Amazon Releases Visual Studio Code Tool to Develop Alexa Skills
The Amazon Alexa dev team released an open source extension for the Visual Studio Code editor to help create and deploy Alexa skills.
Alexa skills are capabilities that can be invoked for the Amazon voice-activated virtual assistant by issuing spoken commands.
The new Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Toolkit for Visual Studio Code (beta) provides a one-stop shop for Alexa skills development.
"You can use the ASK extension to call the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (CLI) from within Visual Studio Code, and can see the results in an integrated terminal," the team said in a recent blog post. "This allows you to perform nearly all skill development actions within Visual Studio Code."
Those actions include:
- Discover ASK commands by typing “ASK” from the VS Code command palette
- Create a skill using Alexa templates
- Generate code snippets for built-in intents, custom intents, slots, and request handlers
- Identify errors in your JSON schema
- Hover over a JSON object to see documentation
- Submit a skill for certification
The VS Code tool builds upon the Alexa Skills Kit, a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that the Alexa dev team says makes it fast and easy for developers to add skills to Alexa.
"ASK enables designers, developers, and brands to build engaging skills and reach customers through tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices," the team says. "With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and pioneering work in the field of voice design."
Using the VS Code extension requires the installation and initialization of the ASK CLI. More information on using the tool can be found in a getting started guide and documentation. Source code for the open source preview project is available on GitHub, and the dev team invited interested developers to customize it and contribute to the community.
At press time, the newly introduced extension has been installed 340 times, earning a perfect 5.0 rating from two developers who submitted reviews.
David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.