Building for voice is more than writing a simple program and you're done. A good voice skill or action has many components that work together. Mark and Allen discuss what some of those components are, how they integrate, and what you should think about as you write them.
Number Spies System Components: https://markvoicedev.medium.com/creating-an-alexa-game-number-spies-system-components-overview-41bf142d0b3c
Even before you start with a blank editor, you're faced with coming up with the idea. When it comes to Voice - what inspires us? Allen and Mark talk about where our ideas come from and how they start to shape our #VoiceFirst experiences.
Mark writes about what inspired him to create Number Spies: https://markvoicedev.medium.com/creating-an-alexa-game-the-spark-of-inspiration-for-number-spies-7f2b5a073a41
With all the confusion about Daylight Saving Time transitions finally behind us, Mark and Allen discuss all sorts of ways to handle time on Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Bixby. (And some tools and tips that make it easier!)
Where we are now has been shaped by our past. In light of this, Allen and Mark discuss how we got to this moment. What technologies and jobs have we held in our careers, and what lessons have they taught us that have helped us when it comes to voice.
Main docs page: https://developers.google.com/assistant
Community forum: https://www.reddit.com/r/GoogleAssistantDev/
Stack Overflow: actions-on-google and actions-builder tags
Actions on Air video / podcast series
Follow other GDEs - many have tutorials about various topics.
ES Docs: https://cloud.google.com/dialogflow/es/docs
ES community Forum: https://groups.google.com/g/dialogflow-essentials-edition-users
Stack Overflow: dialogflow-es and dialogflow-es-fulfillment
Developer Docs: https://developer.amazon.com
Alexa Skills Kit blog: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/blogs/alexa/alexa-skills-kit
Dabble Lab: https://dabblelab.com/
Voice First Tools: https://voicefirst.tools/
APL Simulator: https://tools.alexaskills.dev/
Main page: https://www.jovo.tech/
Jovo Community: https://github.com/jovo-community
Authentication and Authorization are some of the more difficult concepts that most developers end up having to deal with at some stage. Mark and Allen discuss the high level concept of Account Linking - connecting your auth system to the voice agents auth system. Alexa and Google Assistant offer some tools to help with this, and explore how some of the tools are similar, but others offer significantly different experiences for both users and developers.
As developers, the more information we can get about people talking with our skills or actions, the better the conversation will be. But privacy is a serious issue! (And one the platforms take seriously, too.) How does Alexa and the Google Assistant balance our need for more information, and the need for privacy? And how can we ask for permission to get the information? There are surprising differences and similarities that Allen and Mark explore.
We never know where our conversations go, sometimes. This time, Mark and Allen chat about Intents, Slots, Types, Entities, Parameters, and the whole conversational model built around them, especially the slight differences between how Actions and Skills have to treat them.
Just because our skills and actions are Voice First doesn't mean they are voice Only. Alexa and the Google Assistant have a long history of supporting displays in addition to the audio interactions. Mark and Allen dive into all the visual options available for Alexa, Assistant, and Bixby and the interesting differences between the three platforms.
Did you notice some Actions were having problems last week? Allen and Mark certainly did! So this week, we're talking about what seems to have caused the outage, how this fits in to the overall storage capability for Actions, and how Alexa and Jovo approach session and user storage.
In an audio-first environment, you want to sound like a movie or TV soundtrack... but with interaction and dynamic responses. With Google's flavor of SSML and Alexa's APLA, you can create these responses. Mark and Allen explore how these two methods are similar, and where they differ.
For more info:
Google's SSML "par" and "media" tags: https://developers.google.com/assistant/conversational/ssml#par
Nightingale SSML editor: https://actions-on-google-labs.github.io/nightingale-ssml-editor/
Alexa's APLA: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/alexa-presentation-language/apla-interface.html
We both have open source projects that we contribute to in the voice community. We talk about our two top ones, Speech Markdown and Multivocal, what they are, and how we feel they're contributing to the growing #VoiceFirst environment.
Mark's Projects: https://github.com/rmtuckerphx
Allen's Projects: https://github.com/afirstenberg
Mark and Allen chat about tools we use to build conversations for Alexa and the Google Assistant. Ranging from new tools, such as Alexa Conversations and Google's Actions Builder, to more mature tools, such as Jovo and Dialogflow. We got so excited about the topic, we just couldn't stop!
Alexa Conversations: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/blogs/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/2020/07/introducing-alexa-conversations-beta-a-new-ai-driven-approach-to-providing-conversational-experiences-that-feel-more-natural
Actions Builder: https://developers.google.com/assistant/console/builder
Learn about Action Links for Google Assistant and Quick Links for Amazon Alexa. A comparison of the features for each voice assistant platform.
Action Links - https://developers.google.com/assistant/engagement/action-links
Quick Links - https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/create-a-quick-link-for-your-skill.html