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ITB2019 Easily Build Amazon Alexa skills with ColdFusion - Mike Callahan


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Learn how super simple it can be to create custom "Skills" with ColdFusion to use on Amazon Alexa devices. Walk away with an understanding of how Alexa voice technology works and, most importantly, how you can utilize ColdFusion to easily build your own custom skills. This session will cover everything from using CommandBox to initiate your development using a ForgeBox package to consuming utterances, intents and slots and creating custom voice responses that engage and interact with your user. Learn how to use the Amazon Developer portal in conjunction with ColdFusion to rapidly build your own custom Alexa skills. At the end of the session you will walk away with everything you will need including a ColdFusion framework and template to immediately get started. Voice technology is the future and ColdFusion is the tool that can deliver rapid results. Join this session to see just how super easy it can be.

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ITB2019 Easily Build Amazon Alexa skills with ColdFusion - Mike Callahan

  1. 1. Easily Build Amazon Alexa Skills with ColdFusion
  2. 2. hello! I’m Mike Callahan :
  3. 3. SMART SPEAKERS Today 18% of households have one or more smart speakers. By 2020 it's estimated that this number will rise to 75%.
  4. 4. VOICE COMMERCE Voice commerce accounts for $2 billion of revenue today. By 2022 it is estimated that voice commerce will grow to $40 Billion
  5. 5. Amazon has 70% of the Smart Speaker Market MARKET SHARE
  7. 7. ColdFusionAmazon Alexa
  8. 8. You will walk away with… a fairly good understanding of how the alexa process works know what intents, utterances, slots and invocation names are know how to define those and your endpoint in the developer dashboard understand how to use cfalexa and the voice template how to easily create Alexa skills in ColdFusion
  9. 9. In addition, you will… learn how CommandBox dramatically enhances your development and testing process with the use of “modules” to automate tasks
  10. 10. 1st Understand the process at a high level
  11. 11. 1. The user asks Alexa to start a skill Alexa, open my voice template
  12. 12. 2. The audio is sent to Amazon cloud where it is converted to text Alexa, open my voice template
  13. 13. 3. The cloud determines the destination endpoint and sends a JSON packet to it {JSON} https://{your web site}/{your .cfc}
  14. 14. 4. Your ColdFusion code consumes the data in the JSON packet and determines what the user is asking it to do
  15. 15. 5. The “intent” requested is performed by your CF code and a script for Alexa to speak is packaged up and returned in a JSON packet
  16. 16. 6. The JSON goes back to Amazon cloud {JSON}
  17. 17. 7. The cloud converts the “output speech” from text to audio and sends the audio to the Alexa device
  18. 18. 8. The Alexa device speaks the results back to the user
  19. 19. Let’s take a more detailed look That’s the high level view
  20. 20. How does all this hook together? (developer dashboard) How do you define your skill to Alexa? (invocation name) How do you map the user request to an action? (intents) How are parameters passed? (slots) How does Alexa know where to send the JSON? (endpoint)
  21. 21. And of course, here’s the big question… How do we do this in ColdFusion? <cfalexa>
  22. 22. Let’s first walk through the non ColdFusion stuff
  23. 23. developers dashboard =
  24. 24. Quick Tip Bookmark this:
  25. 25. Alexa, open my voice template wake word launch invocation name alexa, echo, amazon, computer open, start, launch, load, use, begin, run defined in the developers dashboard Alexa, open my voice template Invocation: the name the user refers to when asking Alexa to activate your skill.
  26. 26. Intents: An intent represents an action that is called based on what the user says or “utters”. Essentially, intents represent functions and can optionally have arguments that are referred to as “slots”.
  27. 27. Endpoint: the URL to the entry point of your skill. https://{your website}/alexaskills/{skill folder}/{skillname.cfc}?method=start
  28. 28. <cfalexa> Let’s move in to the ColdFusion code
  29. 29. Unzip the alexaskills folder to your web root
  30. 30. - OR - CommandBox> install cfalexa
  31. 31. “Alexa, Open my voice template”
  32. 32. Quick Tip Convert to script using:
  33. 33. Let’s look at cfalexa.cfc
  34. 34. Let’s Review
  35. 35. FTP your code up to your publically available web server
  36. 36. But Wait! We can make it even easier! CommandBox> cfalexa install
  37. 37. Quick Tip Modules developing-for-commandbox/modules
  38. 38. CommandBox> install mikecallahan-cfalexacommands
  39. 39. What is ngrok? ngrok exposes our local server to the public internet over secure channels which means we can use ColdFusion on our laptop or desktop to serve up our Alexa skill while we’re developing and testing. How it works: you download and run a program on your machine and provide it the web server port. ngrok gives you a url that connects to the ngrok cloud service which accepts traffic from the public and relays that traffic to your laptop or desktop.
  40. 40. Alexa Skills Kit CLI Requirements
  41. 41. install.cfc
  42. 42. thanks! You can reach me at
  43. 43. CommandBox> install mikecallahan-cfalexacommands CommandBox> cfalexa install CommandBox> cfalexa stop CommandBox> cfalexa start (alexa skills kit CLI)