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InfoQ Homepage News Alexa Test Simulator Simplifies Alexa Skill Testing

Alexa Test Simulator Simplifies Alexa Skill Testing

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The new Alexa Test Simulator, now available in beta, allows developers to test most functionality in their skills without a device. Additionally, Amazon has announced improved support for automated skill testing.

Lately Amazon has been working on improving the developer experience for its Alexa intelligent personal assistant. Part of this strategy, the Alexa Test Simulator, provides the ability to test multi-turn conversation, entity resolution, dialog management, and more features that are not supported by existing test tools.

The main feature provided by the Test Simulator is voice-based testing, but the simulator also supports manual testing JSON requests, and voice and tone testing using SSML. When testing using your voice, the simulator keeps the skill session to make it possible to test the skill dialog flow. Enabling SKill I/O will show the JSON sent and received, while the Echo Show Display option will provide an approximation of how the skill displays on the Echo Show.

The Test Simulator supersedes the basic testing service provided by the Amazon Developer Portal.

On a related note, Amazon also announced enhancements to its Skills Management API and command line tool (CLI), which were introduced a few months ago and make it possible to create, update, test, and submit Alex skills for review. Among other things, the Alexa Skills CLI allows deveopers to test utterances from the command line, which provides the foundation for automated skill testing. For example, you could run:

ask simulate -t "utterance to test" --skill-id amzn1.ask.skill.12345678-1234-1234-123456789123

Next week Amazon will roll out a few enhancements to its skill testing API which will add support for features, such as entity resolution and dialog management.

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