After what seems like an unconscionably long wait, the Alexa team announced earlier this week that they were finally giving us a way to look up the timezone of a given user. The feature was detailed in a blog post, with a new page documenting the "Settings API" (which is what contains the timezone feature) going up simultaneously. This may seem like a pretty straightforward change, but between the history and the implementation, there's actually a fair bit to unpack here. So let's dive in...
Almost two years ago we sat down to put together all of our thoughts about testing and testability for the fledgling Alexa platform. In light of recent events causing us to link out that article a few times, we decided it may be time to do a bit of a retrospective on the topic, and present our view of where things are today.
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.
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.
In watching the rapid growth - and associated growing pains - of the Alexa Skills Kit over the last six or seven months, there's been a recurring theme that we've noticed lurking in the shadows behind a lot of the issues faced by the development community: Many of the problems we run into could be greatly mitigated by good testing, but good testing is nigh impossible at the moment. Alas, it doesn't have to be this way - the path out lies after the break.
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.