Have you always wanted to create a skill for Alexa but, intimidated by the complexity, have you given up believing that you do not have the technical preparation to program a skill? Or more simply, among the available skills you ca n’t find the one that’s right for you? I have good news for you; a few days ago Amazon has made available to all its users a platform called Blueprint that allows you to create Alexa skills for anyone in a few minutes and without any IT skills. I assure you that creating Alexa skills with Blueprint it is really a breeze and will allow you to enrich your alexa devices with your skills but not only … you can share your work by sending the skill created to your friends who can use it on their devices and if you think you have done a good work you can even post the skill in the Alexa skill store and see it become popular.
But enough anticipations, I will explain everything better later, now let’s start with seeing how blueprint works and how to create Alexa skills with Blueprint
- How blueprint works
- How to create Alexa skills with Blueprint
- Share Alexa Blueprint skills
- Publish Alexa Blueprint Skills
How blueprint works
You will be able to create Alexa skills directly from the Amazon Blueprint website ; this site is in fact intended exclusively for the creation and management of skills. So first of all connected via any web browser to the Blueprint page and click on the button at the top right with the word Login ; on the next screen you will need to enter your Amazon credentials (the same ones you have also used on Alexa devices) and click on the Login button .
At this point you will find yourself in the main Blueprint page; from this page you will carry out all the operations. At the top of the page you will find links to the various sections, namely:
- Main page: from here you can create Alexa skills with Blueprint
- Skill you have created: from here you will be able to see all the skills created and manage them
- Assistance Center: in this section you will find some pages of support and technical assistance
As you can see, everything is extremely simple and intuitive; so let’s start immediately to see how to create Alexa skills with Blueprint
How to create Alexa skills with Blueprint
Amazon has tried to make the creation of a skill as simple as possible and for this reason to create Alexa skills with Blueprint you have several “preset” models (which are called Blueprints) to start from. These models are constantly updated and more will be released in the future.
So first of all to create Alexa skills, from the Main Page, you have to select one of the models present by clicking on it. For example, if you want to create a skill that allows you to keep track of things to do at home and assign them to family members, I click on the “Chore planning” model, read the description for each model well and choose the one that best allows you to create Alexa skill with Blueprint.
Once the model has been chosen, the detail window will open where the steps necessary to create the skill and some information on how it works are displayed; simply click on the blue button that says Create your skill to start creating Alexa skills.
Now you will start creating Alexa skills by following the wizard. The procedure changes according to the model we have chosen. In this example, to create Alexa skills with Blueprint we have chosen “Custom Questions and Answers” as a model, that is, we have chosen to create a very simple Alexa skill that provides pre-set answers to certain questions.
As I told you, based on the model chosen, the procedure changes slightly but the philosophy for creating a skill is always the same so by reading this guide you will be able to create all the skills you want with the different models available.
In our example (“Custom questions and answers”) you will have to enter a series of questions (and its synonyms) and then the answer you want to receive from Alexa.
By clicking the button at the bottom that says Add questions and answers we can add other questions and answers to the skill we are creating. Next to each question (on the right) there is the “X” symbol that will allow you to delete the question from the skill by clicking on it.
When you have finished entering all the questions and answers click on the Next button : create skill in the top right to create the skill. At this point in the window that will appear you will find the writing Creation of the Skill , let it finish processing (it may take up to a couple of minutes). When everything is completed, the message Your Skill is ready for use and for editing will be displayed . Perfect! You managed to create a skill. As I promised it took less than 10 minutes and it was super easy.
The page will show all the information about the skill including the voice commands to use. In our example, the voice command “Alexa, What is the best blog for Alexa?”.
This skill is already available on all Alexa devices associated with your Amazon account and you can use it right away. It is a private skill, in the sense that it will only be available on the devices associated with your Amazon account. But you can do much more, you can share a skill with your friends or even better have it published by Amazon on the Alexa skill store.
Now that you have successfully created a skill, you can delete or edit the skill at any time (unless it is being reviewed for publication). All you have to do is click on the writing at the top of the page that says SKILL YOU HAVE CREATED . V The list of all the skills you have created will open; press on the word Details corresponding to the skill you want to modify or delete.
From this window click on the word DELETE to permanently delete the skill or on the EDIT button to change the skill.
Share Alexa Blueprint skills
Have you finished creating Alexa skills with Blueprint and want to share it with your friends? Nothing could be easier, once created the skill is private (it can only be used on your devices) but there is the possibility to share it with whoever you want in a very simple and fast way. It must be said, however, that some skill models do not provide this possibility; for example, the “Personalized questions and answers” model does not provide for the possibility of sharing and publishing the skill. So before creating Alexa skills with Blueprint, check that the model can be shared.
To share a skill click on the SKILL YOU CREATED at the top . The list of all the skills you have created will be displayed; Click on the Details text corresponding to the skill you want to share to open the window with the skill settings. From this window click on the word SHARE WITH OTHERS located in the right pane (if the wording is not present it means that the model used to create the skill does not allow sharing).
A window will open where you will have to click on YES if the skill is intended for an audience under the age of 16, otherwise just click on NO. On the next screen you will need to specify how you want to share your created skill (via email, facebook, twitter, Pinterest or via a simple link) choose the sharing mode by clicking on it. On the next screen you will need to confirm that the skill complies with Amazon’s guidelines (available here ) by clicking on the SHARE button .
At this point it will be sent, based on the method of sharing chosen, the email or facebook or twitter client will open with a link. This is the link to send to your friends to share the skill. When a friend of yours clicks on the link he will find a page like the one below, where there will be a button with the word ENABLE which, if pressed, will share the skill also on all your friend’s Alexa devices.
In the properties window of the skill next to the Visibility item you will find the Shared item which indicates that you have sent the link to friends; by clicking on Revoke you will cancel the sharing to everyone and your skill will be private again.
Publish Alexa Blueprint Skills
Were you able to create Alexa skills with Blueprint that are so beautiful and well done that you believe that if released it will soon become popular? Good for you, so why not publish it on the Amazon store? Think what satisfaction you will have knowing that your skill is used by hundreds of people every day; Once your Skill is published, customers can review and rate it up to 5 stars like any other Skill on the Alexa Skill Store. So creating Alexa skills with Blueprint will allow you in a sense to make yourself known in the world of Alexa.
Not all skill models can be published so before creating Alexa skills with Blueprint check that the model can be shared.
Are you ready for this new event? Let’s see immediately how a skill blueprint is published on the Amazon store.
To publish a skill click on the written SKILL YOU HAVE CREATED at the top and from the list of skills you have created click on the writing Details corresponding to the skill you want to publish to open the window with the skill settings.
If you previously shared the skill you must click on REVOKE because the shared skills cannot be published on the Amazon store.
Then click on the PUBLIC writing located in the right box (if the writing is not present it means that the model used to create the skill does not allow publication). In the following screen click on the START button .
In the following screen you will need to specify the Start Phrase (the voice command that will start the skill), the Alexa Skill Store Name (the name that will be used to list your Skill in the Alexa Skill Store) and Created by (by entering your name ); once done click on the button at the top right that says NEXT: DETAILS.
In this screen you will have to select the category that best describes your Skill from the list, enter one or more keywords (to simplify the skill search), load the skill icon by clicking on the CREATE button to open the icon creator that will allow you in a few seconds you can create your own icon by choosing a specific icon and particular effects
finally you will have to enter a short description and a detailed description of your skill. When you have finished click on the button at the top right that says NEXT: REGULATION. The last screen will open where you will have to specify if the skill is intended for an audience under the age of 16, if the skill contains advertising and you can also enter a web address for any legislation you may have (special conditions of use). Once completed click on the button at the top right that says NEXT: REVISION.
A summary page will open where you can check if all the data entered are correct (if not, just click on the Edit button and correct them), If all the data are correct click on the Publish button on the store .
At this point the skill is awaiting review (you can cancel the publication at any time by clicking on the COLLECT SEND button).
All done? Were you able to create Alexa skills with Blueprint and even request publication? Congratulations, you were very fast.
Now you just have to wait for the review process by the Amazon staff (which takes from 1 to 2 days). But the Amazon staff does not necessarily approve the skill you have created; once your skill has been reviewed, you will receive an email and a notification on the skill detail page indicating whether it has been approved or rejected (in this case they will also indicate the reasons).
Now you finally know everything about how blueprint works and how to create Alexa skills with Blueprint you just have to get to work and who knows if your name will not be on my list of the best alexa skills soon .