Artificial Intelligence

How to build an Amazon Alexa skill without writing code

New Alexa Skill Blueprints offer a point-and-click method for creating skills for the digital assistant.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Alexa Skill Blueprints allow users to build simple versions of Skills based on a few predetermined frameworks.
  • To build more in-depth custom business skills, Alexa developers will need to leverage the Skills API and custom code.

Alexa users can now build their very own Alexa Skills without any code. With the Alexa Skills Blueprints, revealed Thursday, users can create custom skills based on provided blueprint outlines.

Think of the blueprints like pre-built frameworks for Alexa Skills. Users can create skills for games, learning, connected home, and storytelling, according to the website.

To get started with Alexa Skills Blueprints, head to the website and click on the tile for the skill that you want to build. Depending on which blueprint you select, you'll be taken to a separate webpage for that particular framework with additional information on it.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

Each page features two sections: "How to create," with steps on building that particular skill, and "How to use," which explains the process for using the skill. The page also has an audio recording of a sample version of a skill created with that blueprint.

When you're ready to build, simply click the "Make Your Own" button toward the top of the blueprint page. The first thing you'll need to do is fill in the content for the skill.

For this example, I am using the "Quiz" blueprint. Once you click Make Your Own, you'll be prompted to fill in the sheet with information. For my Quiz skill, I will need to come up with questions and answers. Each blueprint will have some information pre-entered into the form. You can edit or delete the content as you see fit.

Once you have entered the content, click the "Next: Experience" button at the top right-hand corner of the screen.

The experience page dictates how the user will interact with the skill, and how Alexa will respond. For the example of the Quiz skill, the user must choose how Alexa will introduce the Quiz, greet players, respond to their quiz answers, and respond to a player winning the quiz.

Users can also select a background image to be displayed if the skill is to be used on an Echo Show. Once this is set, click the "Next: Name" button in the top right corner.

Here, the user names the skill. Once you have selected a name, click "Next: Create Skill." Once that has been clicked, it will take a few minutes for the skill to be built. When it is ready, it will be available on any Alexa-enabled device associated with that Amazon account. Users will just need to ask Alexa to open the skill.

To create more in-depth skills, you will need to code. For more information on how to become an Alexa developer, check out our cheat sheet for professionals.

Also see

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Image: CNET

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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