Video Transcript

Hey, this is Steve with Dabble Lab.  In this video, we’re going to build a skill that uses the video app interface and this would be a skill that is targeting either the Amazon Echo Show or the new Echo Spot.  So the video app interface is used to stream native video files to a skill or to the Show or the Dot.

So we’re going to build the skill actually from a template that I created.  I’ve been working on another project that I’m hoping to launch soon called,  And this is just a repository for templates that work with the Alexa Skills Kit CLI.  So I will start by just showing you how to get to the template and then we’ll dive into the code.

So to do this if you want to follow along, you’re going to need the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface installed.  And if you don’t have that, I’ll leave a link to a video where I walk through installing that – but let me increase the size here first.  But if you’ve got the CLI installed, what you need to do is, you just say ask new.  And then we’re going to use a template so you’d go –template, like that.  And then we’re going to use a template from site that I’m setting up.  So we’ll go and then /templates/json, just like that.

I’ve just got a couple of them up there right now.  I’ve got a basic starter template and this video app-starter which is the one that we’re going to be working with today.  So you would just select the video app-starter template and then that is going to create a skill project, so I ran that from this folder here, this temp folder.  And so it created this project folder called video app-starter.

From here, actually, it’s ready to go.  So if you’ve used the ASK-CLI before you could at this point just go ask deploy and provided that you’ve got an account with and an AWS account and your ASK-CLI is configured properly, that is all you would need to do to deploy this.  So you would just go ask deploy and this is — oops, I got to change into the directory so, video app-started.  And now we can go ask deploy.  And this will deploy the skill and push out the Lambda Function also, so this is going to take a minute so I’ll pause and come right back.

Okay.  So now that the skill is deployed, I’ll just go ahead and test it out to show you what it does and then we can dive into the code.  So here’s what it does – okay, now let’s test it out.

Steve:  Alexa, start video app-starter.

Alexa:  Video plays.

Now you can see it’s just playing a simple video from the video file that I got hosted on S3 and it’s using the video app directive, so it’s got all the video controls built-in also, so I can pause and stop and start.

Steve:  Alexa, stop.

And that’s it.  Now let’s take a look at the code.

Okay.  So let’s take a look at what the template deployed and then we can look at the code also.  So if you go to and go to your Alexa Skills List, log in there, then go to Alexa, and then Alexa Skills Kit here and it will bring up a list of your skills.  You should see the video app-starter skill installed now.  And what you’ll need to do is go in here and enable it for testing first if you want to test it yourself after you deploy it.  So if you try to test it and you get a message, like, I couldn’t find that skill or something like that, it’s probably because you haven’t enabled the testing.

The new test simulator won’t work with this skill because it’s got video in it and the test simulator doesn’t support video yet.  I’m sure it will shortly, but it doesn’t right now.  So we would just test it, just like we just did using your actual device, like, an Echo Show or an Echo Spot.

Let me show you the code and just quickly, like, what’s going on in here.  So this template defaults in the skill manifest with the skill name video app-starter and you probably want to change that and all of this information here in the summary, the example phrases.  I’ve also pointed out the icon, the small and large icons for the skill out to some default images and the next three bucket that I set up, you’ll probably want to change that if you’re going to publish the skill for your own use.  And then down here you want to change the URL for the privacy policy in the terms of use.  But the rest of it should be set up and ready to go.

Let me see what else you would want to change here.  In the models, you want to change the invocation name.  So if you go to Models, and then the Invocation Name up here, defaults to video app-starter, and you want to change that to whatever invocation name you want to name – and the invocation name is the name that starts the skill up, so “Alexa, start” whatever invocation name would go right here.

At that point you can dive into the code.  If you want to take a look at the skill, this one is pretty simple.  The — I’m using a video from, you’ve seen that under Creative Comments.  Pixelbay is a great place to get videos, by the way; go out there and there’s all kinds of a good videos.  And this one is just a relaxing video of a brook or a stream or something like that, but maybe for the holidays you could have a fireplace video or something like that or whatever video you want.  But all you would need to do is get the video that you want and then change out this URL right here.

So this is going to point to wherever the video file is that you’re going to be playing.  And then the meta information up here is the title of the video that’s going to show and the subtitles, so that gets passed into the response template here.  And you can change those up.  And then up here, the title I’ve got a template screen that’s being pulled up that is just showing a blank blue background by default.  You can change this image out if you want to change it up and change the title of the first screen that shows and then also if you wanted to change the text, you can change that here.

Again, this is really simple video skill.  Hopefully, this provides you with a starting point if you’re working on your own skill.  If you’ve got any questions or comments, you can leave those for me and I’ll respond just as soon as I can.  If you did find this video valuable, please like it and subscribe to the Dabble Lab channel.  Thanks so much.