Learn to Build Amazon Alexa Skills and Converse with Machines

Video description

Know how to create Alexa custom skills and master the fundamentals of building conversational, voice user interfaces (VUI)

About This Video

  • No matter how much of the fundamental knowledge you have, if you are unable to put it to practice, then usually it is of no real value.
  • This course not only focuses on getting you ahead of others in understanding how a voice user interface works but helps you build your very own uber cool personal assistant using Amazon Alexa, that can do what you can make it do.
  • Building a personal assistant using Alexa custom skills is just one of the techniques, and you will learn very soon that you can design a variety of interfaces through the knowledge that you gain.
  • Amazon has always been ahead of the game in terms of building voice interfaces, and you will be able to understand how you can leverage what Amazon has to offer to get you to communicate with machines effectively.

In Detail

There is a shift happening in the way we as a species communicate with machines. With the advent of Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and Microsoft Cortana, the focus on voice user interfaces or voice-activated conversational interfaces is rapidly increasing. This ever-changing world presents a threat to the way we operate, especially when we do not understand it. A more AI aware world might be years away, but if we learn how to talk to and control the machines then we grow collectively. The real goal for this course is to make you competent enough to understand the complexities that go behind designing and creating the voice user interfaces, so that you can immediately assess how different pieces of the puzzle fit together. Yes, Amazon Alexa and similar voice activated interfaces look and sound pretty cool, but it is also possible through the extensive documentation that is available to build systems for these interfaces. However, just learning the syntax of a particular system is not enough. To mature as an individual, you need to gain the foundational skills on how these interfaces operate, and be technology agnostic when it comes to building these conversational interfaces.

Publisher resources

Download Example Code

Table of contents

  1. Chapter 1 : Introduction, Course Pre-requisites, and a Try-out
    1. Introduction - Build a Rad Personal Assistant 00:05:28
    2. What will you learn? 00:02:32
    3. What will you need to be effective in this course? 00:02:16
    4. Getting the Code, and Using a Checklist 00:01:09
    5. Try out Alexa in a Browser 00:03:20
  2. Chapter 2 : Understanding Alexa and its Ecosystem
    1. Rise of Voice User Interfaces 00:01:50
    2. Alexa based Smart Speakers and other Devices 00:06:40
    3. Current Abilities of Alexa 00:01:31
    4. What are Alexa Skills? 00:02:53
    5. Type of Alexa Skills, and ASK - the Alexa Skills Kit 00:07:24
    6. Alexa Skill Development Overview 00:02:50
    7. Alexa App Installation on Phone 00:07:10
  3. Chapter 3 : Overview of Technology behind Alexa
    1. Amazon Polly and SSML - the Text To Speech engine 00:04:26
    2. Amazon Lex and Chatbots - Brains Behind Voice User Interfaces 00:02:39
    3. Serverless Computing - changing the conventional deployment models 00:02:07
    4. Amazon Lambda - the Serverless Computing solution by Amazon 00:06:06
  4. Chapter 4 : Build your First Lambda Function and connect with S3
    1. Amazon Developer Portal Account Setup 00:03:25
    2. Amazon Web Services Account Setup 00:04:03
    3. Amazon S3, and First Lambda Function's Goal 00:01:55
    4. Amazon S3 Buckets and File Upload 00:04:43
    5. Create Amazon IAM (Identity and Access Management) Role 00:03:27
    6. About Promises and Await Expressions in Async Functions 00:12:06
    7. Create Lambda Function `takeS3backup` 00:08:17
    8. Prepare Lambda Test Events to check S3 Connectivity 00:04:50
    9. Upgrade `takeS3backup` Lambda Function to copy S3 files 00:03:36
    10. Test and Verify S3 File Upload 00:04:33
  5. Chapter 5 : Build your First Alexa Skill - Eva 1.0
    1. Goal 1 - Make "Eva", Your First Alexa Skill, to Read out Quotes 00:03:03
    2. Deconstructing an Alexa Skill Statement 00:02:55
    3. Pointers to building an Awesome Voice Interface 00:02:42
    4. Designing a Voice Interaction Model for Eva 1.0 00:04:25
    5. Preparing the Intents, Slots, Utterances and Data for an Alexa Custom Skill 00:05:32
    6. Configuring Eva 1.0 Custom Skill on Amazon Developer Portal 00:13:26
    7. Request Handlers, Objects & Builder in Lambda Function for Alexa 00:03:42
    8. Lambda Function to make Eva 1.0 introduce itself 00:13:36
    9. Extending Eva 1.0 Lambda Function to achieve Goal 1 of reading quotes 00:15:48
  6. Chapter 6 : Testing Eva 1.0 - An Alexa Custom Skill
    1. Lambda Test Events to test Eva 1.0 00:05:59
    2. Developer Portal Service Simulator to test Eva 1.0 00:04:57
    3. Echosim.io Web based Simulator to test Eva 1.0 00:03:34
    4. Amazon Echo to test Eva 1.0 00:02:30
    5. Introduction to Amazon CloudWatch for reviewing logs and debugging errors 00:04:34
    6. Troubleshooting Errors 00:05:18
  7. Chapter 7 : Eva 2.0 - Making Eva Useful by connecting to APIs & getting real time route info
    1. Goal 2 - Make Eva tell you real time traffic information using Third Party APIs 00:03:54
    2. Designing a detailed Voice Interaction Model for Eva 2.0 00:12:15
    3. Get Google Maps API Key for Route & Traffic Information 00:07:13
    4. Prepare Intents, Slots, Utterances and Coordinates for Route Information 00:06:47
    5. Configure Eva 2.0 Skill on Developer Portal with New Intents, Slots, Utterances 00:07:40
    6. EvaFunction 2.0 in Lambda (1/3) - Configuration and Helper functions 00:11:51
    7. EvaFunction 2.0 in Lambda (2/3) - Handlers for GetBookmarks and Built-in Intents 00:12:19
    8. EvaFunction 2.0 in Lambda (3/3) - Handler for GetRoute Intent 00:14:53
    9. Testing Eva 2.0 through Lambda Test Events 00:06:13
    10. Testing Eva 2.0 through Amazon Echo and CloudWatch 00:06:28
  8. Chapter 8 : Taking Alexa Development to the Next Level
    1. Advanced Options in Developer Console including Skill Publishing 00:05:17
    2. Ideas - Enhance Eva and make it better 00:01:42
    3. Ideas - Create Alexa Voice Service 00:00:49
    4. Ideas - Build Smart Home Skills 00:01:40
    5. Building a Consistently Reliable Architecture using Amazon 00:02:00

Product information

  • Title: Learn to Build Amazon Alexa Skills and Converse with Machines
  • Author(s): Vivek Kapoor
  • Release date: July 2018
  • Publisher(s): Packt Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781789534252