This is the last part in our series of blog posts concerning the development of an Alexa Skill. If you missed the previous parts you can catch up by reading part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here.
Every student group that has worked on a software project can retell the following situation: you’re one week ahead of the deadline, every team member has spent the last weeks working on their part of the project. So far, everything looks great – every module works on its own, the GUI is designed and implemented, the database is modeled and set up, client and server are both running smoothly. All that’s left is combining all the bits and pieces to see everything in action together. Easy, right? Fast forward another five days, it’s the weekend before the final presentation: the air is thick with panic with everyone furiously debugging their code, solving merge conflicts left and right while trying to get the project to some kind of working state that will at least survive the demo. Things that were already working in isolation are now broken and quite a bunch of features that were an inch close to completion will never make it into the presentation. So what has gone wrong? And what have we done to prevent the same from happening with our Alexa Skill?
Test-driven Development of an Alexa Skill with Node.js
This is the third part in a series of blog posts in which we will describe the process of developing an Amazon Alexa Skill while focusing on using new technologies like serverless computing and enforcing the use of clean code conventions. We decided for our project to use continuous integration and delivery. For that to work as it should and to prevent unnecessary bugs from being discovered by the user, we relied on test-driven development for our code.
Decisions, Developed Modules and Implementation
If you missed the first part you can catch up by reading it here.
In the second part of our blog post series, we first describe what decisions were made in the course of the development process, then we show which code we actually had to develop on ourselves and finally we give an overview on how we implemented the skill.
So let’s get started with how we ended up from the inital idea of developing a chatbot to the development of an Alexa Skill.
Introduction to the Project
It is becoming obvious that chatbots are quickly emerging to the next Big Thing. This is especially evident by the recent flood of publication of software development kits by major tech companies to encourage developers to build applications for their ecosystem.