Alexa For Developers
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 05 July 2019

Amazon has released a new digital course for developers and designers who want to create apps, referred to as skills, for Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. Is it a good idea to join the Alexa Skill bandwagon?


The introduction of in-skill purchasing made Alexa an attractive platform for developers. As we discovered a few weeks ago developers who were quick to take advantage of offering premium content to expand their Alexa-based apps have been pleased with the return on their investment of effort. In case you haven't seen this video from our report, Learn and Profit From Alexa Skills, here it is again:

In its 2019 Q1 financial report, Amazon acknowledged there are already over 90,000 unique Alexa skills, many of which are implemented in several countries. This chart from shows the growth of skills in different Amazon regions: vocebotskills

(click in chart to expand)

Voicebot also pointed out a marked decline in the rate at which new skills were being produced - a 44% decline if you compare 2018 to the first half of 2019. In the USA  skill growth fell from an average of 85 new skills per day in 2018 to just 36 per day in the first half of 2019:


(click in chart to expand)

One explanation for this slowdown might be that all the obvious or easy apps have been built limiting the scope for producing a must-use skill. Another is that early adopters could be finding that the revenue generated is smaller than they initially expected, and so they have gone back to other channels. One alternatives put the blame on in-skill purchasing which has focus developer effort on feature extensions for existing skills as opposed to launching new ones.

While there has been plenty of help for using the Alexa Skills Kit, AWS Training and Certification has now added a free 2-hour digital training course Alexa for Developers to its learning library.  Taking an approach that will be accessible to developers, it describes how to build, test, publish and certify Amazon Alexa skills using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) together with other AWS services. It also discusses the design concepts and how designing a Voice User Interface (VUI) is different from designing web or mobile apps and uses the Cake Walk skill that we first reported on in Learn and Profit From Alexa Skills.

Prerequisites for the course are proficiency with a programming language such as JavaScript or Python and it has the following objectives:

  • Develop a voice-based application using Alexa
  • Develop a basic/simple skill at the end of this course
  • Provide insight into how an Alexa skill works from start to end
  • Describe the capabilities of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)
  • Describe the skill development steps – Design, Build and Test, Certify, Launch
  • Describe each step in the skill development process with demos, hands-on activities, knowledge checks
  • Describe core skill concepts - slots, utterances, intents, interaction model etc.
  • Describe ASK SDK concepts - handlers, requests, response, and how they are implemented in the backend AWS Lambda function
  • Describe how a skill can be tested, options for beta testing, and the certification process

Alexa is currently the dominant Voice Assistant and is becoming embedded in an increasing number of devices - now is a good time to get on board.



More Information 

Alexa for Developers


Related Articles

Learn and Profit From Alexa Skills

Entering The Era Of Voice Power 

Over 100 Million Alexa Devices Sold

Alexa In-Skill Purchasing Goes Live

Amazon Starting To Monetize Alexa Skills

Amazon Expands Alexa Skills Rewards Program

Alexa For Business - The Big Shake Up

Amazon Alexa Extending Its Influence

The State Of Voice As UI 


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 October 2019 )