Create Alexa Skill and Google Action - “Greetings from Earth”

This course introduces you to the basics of voice applications development for the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with BotTalk. The course covers beginner-level concepts. You’re not required to have any prior programming knowledge or be familiar with either of the platforms.

This course consists of several chapters, containing end-to-end instructions that help you understand the basics of Alexa Skills and Actions on Google development.

What you’ll build

You’ll learn how to develop a voice app called “Greetings from Earth” by building a basic conversational interface that looks something like that:

User: Hey Google / Alexa, open Greetings from Earth.

Assistant: Welcome to Greetings from Earth. What is your name?

User: My name is Elon.

Assistant: And what planet are you from?

User: I’m from Mars.

Assistant: Dear Elon, your very personal Greetings from Earth will reach Mars in about 22 light-minutes.

Do you want to hear what this Alexa Skill / Google Action sounds like? Click the Run button in front of the Happy Path:

Features of the Sample Voice App

The voice application you’re building consists of the following features (acceptance criteria):

  • Users initiate a conversation explicitly by calling your app by name, which then responds with a greeting message.
  • Once in conversation, users are asked a question about their name. Your app parses the user’s input to extract the information it needs (the name parameter).
  • Your app asks another question about the planet of origin. Once again the user’s input gets extracted and parsed (planet parameter)
  • Your app calculates a distance between Earth and the planet the user is from
  • Your app sends a personal greeting (audio response)
  • (Optionally): You app additionally sends a visual greeting (for devices with a screen)
  • (Optionally): You app makes an API request to calculate a distance between Earth and the planet of origin

As you can see, we’ve put a couple of optional chapters in our course. Even without those chapters, your app will be a fully functional Alexa Skill or Google Action. However, adding visual interface and making API requests to a third-party server opens up the opportunities - and hopefully the room for your imagination - what great Alexa Skills and Google Actions you can build yourself.

Course Contents

This voice application development course for beginners consists of 8 chapters. Each chapter contains easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions that help you understand the basics of voice development with BotTalk

What you’ll need

Sample Code

You can optionally get the full project code for this course from our GitHub repository.

Next Steps

To get you started, we’ll cover some basic concept of voice development and introduce you to the key terminology:

Written by Andrey Esaulov on 12 March 2019

Updated on 13 April 2019