This commodity is the additional in a two allotment series. In this article, Barry Burd shows you how to affairs with Amazon Echo. To get an overview of Amazon Echo and apprentice about how it works, booty a attending at the aboriginal article: Introducing Amazon Echo
To alpha developing for Amazon Echo, aboriginal assurance into the Amazon Developer Console. Aback you do, you’re taken to a folio with a ample annual of Amazon Web casework (Figure 1). In the high appropriate corner, you’ll see the name of a region, such as N. Virginia, N. California or Tokyo. No amount breadth you live, bang on that name. In the consistent drop-down box, set the arena to N. Virginia. North Virginia is currently the alone arena that handles Lambda requests for the Alexa Abilities Kit.
Figure 1: A annual of Amazon Web services. (Click to appearance larger.)
On the aforementioned page, in the huge annual of AWS services, bang the annual labeled Lambda. In Figure 1, Lambda is the additional annual from the top in the leftmost column.
The abutting webpage that you see lists any Lambda functions that you’ve created (Figure 2).
Click the page’s Get Started Now button or Actualize a Lambda Action button.
Figure 2: A annual of Lambda functions. (Click to appearance larger.)
You actualize a Lambda action in four steps, anniversary one performed on a abstracted webpage.
Figure 3: Blueprints to acquire from. (Click to appearance larger.)
I advance authoritative a baby change in the argument breadth absolute the cipher — a change that will be apparent aback you analysis the new function. For example, if you annal bottomward in the argument area, you’ll see:
Change “Welcome to the Alexa Abilities Kit sample” to “Welcome to the approaching of articulation enabled technology”. Or change “Please acquaint me your admired color” to “Please acquaint me your centermost secrets”. Aback you analysis the accomplishment on a absolute Echo device, the change in diction assures you that Echo is active the action that you created.
Figure 4: Selecting a antecedent for events. (Click to appearance larger.)
On the Step 3 page, acquire the absence ethics in the Handler, Memory and Timeout fields. In the appropriate Role field, baddest Basic Beheading Role — which seems to be the aforementioned as lambda_basic_execution.
Figure 5: Defining a new Lambda function. (Click to appearance larger.)
Note: Aback you baddest a Role, your browser will try to actualize a pop-up (Figure 6). At this point, you charge accept pop-ups enabled in your browser. Otherwise, you can’t get accomplished this Role alternative point. In the pop-up, artlessly bang Allow.
Figure 6: Be abiding to accredit pop-ups. (Click to appearance larger.)
On the Step 4 page, you affirm the choices that you fabricated on the antecedent three pages (Figure 7). Bang Actualize Function.
Figure 7: Affirm choices you’ve made. (Click to appearance larger.)
Figure 8 shows you a folio that describes your new Lambda function. Notice that the action has one accident source; namely, Alexa. Notice additionally that the action has been assigned a different Amazon Resource Name (ARN), alpha with arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1. Copy that ARN for approaching reference.
Figure 8: Describing a new Lambda function. (Click to appearance larger.)
Your abutting assignment is to annals the new Lambda action as a accomplishment on the developer portal. To do so, go to Amazon’s developer site. Baddest Apps and Casework at the top of the page, and Alexa in the row of options anon beneath the top row (Figure 9). In the anatomy of the folio you see two choices: Alexa Abilities Kit and Alexa Articulation Service. Bang the Get Started button for the Alexa Abilities Kit.
Figure 9: Registering a new Lambda function. (Click to appearance larger.)
The abutting folio lists any Alexa abilities that you’ve already registered (Figure 10). If you’re new to Amazon Echo, the annual is empty. The Lambda action that you aloof accomplished creating isn’t yet on the list. To add that action to the list, bang the page’s Add a New Accomplishment Button.
Figure 10: A annual of Alexa abilities already registered. (Click to appearance larger.)
The abutting page, blue-blooded Actualize a New Alexa Skill, has four parts. Notice the box absolute four items on the larboard ancillary of Figure 11. Aback you convenance developing toy Alexa skills, you do alone three of the four parts:
Figure 11: Creating a new Alexa skill. (Click to appearance larger.)
In Alexa’s world, an absorbed is like a adjustment call, and an absorbed action is like a accumulating of adjustment signatures. Anniversary absorbed that’s declared in the action describes the intent’s name and the intent’s slots. The intent’s slots are like a method’s parameters. In case you’re wondering, Amazon’s affidavit makes it bright that an Alexa absorbed is not accompanying to the analogously called Android SDK intent.
Figure 12: Declaring a skill’s Absorbed Action and Sample Utterances. (Click to appearance larger.)
This example’s JSON cipher declares two intents: one called MyColorIsIntent, with a LITERAL blazon slot, and addition called WhatsMyColorIntent, with no slots. The alternatives to LITERAL are NUMBER and DATE. With a NUMBER slot, aback the user says “ten,” the cipher receives the amount 10. With a LITERAL slot, aback the user says “ten,” the cipher receives the chat “ten.”
In the Sample Utterances argument area, access the afterward lines:
These curve acquaint Alexa what kinds of sentences to apprehend from the user. For example, to activate the MyColorIsIntent, the user ability say “My blush is green” or “My admired blush is ablaze grey.” In the Sample Utterances argument area, words like red and fleet dejected are alone abode holders for words that the user ability say.
When you’ve abounding in the Absorbed Action and Sample Utterances areas, bang Next.
You: Alexa, ask about admired colors.
Alexa: Welcome to the Alexa Abilities Kit sample. Please acquaint me your admired blush by adage “my admired blush is red.”
You: My admired blush is magenta.
Alexa: I now apperceive your admired blush is magenta. You can ask me your admired blush by saying, “What’s my admired color?”
You: What’s my admired color?
Alexa: Your admired blush is magenta. Goodbye.
Figure 13: Testing your accomplishment with Echo. (Click to appearance larger.)
Notice that Alexa accepts blush names that aren’t absolutely in the Sample Utterances text. For example, if I say “My admired blush is refrigerator,” Echo says “I now apperceive your admired blush is refrigerator.” Echo additionally accepts the three-word byword “book cat flashlight” as my admired color.
You ability additionally appetite to see one of the request/response pairs circuitous in your chat with Echo. To do so, acknowledgment to the folio in Figure 2 and bang the anew created MyColorFunction row. Aback you do, you’ll see a folio like the one Figure 14 shows. On that page, baddest Configure Sample Accident from the Actions drop-down list.
Figure 14: Viewing request/response pairs. (Click to appearance larger.)
In acknowledgment to your selection, the website shows you a pop-up like the one Figure 15 shows. This pop-up contains the cipher for a request:
When you say “My admired blush is blue,” Echo sends this JSON cipher to the cloud. In the pop-up Figure 15 shows, you can change dejected to magenta, to refrigerator, or alike to gibberish text.
Figure 15: Altering response/request code. (Click to appearance larger.)
When you bang the Submit button in Figure 15, you see a acknowledgment of the afterward affectionate from the cloud:
When you allocution to your Echo device, the accessory plays a argument amount from this JSON acknowledgment on its speaker.
It’s not actual advantageous to accept a accessory acquaint me my admired color, abnormally if I called the blush a few abnormal earlier. But simple Hello Apple examples don’t accept to be useful. Instead, they accept to be clay simple, and they accept to authenticate the anatomy of the band-aid to added circuitous problems. The blush accomplishment that’s accessible on Amazon’s AWS armpit does aloof that.
Every developer knows the activity that a accurate app ability never run. So, it’s a appropriate faculty of bliss aback the app absolutely runs. That’s the activity I had aback I got this simple accomplishment alive on my home Alexa device. I talked to the device, the accessory exchanged advice with the cloud, and again the accessory talked back. My wife activated the accomplishment and, at the end of the session, acquainted accountable to say “thank you” to Alexa.
For a developer, the abutting accomplish are to generalize from the simple “What’s my admired color?” code, and to try some alternatives to the Lambda/Node.js combination. For example, you can advance for Echo in Java instead of Node.js. You can host your accomplishment as a Web account on your own Internet-accessible endpoint.
Who knows? Eventually, you ability be adage “Alexa, access acceleration to Warp 10.”
What has your acquaintance been with articulation acceptance applications? Let us know.
IT ponders articulation acceptance for work
Mastercard articulation acceptance achieves success
Follow Cameron McKenzie on Twitter: @potemcamFollow Barry too: @allmycode
Books bound by Barry Burd:
Java For Dummies Android Application Development All-in-One For Dummies Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies Java Programming for Android Developers For Dummies
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