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.
Hi everyone. We at 3PO-Labs have made no secret of our frustrations around testing the Alexa voice/intent model. Around this time last year I started playing around with a sloppy hack to address the problem. I've fiddled with it off and on during that time, but a recent renewal of interest in the problem has pushed things to a point where I can start to peel back the covers on what I've built.
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...
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.