Book Image

Hands-On Chatbot Development with Alexa Skills and Amazon Lex

By : Sam Williams
Book Image

Hands-On Chatbot Development with Alexa Skills and Amazon Lex

By: Sam Williams

Overview of this book

Have you ever wondered how Alexa apps are made, how voice-enabled technologies work, or how chatbots function? And why tech giants such as Amazon and Google are investing in voice technologies? A better question is: why should I start developing on these platforms? Hands-On Chatbot Development with Alexa Skills and Amazon Lex covers all features of the Alexa Skills kit with real-world examples that help you develop skills to integrate Echo and chatbots into Facebook, Slack, and Twilio with the Amazon Lex platform. The book starts with teaching you how to set up your local environment and AWS CLI so that you can automate the process of uploading AWS Lambda from your local machine. You will then learn to develop Alexa Skills and Lex chatbots using Lambda functions to control functionality. Once you’ve come to grips with this, you will learn to create increasingly complex chatbots, integrate Amazon S3, and change the way Alexa talks to the user. In the concluding chapters, we shift our focus to Amazon Lex and messaging chatbots. We will explore Alexa, learn about DynamoDB databases, and add cards to user conversations. By the end of this book, you will have explored a full set of technologies that will enable you to create your own voice and messaging chatbots using Amazon.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)

Connecting Your Alexa Skills to External APIs

In this chapter, we will expand upon the basics we learned from the previous chapter, to improve the functionality and user experience of Alexa. We'll increase the functionality by learning to use external APIs to interact with services provided by other people. Then, we'll increase the user experience by giving our chatbot some memory of the existing conversation and also using a speech synthesis markup language (SSML) to control the way that Alexa talks to the user.

To enable us to learn this, we're going to build a weather skill for Alexa. You will be able to ask for the current or five-day forecast for 200,000 cities across the world.

The following topics will be covered in this chapter:

  • Accessing and interacting with an external API
  • Storing session memory using session attributes
  • Using SSML to control the way that...