and attaining the required outcome as far as the Amazon Alexa Skill is put into consideration. I learned a few things from this experience. First, one needs to learn more about device state-change notification. Proactive states can be updated to Alexa especially when one has the event messages. Notably, Alexa can easily facilitate the information which would allow users to take action. For instance, if the movie name is introduced in the slot name, then the code should either send an erroneous report or change with the movie name if the change is automated. It is more appropriate to query the capability especially when the properties of the query need to be defined thereby allowing the users to keep an eye and the current state aligned to the device.

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