AlexaDev Tuesday: Happy Trails, Devs!

Sorry kids, but it's time for me to say happy trails, devs. I am discontinuing the weekly AlexaDev Tuesday feature, for reasons.     Reasons The way I support myself and this site is via the advertiser links you see here on the site. People click the links, the advertisers kick a tiny commission on the sale back to me while keeping the price the same for the customer. The AlexaDev...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Using Javascript To Write A File To S3 On The Fly

Post Published 6/26/18 - Short and sweet today: I've got a tip for the Javascript skill devs out there. Did you know it's possible to have your Lambda function write a file to S3 on the fly? Think It Through Before I share the javascript snippet to use, a warning: there are security implications in letting your skill write a file to your repository in real time, because of course the skill must...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Amazon Alexa Developer Blog Roundup

Amazon's Alexa engineers are always working behind the scenes to add new features and functionality not just for consumers, but developers as well. Today's post offers an Amazon Alexa Developer Blog roundup, to point the way to some timely new blog posts Alexa skill devs are sure to find informative.     From Echo Buttons To HypRank, These Posts Will Get You Up To Speed The first two...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Two Free Codecademy Alexa Skill Design Courses

I recently shared a list of low-cost and free training resources for Alexa developers, and today I've got two free Codecademy Alexa skill design courses to take you from newbie to advanced.     Yes, Codecademy Is Free There's some confusion around Codecademy because you must register to access any of their courses, and as soon as you do you get a popup telling you a free Codecademy Pro...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Finally, A Default, Fallback Intent for Alexa Skills!

Christmas came early this year for Alexa developers, because Amazon has finally granted one of our fondest wishes! This month a default, Fallback Intent for Alexa skills was added to the interaction model.     The Fallback Intent Is Added Automatically We've always had to anticipate how users will interact with our skills, but it's impossible to predict every possible thing a user might...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Where To Get Affordable Alexa Skill Training

Finding free and low cost Alexa skill training is getting trickier. A lot of the courses that used to be free are now pay-to-play, some have become stale-dated, and some have disappeared entirely. Today's post is about where to find affordable (meaning free and low-cost) courses in Alexa skill development.     Note that I do not receive any type of payment, commission, or other...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Monetizing Alexa Skills

Monetizing Alexa skills just got a whole lot easier, with Amazon's rollout of tools to support one-time purchases and subscriptions in Alexa skills---including a sample monetized Alexa skill to work from.     Amazon's New Sample Skill + Resources Amazon's got a lot to offer in terms of resources to get developers off to a good start with monetizing their Alexa skills. From Jeff...

AlexaDev Tuesday: New Echo Spot Simulator For Test

Amazon's Alexa devices with screens, the Show and Spot, are pretty spendy. If you've been wanting to create some skills for these devices but don't own the necessary hardware for test, I've got some good news for you. A Show screen simulator has been available in the new developer portal for some time, and now there's an Echo Spot simulator available for test there as well.     From...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Alexa Blueprints & Skill Devs

Amazon's big, new Alexa initiative, Alexa Blueprints, launched last week. At first glance it may seem like Alexa Blueprints and skill devs are natural enemies, that Blueprints may make custom skill dev a thing of the past. A closer look is more reassuring.     Blueprint Skills Are Private To Alexa Devices Of The Consumer Who Creates Them This is probably the most important thing to...

AlexaDev Tuesday: Javascript Date Math

You may have seen skills that deliver a custom, daily response keyed to the day of the year. Today's post demonstrates how to achieve this using Javascript date math.     Date vs. Day Of Year First, it's important to think in terms of day of year rather than calendar date. The number of days in a year can vary from 365-366, depending on whether or not it's a Leap Year. If you don't plan...