I think I screamed.
I was teaching grad students how to make a texting bot with the bot-writing tool Dexter when I saw this:
And suddenly, there was an Alexa button.
Here was Bot Studio editor Emily Withrow’s reaction in Slack:
She did, and got an Alexa version of the Quartzy Mindfulness Calendar (day 3) running on her Amazon Echo in about 10 minutes.
Granted, Emily is a bot-writing pro; if you’re new to Dexter it might take you an hour. But even that is quite startling.
For comparison, it took me a full day to make this simple interaction using Amazon’s tools.
By tightly integrating their bot-writing tool with Alexa, the folks at Dexter just made writing for Amazon’s voice interface easier by orders of magnitude.
Give it a try yourself:
- Sign up for a free account at Dexter.
- Create a new, blank bot. (Even delete the starter text it gives you.)
- Follow the steps I took this weekend to build a very simple “fact bot” skill.
To get your Alexa skill published for public use, you’ll still need Amazon’s approval, which can present a serious hurdle and take weeks.
But you don’t need approval to make skills for your own Alexa device, and you can invite friends to try them, too.
All before lunch.