Two Voice Devs
By Mark and Allen
Two Voice DevsOct 14, 2021
Episode 149 - Recent Projects: Cards and Chains
It's been a busy week! What have we been up to? Mark has released a new set of cards that summarize and illustrate different AI concepts. Called "AI Explorer Cards of Discovery", we chat about the objectives and the process to create this deck. (And there's a special offer for listeners!) Meanwhile, Allen has been working with Google's new PaLM model as part of Google Cloud's Vertex AI platform and has contributed changes to the popular LangChainJS package to make PaLM available through the open source library.
* AI Explorer Cards of Discovery: https://bit.ly/ai-cards
* LangChainJS: https://github.com/hwchase17/langchainjs
* Google PaLM: https://cloud.google.com/ai/generative-ai
Episode 148 - AI Voodoo With Vodo Drive
SO MUCH packed into this episode!
Recently, Allen participated in a hackathon sponsored by VoiceFlow, and he used the opportunity to explore ways that LLMs could be used to build on his work talking with spreadsheets in Vodo Drive (see episode 116). He and Mark explore how he did it - from the prompts that were required to integration with VoiceFlow and Google App Script, to how tools like LangChain will help build similar things. We also explore what lessons are learned, how our experience in #VoiceFirst design helps us build good #ConversationalAI tools, how other APIs can (and should!) work alongside AI, and what "fuzzy" roles AI can fill in the modern app experience.
* Vodo Drive: https://vodo-drive.com/
* PromptHacks Hackathon: https://prompthacks.devpost.com/
* Vodo AI submission for PromptHacks: https://devpost.com/software/vodo-ai
* VoiceFlow: https://www.voiceflow.com/
* Google Apps Script: https://www.google.com/script/start/
* LangChain: https://github.com/hwchase17/langchain and https://github.com/hwchase17/langchainjs
Episode 147 - Google AI/O 2023 Recap
It's Google I/O time again! And although Allen couldn't attend in person, he and Mark review the latest announcements relevant to #VoiceFirst and #ConversationalAI developers. From new AI availability to AI workspace, with stops along the way to discuss AI powered hardware, there was lots to hear about. Also some subtle hints from what wasn't said. But did we mention the AI?
Episode 146 - Visions of Vector Databases
We've touched on the use of vector databases as we've started to explore how LLMs and conversational AIs can be useful, but what are they and how do they work? How are they used for more than just LLMs? Mark and Allen explore some of the classic vector DBs, such as HNSW, and some of the newer fully managed ones, including Metal and Pinecone. We even start to ponder what a fully managed embedding and vector db system might look like from the likes of Google, Azure, or AWS, and are surprised that we're closer than we thought!
* HNSWlib: https://github.com/nmslib/hnswlib
* Pinecone: https://pinecone.io/
* Metal: https://getmetal.io/
* Google Cloud Vertex AI Matching Engine: https://cloud.google.com/vertex-ai/docs/matching-engine/overview
* Amazon AWS Bedrock: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/machine-learning/announcing-new-tools-for-building-with-generative-ai-on-aws/
Episode 145 - Alexa Widgets are Here!
Long teased, the ability for developers to create Alexa Widgets is finally generally available! Mark, an Alexa Champion, has had access for a while now, so he and Allen discuss what it takes to make a Widget, what's new and different, and how it fits into the #VoiceFirst world of skills.
Episode 144 - Experiments With LangChain (Part 2)
We're still exploring what LangChain can do, and this week we dive into a tutorial put out by the Voiceflow team that discusses some ways that it can be integrated with ChatGPT using LangChain, bringing the #VoiceFirst and #ConversationalAI worlds closer together. Also a great example of how we go about learning and understanding code that is new to us.
* The tutorial we were following: https://www.voiceflow.com/blog/voiceflow-assistant-openai-gpt
Episode 143 - Experiments With LangChain (Part 1)
Over the past few weeks, Mark and Allen have been playing with LangChain and OpenAI, exploring where #ConversationalAI and #VoiceFirst design intersects, and we recorded some of our experiments. In this early one, we take a look at how LangChain with a memory chain can work and keep track of what's going on in the conversation. All in just a few lines of code. More significantly, we discuss the role that LangChain can play in putting together AI and other API components to create voice, web, and app-based agents that include AI as part of the NLU or response elements.
Episode 142 - More From APL 2023.1
The latest update for the Alexa Presentation Language, APL 2023.1, has been out for a little bit, and Mark and Allen already discussed one of the biggest features - speech marks. But there was more to this release! Allen is, perhaps, even more excited about how selectors can enable some very dynamic APL interactions, and video subtitles and new graphic masks round out what's new.
* https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/alexa-presentation-language/apl-latest-version.html - What's New With APL
Episode 141 - Workin' on the LangChain (Part 2)
Guest host Noble Ackerson returns to tie all the pieces of LangChain together and help Allen understand what it does, why it is an increasingly valuable toolkit for many #ConversationalAI developers, and how we can use it to help build #VoiceFirst applications.
* LangChain: https://github.com/hwchase17/langchain
* LangChainJS: https://github.com/hwchase17/langchainjs
Episode 140 - ChatGPT Plugins (and Voice Agents?)
With the announcement last week that ChatGPT will soon be supporting plugins, Mark and Allen explore what this means for developers, particularly developers who are used to #VoiceFirst development with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung Bixby. OpenAI is launching it with some interesting features, including hints at how to monetize plugins, but there are still many questions that developers will need answers to. We explore what will be coming, how to prepare for it, what OpenAI still needs to address, and how all of this may play into the future of voice assistants.
* https://platform.openai.com/docs/plugins/ - ChatGPT Plugins documentation
Episode 139 - Workin' on the LangChain (Part 1)
Allen has been trying to get into building apps that include LLMs, and has been hearing a lot about the LangChain library. But trying to understand it can be... dizzying. Guest host Noble Ackerson joins to help answer some of the questions about LangChain and how it can bring #ConversationalAI to the #VoiceFirst world and how to use it with your existing APIs.
Episode 138 - Time After Time
Resources:Luxon: https://moment.github.io/luxon/ Alexa Date/Time slots: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/slot-type-reference.html#numbers-dates-times APL localtime: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/alexa-presentation-language/apl-data-binding-evaluation.html#localtime Dialogflow system entities: https://cloud.google.com/dialogflow/cx/docs/reference/system-entities Jovo Time Zone plugin: https://www.jovo.tech/marketplace/plugin-timezone
Episode 137 - Analytics and BigQuery
With Google's Universal Analytics sunsetting, everyone is looking at what other tools are available to record user activity in our skills and chatbots. At Allen's suggestion, Mark had checked out the BigQuery service offered by Google Cloud Platform, and created a Jovo plugin to make it available for everyone. We discuss BigQuery and how to use it and this new plugin.
Episode 136 - What To Do With Stuff That's New
We've been exploring some new tools, concepts, and libraries - Mark has been looking at tools to do Named Entity Recognition, while Allen has been exploring the LangChain AI library. But this leads to the question - as you're just starting to learn something new, how do you do so? Do you start with example code? Or YouTube videos? Or what? We share what has worked well for us, along with some early discoveries about what we've been looking at.
Episode 135 - Simple STT with Picovoice and Leopard
If you're working on a #VoiceFirst application that requires Speech to Text in a controlled environment (for example, on an embedded device or in a medical environment), you don't want to have to rely on cloud processing such as those available from Google or AWS. Even if you are willing to use the cloud, it may be cheaper to run your own STT service. Mark and Allen discuss one such way to do so - using the Leopard STT product from Picovoice.
Additional info:Serverless Speech to Text article: https://medium.com/picovoice/serverless-speech-to-text-5258e05f7031 Code to go with the article: https://github.com/Picovoice/serverless-leopard/blob/main/serverless_leopard/lambda_function.py Product page from Picovoice: https://picovoice.ai/platform/cat/
Episode 134 - All About (Speech) Mark
One of our favorite #VoiceFirst features (and not just because of the name) has come to Alexa! Allen and Mark (the real Mark) discuss the new onSpeechMark event that is now available in APL, how it compares to the feature in the Google Assistant Interactive Canvas, and some ways that you can use it to make more powerful and dynamic APL displays.
Episode 133 - Dialogflow Deeper Dive
In our previous episode, Allen and Mark talked about the differences between Dialogflow ES and CX and how both had a notion of front-end integrations. This week, they go in a little deeper, discussing the various ways you can write your own integration if you need to - either by sending text or audio to the Dialogflow API.
Episode 132 - Discussing Dialogflow
Many #VoiceFirst developers know of Dialogflow as a Natural Language Understanding (NLU) system. But is there more to it? Mark and Allen discuss what's different between Dialogflow ES and CX, what's the same, and how both of them provide added value to voice developers (as well as designers).
Episode 131 - Going Google for the Chat API
Did you know Google Chat has an API? That you can build bots for? And that it can even integrate directly with Dialogflow, PubSub, or Google's App Script? Allen introduces Mark to some of the unique and powerful features that the Google Chat API has, explores the various ways you can use it, and ponders some things we can learn when developing for #VoiceFirst.
Episode 130 - Must Check Microsoft Chatbots
How is a chatbot different from what we usually think about in the #VoiceFirst world? There are parallels, so Mark discusses some of his recent explorations in what is going on with Microsoft and support for chatbots and Allen compares to some other technology available to developers. There are some interesting updates and changes in progress!
Episode 129 - Wondering About Alexa Widgets
More third party widgets are becoming available for Amazon Alexa, so Mark takes the opportunity to share what he can about how widgets work, how they go beyond a #VoiceFirst design, and how you can get started designing them to accompany your skills. Allen... has some choice facial reactions in response.
Episode 128 - Looking Forward to 2023
As we kick off the new year, Allen and Mark look ahead at what's coming (or what we *hope* is coming) in the #VoiceFirst world this year. From Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant to custom agents and AI, what do we think the year ahead will bring? What are you looking forward to?
Episode 127 - Looking Back at 2022
As the end of 2022 looms, Mark and Allen look back at some of the highlights of the show, of #VoiceFirst development, of working with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, and of talking to all of you.
Episode 126 - The Twelve Days of Voice-mas
Wishing you the warmest of holiday seasons from all of us at Two Voice Devs and the #VoiceFirst Community Choir.
A Two Voice Devs Production
Episode 125 - Chatting About (and With) ChatGPT
The biggest buzz the past few weeks have been about ChatGPT from OpenAI, with some folks in the #VoiceFirst community pondering how this is going to change the nature of conversation design and voice development. Mark and Allen talk about what works with ChatGPT, what doesn't, and how voice developers might be thinking about it's role with building conversational apps and platforms in the future.
* ChatGPT: https://chat.openai.com/chat
Episode 124 - On the Downside
The tech industry isn't always full of better and better things happening. Sometimes... there are setback, reassignments, poor sales, and layoffs. The recent news out of Amazon, particularly in the hardware and Alexa division, and with the Google Assistant have indicated that the #VoiceFirst movement may have hit some hard times. Allen and Mark talk about what's going on and extend our best hopes for those impacted.
Some further reading:Details from VoiceBot.ai: https://voicebot.ai/2022/11/15/the-latest-details-on-the-amazon-layoffs-and-the-impact-on-alexa/ Thoughts from Nick Schwab: https://twitter.com/nickschwab/status/1597980202243657728 Thoughts from James Poulter: https://twitter.com/jamespoulter/status/1597320322633830400
Episode 123 - About App Actions
As Google has been sunsetting conversational actions, they've been ramping up with support for the new App Actions for Google Assistant. Mark and Allen discuss what App Actions offer for both users and developers and how this compares and contrasts to skills for Amazon's Alexa and apps for Apple's Siri
Episode 122 - Once Again, Our Thanks
We'd like to extend our thanks to so many people in the #VoiceFirst community, our jobs, our family... and you, our listeners.
Episode 121 - Why Voice Isn't a Stretch With VoicePT
Mark sits down with Brett Adler, developer of the award winning VoicePT skill, to discuss his background in software development, low code and no code tools, and how his personal experiences brought him to developing a multi-modal #VoiceFirst assistant that helps physical therapy patients do their exercises.
More about VoicePT at https://devpost.com/software/voicept
Episode 120 - Live and In Person at VOICE22
When you're seeing each other for the first time in 3 years, you make it an event! That's what Mark and Allen recently did when they met up at the 2022 Voice Summit in Alexandria, VA. And what better way to commemorate the event than to record a session of Two Voice Devs live in front of an audience? Why, to welcome questions from that audience! Hear our thoughts on #VoiceFirst topics from what developers need to real estate and urban planning in the DC metro region.
Our thanks to the VOICE2022 organizers for helping us with the production, including recording the session, and to our fantastic audience and their questions.
Episode 119 - Reading Alexa's Signature
Not every technology we deal with in Voice is a #VoiceFirst technology, sometimes we need some "adjacent" skill. This week, Mark discusses some recent issues he had involving the validation signature that Alexa provides to skills that run outside AWS Lambda, and Allen provides his perspectives about how these same issues were addressed using Google's Dialogflow.
Resources:https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/host-a-custom-skill-as-a-web-service.html#check-request-signature https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/alexa-skills-kit-sdk-for-nodejs/host-web-service.html#usage https://github.com/alexa/alexa-skills-kit-sdk-for-nodejs/commit/a1652383648e9e9da42b301aa033a4143f9cdf64 https://stackoverflow.com/a/62699910/1405634
Episode 118 - Voicing Thoughts on Glass' Future
Allen may be well known for coordinating his wardrobe with his Google Glass, but he's also as passionate about Glass as he is about Voice. With recent announcements coming from Google about Enterprise Glass v2, Mark asks Allen about what developers should be expecting for Glass' future. And where, exactly, does voice fit into that anyway?
More about Glass:Glass Info: https://www.google.com/glass/start/ Developer Info: https://developers.google.com/glass-enterprise/ New updates: https://blog.google/products/google-ar-vr/bringing-more-of-googles-productivity-apps-to-glass-enterprise/ [Between] Advanced Wearables for the Enterprise: https://youtu.be/8g-GXFpYFgQ
Episode 117 - VOICE22 Perspectives and Presentations
Now that Mark and Allen have returned from #VOICE22, they take a look at what the summit was like a share a bit about their presentations. Allen talks about outents and how tools like Dialogflow and Multivocal assist with this concept, while Mark talked about developing a #VoiceFirst prescription system for Alexa.
Episode 116 - Spreadsheet Voodoo with Vodo Drive
What does it feel like to talk with a spreadsheet? That's the core question behind Vodo Drive (pronounced like "to-do"), one of Allen's big projects for the Google Assistant. After a demo, Allen and Mark discuss how Vodo Drive works, what it teaches us about building large #VoiceFirst software projects, and what the future holds as Vodo Drive needs to move to Amazon Alexa.
Learn more about Vodo Drive at VodoDrive.com
Episode 115 - Author! Author!
How do you learn new skills in the #VoiceFirst arena? How do you share what you've learned with others? A week before the Voice Summit, Mark and Allen share their experiences as authors, documenters, podcasters, and public speakers.
Episode 114 - Rules And Regulations (Part 2)
No matter if you're building an app for the iPhone or Android, a Google Action, or an Amazon Alexa Skill, there are guidelines that you need to follow to make sure your app is approved by the review team. Mark and Allen go over morerules that you should read before you start to develop your #VoiceFirst skill.
Check out the guidelines for Alexa: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/policy-testing-for-an-alexa-skill.html
Episode 113 - Rules And Regulations (Part 1)
No matter if you're building an app for the iPhone or Android, a Google Action, or an Amazon Alexa Skill, there are guidelines that you need to follow to make sure your app is approved by the review team. Mark and Allen go over some of the rules that you should read before you start to develop your #VoiceFirst skill.
Check out the guidelines for Alexa: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/policy-testing-for-an-alexa-skill.html
Episode 112 - Beyond the Assistants: Getting Input
If you're building your own #VoiceFirst app outside the assistants, you'll also need to think about how you get input from people. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available from AWS and Google Cloud (and others) that will help you do this. Mark and Allen go over the raw technologies involved in Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Natural Language Understanding / Processing (NLU / NLP), how they work (broadly speaking), and some thoughts on what needs to be done for the future.
Resources mentioned:Google Cloud Speech-to-Text - https://cloud.google.com/speech-to-text Google Dialogflow - https://cloud.google.com/dialogflow Amazon Lex - https://aws.amazon.com/lex/ Jovo Keyword NLU plugin - https://www.jovo.tech/marketplace/plugin-keywordnlu
Episode 111 - Beyond the Assistants: Sending Output
Not every assistant needs to be part of Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. What if you're developing your own voice assistant? How do you take care of some tasks like getting output to your users? In this episode, Allen and Mark give an overview of some of the technologies available to you to send audio exactly the way you want it to sound and some of the tools that are available to use.
Resources mentioned:Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) specification - https://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis11/ Amazon Lex - https://aws.amazon.com/polly/ Google Cloud Text to Speech - https://cloud.google.com/text-to-speech SSML Guru - ssml.guru Speech Markdown - SpeechMarkdown.org Jovo Marketplace TTS - https://www.jovo.tech/marketplace#tts
Episode 110 - Building a Jovo Plugin
Mark's been on a roll recently, converting many of the utilities he's built as part of writing Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions into open source plugins for Jovo. This week, Mark and Allen discuss why these kinds of libraries are important, review Mark's latest plugin to generate random player names, and uses this as an example for how to build a plugin for Jovo.
Episode 109 - Verify and Verify Again
Making sure our #VoiceFirst applications are written securely and use secure components is important. And when one of those components has a security bug, it is important that we update it as soon as we can. Mark highlights a recent security vulnerability in the node-forge module, which is used by the alexa-verifier-middleware module. Mark and Allen then discuss what the verifier does and how we can be careful when it comes to using libraries.
Some references:alexa-verifier-middleware: https://www.npmjs.com/package/alexa-verifier-middleware Alexa verification: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/custom-skills/host-a-custom-skill-as-a-web-service.html#manually-verify-request-sent-by-alexa Issues with node-forge: https://github.com/advisories/GHSA-x4jg-mjrx-434g
Episode 108 - It's a Developer Challenge!
Allen and Mark chat about the Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge: Aging & Engaging event that is currently in progress that offers cash prizes to developers for creating #VoiceFirst skills that are targeted to the over 55 crowd. Mark is a judge, so has to be a little reserved in what he says, but there's lots of discussion about tools that teams can use to participate and tips for creating skills that have a chance of winning (and are good quality skills!).
Learn more: https://alexaskillsaging.devpost.com/
Episode 107 - Skill, Book, and Handle
Guest Host Craig Walls joins Allen to discuss his latest book on #VoiceFirst development for Amazon Alexa, Build Talking Apps for Alexa, as well as what went into his skill to help Disney Theme Park explorers - Mouse Guests.
Episode 106 - Supporting Open Source: Sanity and Jovo
Mark goes over the latest open source package that he's developed with his company, RAIN, for the #VoiceFirst community. This allows developers to build a CMS system using Sanity that provides content through Jovo. Allen and Mark discuss why these sorts of systems are important, how they improve Voice-based systems, and some future improvements to improve performance.
Episode 105 - What's New From Alexa Live 2022
Last week, Amazon Alexa ran their annual developer event, Alexa Live, where they showcased a number of new #VoiceFirst features for Alexa. Mark and Allen take a look at the list of announcements for Skill developers and give some first thoughts on what they mean.
Links:Feature Roundup: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/blogs/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/2022/07/Alexa-live-feature-roundup-july-2022 Skill Developer Announcements: https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/blogs/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/2022/07/Alexa-live-announcement-roundup-skill-developers-july-2022
Episode 104 - Two Years, Two Voice Devs
It's our Second Anniversary show! In addition to a few kind words from our friends, Mark and Allen celebrate by sharing what goes on behind the scenes when creating an episode. How do we come up with #VoiceFirst topics? What is our recording setup like? How do we make transcriptions? Why does Allen always wear a blue shirt? How do you get an episode out every week?
Thank you, everyone, for your questions and your support as we enter our third year!
Mentioned:Descript - descript.com gimp - gimp.org
Episode 103 - You Get A Badge! And You Get A Badge!
Open Source components can be incredibly useful when building your #VoiceFirst Skill or app. Allen asks Mark about his latest Open Source project, Badgerific, which is aimed at rewarding users tokens or badges under certain, specific, conditions.
Episode 102 - Iterating Intents Intentionally
Based on a question from StackOverflow, Allen and Mark explore the question about how to handle a #VoiceFirst scenario where the user needs to provide a list of several items one at a time (a food order, for example). If we're expecting the user to fill in a slot multiple times, or trigger an intent multiple times, before saying they're ready to move on - how do we make sure this intent gets handled over and over? Mark offers ways to handle this using Jovo and the Alexa Skills Kit, while Allen explores doing this with Dialogflow ES and CX, and ponders if Alexa Conversations will help.
Episode 101 - What Have You Learned This Week?
With Mark and Allen's plans to explore some new tools and features for #VoiceFirst developers, we discuss what we've been playing with for the past week. Mark talks about the Dialog Management API in VoiceFlow and how it can be used by Amazon Alexa developers as a way to easily design and deploy skills, while Allen takes his first steps into re-learning Android development for App Actions.
More information:https://developer.voiceflow.com/reference https://developer.android.com/guide/app-actions/overview
Episode 100 - Looking Back, Looking Forward
On the occasion of our 100th episode, and with big changes in the #VoiceFirst industry from Google and beyond, Mark and Allen take a moment to look back on where voice has been, and what new developer tools and platforms we'll be looking at for the next 100 episodes.
Episode 99 - APL: What's New in 2022?
Amazon has introduced an update to the Alexa Presentation Language, which allows #VoiceFirst developers to create more dynamic visuals. Mark and Allen discuss what these changes are and why they matter.
Episode 98 - Gaming and Gates
Based on a question from Will Rongholt, Mark and Allen discuss different approaches to implementing a #VoiceFirst game for Alexa skills or Actions on Google that provides a limited number of levels, after which players will need to make a purchase of some sort.
Episode 97 - Jovo Community Plugin Tools (Part 2)
As we do #VoiceFirst development for platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Actions on the Google Assistant, we often find patterns in how we should interact with users between sessions, and the information we need to store to keep track of these interactions. Mark continues demonstrating to Allen the next two tools in the library: a streak counter and a recharge counter.
Episode 96 - Jovo Community Plugin Tools (Part 1)
As we do #VoiceFirst development for platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Actions on the Google Assistant, we often find patterns in how we should interact with users between sessions, and the information we need to store to keep track of these interactions. Mark shares with Allen a library he has begun for Jovo 4 to assist with some of these patterns and goes into detail about the first of these - a way to manage a randomized list of items so our visitors get a new item each time.
Episode 95 - Google I/O 2022 Recap
It's that time of year again! Google I/O! When Google rolls out the latest tools and products for developers and everyone else to use. While Allen couldn't be there in person this year, he answers Mark's questions about what Google is doing in the #VoiceFirst space in general and with the Google Assistant, Actions on Google, App Actions, and the Matter protocol specifically.
Episode 94 - Multivocal + CMS = ?
With a basic understanding of how multivocal helps you create a configuration-driven #VoiceFirst app, Allen and Mark discuss how a configuration-driven content management system for multivocal ties it all together for designers, developers, and content creators.
Episode 93 - Configure Conversations? Multivocal!
Allen has been talking about multivocal for years, but what is it, and what does it do for developers? He and Mark talk about some of the underlying concepts about the multivocal library, how #VoiceFirst developers use it with platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Actions on Google, and how it can use Firebase Firestore for configuration and what this means as part of a content management system.
Episode 92 - AWS Lambda and Google Cloud Functions
Recently, AWS announced that their Lambda functions could now be invoked directly via HTTP, rather than having to go through another AWS service to access it. Mark and Allen compare this (and Lambda in general) to Google Cloud Functions, which offer similar features, and why these are both important tools in the #VoiceFirst toolbelt.
Episode 91 - Bringing the Voice CMS to Sanity
In the last episode, Mark demonstrated some of his work on Jovo that would lead towards a #VoiceFirst CMS integration, and Allen commented "now all you need is a UI to manage the content". This week - Mark delivers by exploring how to use Sanity.io, a "headless CMS" to build the UI that will feed into the configuration.
Episode 90 - How Jovo Works (With a CMS)
Ever have one of those weekends where you have a programming idea, and you just can't get it out of your head, so you decide to code it? We all have! Mark had some ideas for how to create a Content Management System (CMS) built on top of Jovo, and he had to call Allen to share the idea and some early experiments with it. Along the way, we discuss some of Jovo's core concepts and set the stage for a #VoiceFirst CMS.
Episode 89 - Dealing With Databases
Based on a question from Dana Gibson, Mark and Allen discuss some of the complexities when it comes to building Actions on Google for Assistant or Alexa Skills that access a database. From dealing with the asynchronous operations to making sure we complete the queries as quickly as possible, from SQL to tools like Firebase, Dynamo DB, and Air Table, we explore some tips and traps about databases in a #VoiceFirst world.
Episode 88 - OAuth Weirdness, Wisdom, and Woes
An important feature in Account Linking with both Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant is how they both integrate with existing authorization systems using the OAuth2 protocol. But OAuth2 can be tricky sometimes, as Mark and Allen relate with some tales of woe as they've tried to integrate OAuth into their #VoiceFirst skills and actions. Definitely some weird stuff happening!
Episode 87 - Voice Content Management Systems (Part 3)
With another week to ponder the implications (and implementation), Mark and Allen are both pretty excited to discuss some thoughts around what a #VoiceFirst CMS might look like and how it would work with the Actions for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Specifically, we dig a little bit into what Multivocal and Jovo are currently doing to make things easier on developers and content creators and what more needs to be done.
Episode 86 - Voice Content Management Systems (Part 2)
Allen and Mark continue their conversation about Content Management Systems in a #VoiceFirst world and how developers could use a CMS to both simplify their development, empower the content authors and conversation designers, and lower the cost of updating Google Assistant actions and Alexa skills.
Some products discussed:sanity.io Graph CMS Leximic multivocal Jovo
Episode 85 - Voice Content Management Systems (Part 1)
When it comes to #VoiceFirst applications, we often say that "content is king". But creating great conversations are also part of the content, and require close collaboration between the content author, the conversation designer, and the developer. Frequently updating the content can make for a better Alexa skill or Google Assistant action, but could be complicated. Mark and Allen discuss how (and why) to make this easier using a voice-oriented Content Management System (CMS).
Some products discussed:sanity.io Graph CMS Leximic multivocal Jovo
Episode 84 - Building a Chat App With Voice?!?!
What #VoiceFirst technology would we use to build an Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action that allows us to chat with our friends? That's the question that Allen and Mark try to answer. Along the way, we learn about various technologies, tips, and tricks that we can use across an assortment of voice apps that we may build. (But should we even try to make this?)
Episode 83 - Invocations Start It Up
Let's get this #VoiceFirst app going! Mark and Allen chat about some of the complexities when it comes to starting your Google Assistant Action or Alexa Skill - either as the start of a conversation, through a "deep link" invocation, or as a "one shot" question or command. While it seems like it should be straightforward, things aren't as easy as they seem! What tricks and tools do we have at our command?
Episode 82 - What Is Modality?
Frequent listener JT asked us to explain what "modality" means. Good question, JT! Allen and Mark tackle the question to try and explain it, how it is important in #VoiceFirst development, and discuss some thoughts about where this important consideration may shape our Google Assistant actions and Alexa skills in years to come.
Episode 81 - HTTP For You And Me
Mark and Allen take a look at one of the foundational technologies for Alexa Skills and Google App Actions (and all of the modern web) - HTTP. Although originally standing for the HyperText Transfer Protocol, these days it has grown to support a wide range of uses, including the REST protocol, which many #VoiceFirst apps use to make information available for users.
Episode 80 - An Introduction to App Actions
Mark is joined by guest host Eliza Camber, an Android developer and Google Developer Expert for the Google Assistant, to discuss what App Actions for the Google Assistant on Android are, how they bring the power of #VoiceFirst features to new and existing Android apps, how they compare to Alexa's mobile features, and how mobile devices can help future assistants with the thorny question about context.
Episode 79 - Voice At The Drive-Through
Voice AI technology is popping up in all sorts of different places, but one place that has gotten lots of news recently has been seeing #VoiceFirst processing at fast food drive-throughs. Allen and Mark ponder this from a number of different angles, both technological and legal, and explore where developers play a role as this becomes more widespread.
Episode 78 - When Things Go Wrogn
Ever have one of those days (or weeks) as a developer where things don't just go wrong, they go badly wrong? Allen and Mark talk about some of their worst experiences as developers, from annoying bugs to accidentally deleting databases, and how they recovered. Most importantly - they remind us to remember the successes - not just the failures.
Episode 77 - A Day In The Life Of A Developer
Mark and Allen discuss what being a senior Software Developer looks like, for them, on a day-to-day basis, and compares how it may differ for #VoiceFirst and more conventional software projects.
Episode 76 - File Access Frustrations
Episode 75 - LIVE!
Mark and Allen are joined by friends from around the world via Twitter Space in a live episode to discuss what 2021 looked like for Amazon Alexa and Actions on Google Assistant development, and what 2022 looked like in the #VoiceFirst arena.
Episode 74 - And a Partridge In a Pear Tree
Happy Holidays, everyone! Mark and Allen take a quick look back to see what gifts the #VoiceFirst developer community has gotten for Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.
Episode 73 - Getting the Team Back Together
While your first experiments with #VoiceFirst development may be a solo project, bigger and more elaborate projects will be done as part of a team. While we've often talked about the role of conversation designers as part of that team - what are the other team members? Allen and Mark share our experiences being part of different teams, both in how they work and how large they are, and what roles, from PM to Help Desk (and payroll!), are needed to make high quality and long lasting Amazon Alexa skills or Google Assistant actions.
Episode 72 - Terminology (Part 2)
Mark and Allen continue their dive into some of the words we use as we develop #VoiceFirst.
In this episode:Jovo Multivocal ASR NLP NLU Intent Slot Slot type / Entity / Entity Type / Custom Entity Alexa Conversations Action Builder scenes Context Fallback No match In Skill Purchases Account Linking APL Display Templates Cards Web API for Games Interactive Canvas
Episode 71 - Terminology (Part 1)
We use a lot of strange terms in the #VoiceFirst world, so Mark and Allen start diving into some of what them mean and what they mean to us as developers.
In this episode:Smart Speakers Smart Displays VoiceFirst Ambient Ubiquitous Amazon Echo Google Home Amazon Alexa Google Assistant FarField microphone Wake word Persona first party (1P) third party (3P) Skills Actions Capsules Voice apps App Actions Conversational actions Dialogflow v1, v2, ES, CX, API.AI Action Builder gactions Console Webhook
Episode 70 - A Moment of Thanks
We just want to take a moment to thank members of the #VoiceFirst community, those who make developing for Alexa and the Google Assistant better, and especially you, our listeners, for being here during the past year.
Episode 69 - An Intent by Any Other Name
The concept of an Intent in the #VoiceFirst world seems straightforward - it is what a user is trying to express. But how Amazon Alexa has implemented the concept is slightly different than how the Google Assistant and Dialogflow have. Allen and Mark explore some of these differences as Allen works to prepare multivocal, a development library, for use with Alexa.
Find out more:multivocal.info
Episode 68 - My First Steps in Voice
It is difficult to believe that the Google Home launched just over 5 years ago, and Alexa just celebrated its 7th birthday. Allen reminisces about his first steps writing for the Google Assistant with info about how he created a #VoiceFirst presentation, where his voice changed the slides, and how things have evolved since.
Learn more:http://ifttt.com http://slides.com http://PubNub.com https://firebase.google.com/docs/database
Episode 67 - Pre PostAPL Posting, Posted Post PostAPL
Ever have an idea that you just can't shake? Mark had an idea for an APL processor based on the PostCSS processor, but it wasn't quite working out the way he expected it to, so he and Allen chat about it a bit. But in between when they first discuss it, and when they return to record another episode - he's resolved the problems and released it. Get some insight into both phases of this process.
More about PostAPL: https://github.com/postapl
Episode 66 - Cheering Up Designing Speech Markdown
Sometimes you get into a funk, and you need a little bit of self-care to just deal with a week. Maybe you like talking to a friend when you're in that kind of mood. For Mark and Allen, a chat is just the sort of thing to lift their spirits. Even more so when they're talking about coding and how to tackle a design problem for one of the #VoiceFirst open source projects they work on - Speech Markdown. Let's peek in on their conversation to see how they explore and resolve the issues about adding a new feature.
Learn more about Speech Markdown: speechmarkdown.org
Episode 65 - Widgets and Other Wonders
Mark and Allen continue talking about the most recent hardware announced from Amazon and how this may mark a change, for both Alexa and the Google Assistant, towards a more widget-focused environment. What do you think this means in a #VoiceFirst world?
Episode 64 - Hardware: Building It and Buying It
Mark is joined by fellow Alexa Champion Darian Johnson to talk about Darian's various hardware projects, from a smart mirror to an Enterprise computer, and the latest hardware announcements from Amazon and Alexa, including the Echo Show 15 and their robot Astro.
For more about Darian and his projects:Pre-Launch Page for the Newt: https://www.crowdsupply.com/phambili/newt Newt technical blog: https://hackaday.io/project/178328-newt-always-on-low-power-digital-assistant Smart Candle Project (commercial product crowdsourcing is launch in Q1 2022) - https://www.hackster.io/darian-johnson/scent-terrific-smart-candle-d8c68a Star Trek Display - https://www.instructables.com/Make-It-So-Star-Trek-TNG-Mini-Engineering-Computer/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/darianbjohnson
Episode 63 - Back to (APL) Basics
Amazon has been going all-in with Alexa Presentation Language recently, and Mark has been taking a deeper dive into it and working on some custom components. Allen and Mark discuss some of the basics of APL.
Sites mentioned: apl.ninja
Episode 62 - ˈfoʊnimz ænd mɔr
That's "Phonemes And More", as in the SSML Phoneme tag, and some other tags that are now available for the Google Assistant. Allen and Mark discuss how these tags are useful for developers when trying to create great responses that sound "just right".
Websites mentioned: ssml.guru
Epsiode 61 - Picture Plus
Mark has updated his Picture Guesser skill with some new features, and he and Allen discuss what went into these new features. What developer components do you use to "plus up" your skills and actions?
Episode 60 - Put More Pep In Your Prompt
Do your messages and prompts to your users just drone on and on? Are people begging your voice agent to stop talking and get back to work? Do you fall asleep testing your skill or action? Mark and Allen discuss how to make messages and prompts more exciting!
Episode 59 - Count to Five
Inspired by a design presented at VoiceLunch US/Canada, Mark and Allen discuss how we would implement the design - consisting of keeping a "score" about user's to our skill or action, adjusting the score sometimes, and presenting different prompts based on this score. While the design seems straightforward, there are a number of interesting approaches to the implementation.
How would you implement this design?
What libraries do you want to see to help make your implementations easier?
Episode 58 - Everything's Pretty Routine
Both the Google Assistant and Alexa have routines - ways you can create your own phrases to do things. But what do developers need to do to make routines better for their users? Mark and Allen explore the differences between the two platforms and what developers need to know.
Episode 57 - Who Ya Gonna Call?
Most voice skills and actions will need to work with a database or contact another service, and the most common way to do that is with an API. Web API calls are pretty common, but there are some tricks and issues when it comes to voice. Mark and Allen discuss their approaches to using APIs in their apps.
Episode 56 - The Unhappy Path
Conversations don't always go to plan, and your conversation designers may specify how to handle error recovery. But what are the basic tools we have to do so? Allen and Mark discuss what code to write to handle when things go wrong.
Episode 55 - I Have A Little List
When we have a list of information to display on the web or on a mobile device, there are a variety of tools that we can use to manage that list. But when it comes to voice - how do we make sure that list sounds correct (and something a user will listen to)? Allen and Mark discuss the tools that developers have to manage lists.
Episode 54 - Of the World
Recently, Amazon announced the latest class of Alexa Champions, and Google announced the first GDEs for a new project category. Outstanding achievements for those named... But what are the Alexa Champions and Google GDEs? Allen (a GDE in five program areas) and Mark (an Alexa Champion and Bixby Premiere Developer) discuss what these programs are and how GDEs and Champions are expected to give back to their communities.
Episode 53 - What's coming soon? Alexa Live Review
At "Alexa Live" last week, Amazon bombarded us with a pile of new features that developers will soon be able to take advantage of. Mark and Allen talk about which features jumped out at them, and what they're looking forward to learning more about.
Which features are you most interested in?
Episode 52 - The Anniversary Show!
Mark and Allen, with a little help from our friends, celebrate one year of Two Voice Devs by looking back at some of the things that have stood out for us in the past year.
Most of all, however, we want to thank all of you for watching, listening, and sending us feedback. Here's to the next year!
Episode 51 - Deprecation Station
Things change, sure, but what happens when the platform you've developed for deprecates and removes a feature you were using? How do you adjust? Allen and Mark discuss the impending removal of Alexa Display Templates and other technologies on Alexa and the Google Assistant that have changed over the years.
Episode 50 - "Hey Google, Talk to Two Voice Devs"
Our 50th episode! Amazing! Thank you everyone who has been part of this along the way.
We figured this would be a golden opportunity to launch an Action, which we've now done. Mark and Allen chat about what inspired "Talk to Two Voice Devs", how it is more interactive than a typical podcast, how some of it works, and how this is just the first step.
What would you like to talk with a podcast about? We'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Episode 49 - Ready for Release
You've designed the conversations, you've written the code, everything is tested. You can release your skill or action now publicly, right? Well, not quite yet. First you have to get past the review and certification teams at Amazon and Google. Mark and Allen discuss this final step in the development process and what it means for you. Do you have any good tales about the process? Any nightmare stories?
Episode 48 - To Bixby and Beyond!
This week, Roger Kibbe guest hosts, along with Mark, to discuss what he does as a Developer Evangelist for Samsung's Bixby, how Bixby is different, what he does with the Open Voice Network, and his take on the voice industry in general.
Episode 47 - Lessons Learned the Hard Way
Experience helps you to not make mistakes. But how do you get experience? By making mistakes. And between Mark and Allen, they've made plenty of mistakes in years of programming. They'll talk about some of the lessons they've learned along the way, particularly for voice. What lessons have you learned that you want to share?
Episode 46 - Hey Google, Show Me The Money
Eventually you're going to want to monetize your Google action and one way to do that is through in-Action transactions. Mark and Allen go over the different kinds of Digital Goods Transactions available and how to use them. (If you're looking for how to do this on Alexa - check out the previous episode.) For more about digital goods transactions, see https://developers.google.com/assistant/transactions
Episode 45 - Alexa, Show Me the Money
Eventually you're going to want to monetize your Alexa skill, and one way to do that is through In Skill Purchases (ISP). Mark and Allen go over the different kinds of ISPs available and how to use them. (If you're looking for how to do this on the Google Assistant - tune in next week.)
For more about In Skill Purchases, see https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/docs/alexa/in-skill-purchase/isp-overview.html
Episode 44 - Promises, Promises
Now that Google I/O has been completed, Allen and Mark discuss what new features have been delivered for the Google Assistant... and what has just been promised. What were your favorite moments from Google I/O, and what new features are you most looking forward to?
Episode 43 - "Live" From Mountain View, California
This week is Google I/O, where Google regularly takes the opportunity to release what's new and coming "soon" in the Google ecosystem. Mark and Allen take the opportunity to review what new features have recently come out for developers of Alexa skills and actions for the Google Assistant. What new features of these platforms have you been building for?
Episode 42 - All Onboard!
In episode 38, we talked about the general process about handling users when they start our skill or action. But what do we do in the specific case of the new user? How can we onboard them? Allen and Mark talk about what our conversation designers may be asking of us, and the data structures and tools we can use to implement their ideas.
Episode 41 - Bug Hunting
Do your skills or actions work on the first try? Of course they don't! That's why we have to find good methods of tracking down and squishing those bugs. Mark and Allen discuss some of their tips for figuring out what is wrong when, on those rare occasions, things don't quite work as expected.
Episode 40 - Be... Your... Best!
In a lot of ways, #VoiceFirst development is like any other programming. But not quite. There are always some good things we need to remember as we build and test our skills, actions, and capsules. Mark and Allen talk about the best practices they follow when starting a project. Do you have any tips and tricks you make sure you follow to make your development life easier?
Episode 39 - Voice Wants You!
We've gotten a number of questions about developers from other fields getting started in voice. What do Ilarna and Allen think about that? Can it be done? You bet! Let's learn more.
Episode 38 - Hello, Greetings, and/or Salutations
Make sure you get your conversation off to a good start with a good welcome message. While you'll rely on your conversation designer to make it sound right, Mark and Allen discuss how to implement all different sorts of welcome messages, and why you may need different approaches at different times.
Episode 37 - Count on It!
Keeping count of things, how often a user has asked for help or visited your skill/action, can be a useful tool conversation designers want. But how can you code that? And how do you report that value when you're talking to a user? Allen and Mark discuss several tips and tricks about how they keep track of counters using Jovo, multivocal, and other toolkits, and the best ways to present this information to your users.
Episode 36 - Pete and Repeat
Implementing "repeat" is one of the Intents that the review teams from both Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant require. But they don't really give guidance about how to design or implement that Intent. Mark and Allen discuss the various approaches that they take with the Alexa Skills Kit, Assistant Library, Jovo, and multivocal.
Episode 35 - Gaming the System
Did you notice that Mark was nominated for a Project Voice award for game development? To celebrate, we chatted about the tools he used to create his games and what kinds of things you can do to make a good voice-first game.
Episode 34 - Voice your HTML
We complete (for now!) our review of display technologies for voice. Mark dove into a project using Vue and Web API for Games for Alexa, and he compares his experiences with Allen's recent presentation about using the Interactive Canvas for Actions on Google with React. Buzzword Bingo! How do the two compare and contrast?
Mark's project with Vue and Web API for Games: https://github.com/rmtuckerphx/jovo-web-vue-starter-ts
Allen's project with React and Interactive Canvas: https://github.com/afirstenberg/interactive-canvas-react
Episode 33 - Presenting: APL!
Allen has some questions about the Alexa Presentation Language (APL), so who better to ask than one of the contributors to apl.ninja, Stuart Pockington, who joins as the guest host this week. We go through a lot of details about APL, some of which blows Allen's mind.
Stuart adds this clarifying note: "For one question Allen asked about importing the APL document, I answered in a way that implies that I drop the json directly into the directive. That’s not what I do and I’d not recommend others to do it. Instead I save the APL JSON file in my project and reference that in APL directive. That gets deployed along with all my other backend code in lambda."
Episode 32 - Intents? Events? Don't be tense!
What kind of built-in Intents do Alexa and the Google Assistant provide to developers directly? How do they differ from each other, and what kind of problems do they cause? And what are Events and how do they differ? Allen and Mark dive into this weeks tongue twister, (but don't worry, it doesn't get too intense).
Episode 31 - Speedy Service with a Smile
Five to seven seconds. That's how long you have for your Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action to reply to a request from the user. And while that doesn't seem very long, if you're waiting for a reply, it can seem like forever. Mark and Allen discuss how important it is to shave milliseconds off your processing, and various techniques to do so.
Episode 30 - What CAN you do?
We received a question from Rebecca Evanhoe asking if there was a way to determine the features of our assistant device for a conversation. Mark and Allen dive into the various ways we can figure that out, and some of the "gotchas" that can come with it.
Episode 29 - Analytics Buffet with a side of Performance
Following on from our previous episode about debugging, Allen and Mark discuss the related topics of analytics. Although there are tools from Alexa and Google, there are also some third party tools such as those from Dashbot, and the new Jovo Inbox. Along the way, we discuss potential performance pitfalls, and how to avoid a sonic Blue Screen of Death.
Episode 28 - Bug Busters!
Debugging is the bane of most developers, but it can be particularly tricky when it comes to voice - between the remote nature of it and the rapid response time required, it can be difficult to capture what is going wrong. Mark and Allen discuss the various tools and tips we have at our disposal to track down those pesky bugs.
Some tools mentioned:Bespoken - bespoken.io Sentry - sentry.io Mocha - mochajs.org Chai - chaijs.com Assistant Conversation Test Tool - https://github.com/actions-on-google/assistant-conversation-testing-nodejs
Episode 27 - Guests, Games, and Gap Years
For our first guest host, we're thrilled to welcome Ilarna Nche! She chats with Allen about how she got started developing with voice, some of her insights about what it takes to create a successful voice game, and what we should be thinking about next.
Episode 26 - Canvasing Smart Displays
Allen thinks that the Interactive Canvas feature on the Google Assistant is one of the best technologies it supports, but Mark has a few questions about how it works. Supporting most of your favorite HTML/CSS/JS technologies in a Chrome-like environment, how would you enhance your Actions? What questions do you have about using it?
Episode 25 - What's New With You Two?
Breaks are good times to get some coding done, so what have Allen and Mark been up to recently? Turns out, there are some updates with Speech Markdown and Multivocal, and they explore these changes and the code that went into them.
Speech Markdown: speechmarkdown.org
Episode 24 - Looking Forward: 2021
Happy New Year! At least we hope it is. Mark and Allen take a glimpse at the year ahead and discuss what we hope the new year will look like for voice first developers. (Without getting TOO absurd!)
Episode 23 - Looking Back: 2020
With 2020 finally coming to a close, Allen and Mark look back at the past year - both personally and professionally.
Episode 22 - All I Want For Christmas is a New Release
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! Mark was busy working on his new game, Snatch Words, and Allen provided some help getting it working with the Google Assistant. Hear what that means when it comes to visual lists, security tokens, and more.
Episode 21 - Getting the Game On
Have you played Snatch Word or Cross Talk yet? Mark and Allen chat about what it's taken to get their recent games developed and a bit about the underlying technology and code.
Episode 20 - Dialogflow and DynamoDB
Mark is getting ready to release his new game, Snatch Word, but there are a couple of details to work out. So he and Allen chat about what it's taking to get things ready for release.
Episode 19 - Oh Say Can You CMS
We often talk about skills and actions being "all about the content", but how do we manage that content if its so important? In a content management system, of course! Mark and Allen discuss their experiences using CMS tools and the crucial role they play in building practical skills and actions.
Episode 18 - Thank YOU!
In the US, today is Thanksgiving. Allen and Mark would like to thank all of you for watching and listening, but also some people who have meant so much to us.
Just a small list includes:Our families and closest friends Michael Palermo Brad Abrams, Jessica Early-Cha, and Mandy Chan Bradley Metrock Octavio Menocal Gene Homicki, my coworkers, and everyone at MyTurn.com and spiders.com Karol Stryja and Michal Stanislawek for VoiceLunch.com Noelle Silver Denis Valasek and Linda Lawton Maike G and Rebecca E
And everyone else we name in the show or who have helped us so much this year. Know that we are thankful for each and every one of you. You matter to us and to everyone.
Episode 17 - Byte by Byte Putting it Together
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
Episode 16 - One Little Spark of Inspiration
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
Episode 15 - The Times They Are A-Changin'
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!)
Episode 14 - The Past is Prolog
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.
Episode 13 - The Right Tool For the Job
Mark and Allen discuss the tools they use to build Skills and Actions, and some of the tricks to make a developer's life a little easier and more productive.
Episode 12 - One new feature list just going up, and one even longer going down
What happens when new features are released? Why, Mark and Allen break into song! And discuss the latest new features developers for Alexa and Google Assistant can work with .
Episode 11 - Where to Read the Friendly Manual
Google AssistantConsole: https://console.actions.google.com/ Main docs page: https://developers.google.com/assistant Codelabs: https://developers.google.com/assistant/conversational/codelabs Community forum: https://www.reddit.com/r/GoogleAssistantDev/ Stack Overflow: actions-on-google and actions-builder tags twitter: @ActionsOnGoogle Actions on Air video / podcast series Follow other GDEs - many have tutorials about various topics.
DialogflowES 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
AlexaDeveloper 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/
JovoMain page: https://www.jovo.tech/ Docs Tutorials Marketplace Forum GitHub: https://github.com/jovotech Jovo Community: https://github.com/jovo-community
Episode 10 - Top 10 Torments
For our milestone episode we wanted to change it up a little. So we present our Top Ten issues that we see with the major platforms as developers.
Episode 10 Teaser
We have something special planned for our 10th episode! Curious what it might be?
Episode 9 - The Missing Account Linking
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.
Episode 8 - Permit Me, Please
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.
Episode 7 - A different Type of show
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.
Episode 6 - Do you see what I hear?
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.
Episode 5 - Outages and contexts and storage, oh my!
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.
Episode 4 - Tracking the Wily Audio
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
Episode 3 - Open Source Projects
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/rmtuckerphxhttp://ssml.guru/ https://www.speechmarkdown.org/
Allen's Projects: https://github.com/afirstenberghttps://multivocal.info/
Episode 2 - Conversations
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!
References: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 Jovo: https://www.jovo.tech/ Narratory: https://narratory.io/
Episode 1 - Action Links and Quick Links
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