As mentioned in our previous post, we've had the opportunity to play around with the new Alexa push notifications feature for some time now. While the exact implementation details on the Alexa Skills Kit side are still not public (and therefore not something we can talk about yet until the public beta goes live), there are enough consumer-facing pieces that we CAN talk about that should be of interest to folks starting to think about their push notification use cases.
So, some exciting news from Amazon today - the first batch of skills with push notifications enabled from the private beta have finally been released. Unfortunately, in their official post Amazon called out several skills as exemplars of the new feature, but failed to mention that we at 3PO-Labs were also in the beta, and also have a live skill with notifications: AstroBot. In fact, due to a clerical error with certification a couple months ago, we were actually the very first third-party skill to go live with notifications. We've been incognito ever since, but we're relieved to finally be able to talk about what we've done...
The Alexa team has been busy since our last post, with a series of announcements and changes that are sending waves across the development community. We wanted to take a minute to throw out some hot takes about what we've seen.
There's been a lot of talk in the Alexa dev community lately about all of the tutorial or template based skills that are flooding the market (and of course the related discoverability concerns). All these "build a skill in under an hour" type walkthroughs are great for bringing new devs into the fold, but it got us thinking about what it really takes for an experienced Alexa developer to build something well. The question we came to was "could one of us build a skill from nothing to submission in just one day?". To answer the question, I decided to try it out, all the while cataloging the journey. Read on for more...
We've been heads down working on DERP's Next Big Thing™ (almost there!), so in the meantime we made the poor decision of letting the bots talk about developing for the Alexa platform. All that after the break...
After a couple months of experimenting, infrastructure building, implementing, submitting for certification, and re-implementing (and re-implementing... and re-implementing!), we're unbelievably pumped to announce that our first two skills have finally been published! With no further ado, please meet...
As a result of all of the huffing and puffing described in the previous article, as well as our repeated certification failures, we were invited to do a conference call with a few people on Amazon's side. There were a few takeaways that I'd like to share.
So, yesterday I put out what was essentially a plea for help on the Alexa front. Our skills were rejected by the certification team again, despite making exactly the changes that they told us to make the first time. I was hoping the conversation with some of the other developers would spur Amazon to take action...
Flash to this afternoon, and I started getting messages telling me my rant had been featured in a blog post that went to the top of HackerNews (see: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10876409). Surprising, but exactly what we needed! Amazon's certification process is broken, and if the constant griping from their developers wasn't enough to get the ball moving, maybe a bit of internet shaming would be.
We're 3PO-Labs. We build things for fun and profit. Right now we're super bullish on the rise of voice interfaces, and we hope to get you onboard.