Working with Alexa: Build a How-To Skill

Working with Alexa: Build a How-To Skill

57 minutes 8 Credits

SPL-126 - Version 2.3.7

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In this lab, you will build a web service to handle notifications from Alexa and map this service to a skill in the Amazon Developer Portal. You will use a sample How-To skill for this lab, but you can use this sample as a template after completing the lab. You can make this skill available on your device and to all Alexa users after certification. You will use both the AWS Console and the Amazon Developer Portal in this lab.

You do not need an Alexa device for this lab. The Developer Portal provides testing tools that work in a browser. In this lab, you will use sample code extensively.

Topics covered

By the end of this lab, you will be able to:

  • Create a How-To Alexa skill in the Amazon Developer Portal
  • Create and configure an interaction model for the Alexa skill
  • Create a Lambda function and configure the Alexa skill to use it
  • Test the skill using developer tools and optionally an Alexa device

Technical knowledge prerequisites

To successfully complete this lab, you should be familiar with AWS Lambda through taking the introductory lab. Familiarity with JSON programming will be helpful, although full solution code is provided. You will need to have/create a no-cost, no-credit-card-required account in the Amazon Developer Portal. Familiarity with the Amazon Developer Portal and the Alexa Skills Kit is helpful, though not required. You do not need an Alexa device for this lab.

Other AWS Services

Other AWS Services than the ones needed for this lab are disabled by IAM policy during your access time in this lab. In addition, the capabilities of the services used in this lab are limited to what’s required by the lab and in some cases are even further limited as an intentional aspect of the lab design. Expect errors when accessing other services or performing actions beyond those provided in this lab guide.

Alexa Skills & AWS Lambda

Amazon Alexa Skills

Alexa is the voice service that powers Amazon Echo. Alexa provides capabilities, called "skills", which enable customers to interact with devices using voice (answer questions, play music, and more).

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that make it easy for you to develop your own Alexa skills, which you can then publish. ASK supports simple command-oriented skills, such as "Alexa, ask Greeter to say hello world" as well as sophisticated multi-command dialogs and parameter passing, such as "Alexa, what is this weekend’s weather forecast?" The Alexa Skills Kit is a low-friction way to learn to build for voice. You can get a prototype up and running within hours.

This lab will walk you through creating a simple how-to skill. After you complete the lab, you can use the skill you create as a template for your own skill. Learn more about developing with the Alexa Skills Kit at:

AWS Lambda

Lambda passes on to you the financial benefits of Amazon’s scale. AWS Lambda executes your code only when needed and scales automatically, from a few requests per day to thousands per second. For most developers, the Lambda free tier is sufficient for supporting an Alexa skill.

See the official Amazon Web Services Documentation for Lambda at lambda/. For pricing details, see

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