Amazon’s Alexa is the most popular virtual assistant of all, even if Siri and Google have their fans. One of the Alexa platform’s strengths is its impressive flexibility, a feature enabled largely by its openness to third-party developers.
Simple apps that run on Alexa are termed “skills” and can be added by anyone with a bit of technical know-how. Putting a piece of information, a game, or a podcast on amazon alexa is easy enough that even non-developers have done so quite successfully.
Follow the five steps outlined below and you can create your own Alexa skill and make it available to everyone. Amazon’s official documentation for Alexa contains plenty of additional information about each of these subjects.
1. Plan Ahead
2. Register Your Skill in Amazon’s Developer Console
3. Build an Interaction Model
4. Write the Required Code
Some Alexa skills consist of little more than canned responses to predetermined questions. Many others require at least a bit of code-based logic to deliver the results users expect.
As might be anticipated, developers are expected to use the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform to host any code they write. Standalone AWS Lambda functions can be used to run small, independent snippets of code that correspond to particular Alexa queries.
4. Get Certified
Although the platform is fairly open, publishing a skill on Alexa requires obtaining certification first. The Developer Console includes tests that will need to be run before Amazon will consider okaying a new skill.
Once certification has been granted, an Alexa skill becomes ready for anyone to use. Most developers find that it pays to put some effort into marketing their Alexa-based creations to make sure others will discover them.
The five simple steps above can be followed to turn a concept into a fully functional Alexa skill. Alexa’s popularity ensures that developers with interesting, creative ideas always meet with success when they make their own skills available to the public.