Creating Alexa Skills with OpenWhisk - Part Two

This is my followup to last week’s post on building Alexa skills with OpenWhisk. What I’m describing today represents some very recent changes and I would warn people that this post may change in the future. The focus of this post involves what you need to do to get your Alexa skill verified. I’m still in the process of doing that myself, but my holdup now isn’t related to technical issues so I feel safe in sharing this update.

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A Twitter Package for OpenWhisk

I’ve been chewing on an idea for something I’d like to build with OpenWhisk and Alexa, and part of it involves Twitter integration. Since working with serverless means working with small, atomic functions, I decided to focus on the Twitter aspect first. I also thought it would be cool to start work on a Twitter package that could be used by other OpenWhisk users. I launched that package today, and while it is pretty small for now, I hope to expand on it over time.

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Quick console script for O'Reilly Authors

So… let me start off by saying that this blog post will be useful to approximately 0.01% of you. I’m really just blogging this so I can copy and paste the code later when I want it again. But I thought it also might be a useful reminder for folks that your browser console is useful for many things, including for ‘fixing’ issues you may have with a particular page.

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An Introduction to Creating Alexa Skills with OpenWhisk

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week (A Tip for Testing Alexa Skills), I’m a huge new fan of the Amazon Echo device and I’ve begun looking at how to build my own integrations with it. This week I’ve done some investigations into how to use Alexa with OpenWhisk and I have to say I’m impressed by how easy it is. To be clear, I’ve only played with the most basic of skills, but it is easy and quite a bit of fun too!

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New Option for Android Testing - Genymotion on Demand

I’ve been talking about Genymotion (technically Genymotion Desktop) for a while now as a speedier alternative to the horribly slow native Android simulator. While Android’s default simulator has gotten a lot better lately, I still think Genymotion Desktop is worth your time checking out if you are doing any work at all with Android. The folks behind this cool tool have just recently released another new service, Genymotion on Demand. Basically, this is an EC2-based virtualized Android device you can run from your browser.

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A tip for testing Alexa Skills

A week or so ago I got my first Echo device (a Dot as a speaker gift from Devnexus) and I fell in love with it so much that I’ve already purchased the larger model. My wife ands kids like it too. So naturally I decided to take a look at building custom skills for it. (For folks who don’t know, a “Skill” is basically a program that lets the device respond to voice commands.

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Working with Static Sites - Final Release!

So I’ve blogged about this a few times already, but now the final, really final release of my book on Static Sites is available for purchase. I co-authored this with Brian Rinaldi and I think it is fair to say this is a great introduction to the topic with multiple real world (ish ;) examples.

For folks curious, here is the table of contents: Chapter 1 - Why Static Sites?

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Designing an OpenWhisk Action for Web Action Support

Before I begin - a few words of caution. The feature I’m discussing today is - for the most part - bleeding edge for OpenWhisk. It is really new and most likely will change between now and when it is “formally” part of the platform. Secondly, what I built may not actually be the best idea either. Regular readers know that I’ll often share code that is fun, but not exactly practical, so this isn’t anything new per se, but I want to point out that what I demonstrate here may not be a good idea.

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An Example of a Static Site with a Dynamic Calendar

Forgive the somewhat clunky title - I wanted to share a little demo I built for my presentation this week at DevNexus. The idea behind the demo was whether or not I could create a simple dynamic calendar system with a static web site. My presentation was all about adding dynamic aspects back into a static site, so this fit right in. For the demo, I made use of FullCalendar. FullCalendar is a simple little jQuery plugin that renders a nice full screen (well, “as big as you want it”) calendar.

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Another OpenWhisk Cron Example - the Blog Nag

Last week I blogged about my first experience working with OpenWhisk triggers and rules, specifically the Cron trigger which lets you execute actions according to a schedule. Today I’m sharing another example, which, while not as complex as the 911 scraper, I thought was kind of fun. As a blogger, I try to keep to a certain amount of posts per month. While I a absolutely care more about quality than quantity, I still try to maintain a certain amount of content per month.

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