Hands-On Chatbot Development with Alexa Skills and Amazon Lex: Create custom conversational and voice interfaces for your Amazon Echo devices and web platforms

Front Cover
Packt Publishing Ltd, Sep 28, 2018 - Computers - 266 pages

Build artificial intelligence (AI) powered voice and text conversational interfaces with Amazon

Key Features
  • Develop Alexa Skills to create a working voice user interface (VUI)
  • Integrate Amazon Lex chatbots into Facebook, Slack, and text messages
  • Learn to use AWS Lambda, Alexa Skills Kit, and Amazon Lex
Book Description

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.

What you will learn
  • Create a development environment using Alexa Skills Kit, AWS CLI, and Node.js
  • Build Alexa Skills and Lex chatbots from scratch
  • Gain access to third-party APIs from your Alexa Skills and Lex chatbots
  • Use AWS services such as Amazon S3 and DynamoDB to enhance the abilities of your Alexa Skills and Amazon Lex chatbots
  • Publish a Lex chatbot to Facebook Messenger, Twilio SMS, and Slack
  • Create a custom website for your Lex chatbots
  • Develop your own skills for Alexa-enabled devices such as the Echo
Who this book is for

Hands-On Chatbot Development with Alexa Skills and Amazon Lex is for developers who are interested in building conversational bots and Alexa skills with Amazon. Prior experience with JavaScript programming is required.


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Understanding Chatbots
Getting Started with AWS and Amazon CLI
Creating Your First Alexa Skill
Connecting Your Alexa Skills to External APIs
Building Your First Amazon Lex Chatbot
Connecting a Lex Bot to DynamoDB
Publishing Your Chatbot to Facebook Slack Twilio and HTTP
Improving the User Experience for Your Bots
Review and Continued Development
Appendix A
Appendix B
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About the author (2018)

Sam Williams qualified with an aerospace engineering master's degree, then became a self-taught software developer while holding down his first job. While traveling, he started to write articles about the tech he was learning about and accrued an audience of readers on Medium and freeCodeCamp. Currently, Sam works as a lead chatbot developer for the SmartAgent team at MissionLabs, building custom systems for large retailers. His role ensures that he is working with the newest chatbot technologies and is constantly pushing their capabilities.

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