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Building Amazon Alexa Skills With Node.js, Revisited

A little more than two years ago, when the Amazon Echo first started picking up steam and when I was first exposed to virtual assistants, I had written a tutorial around creating a Skill for Amazon Alexa using Node.js and simple JavaScript. In this tutorial titled, Create an Amazon Alexa Skill Using Node.js and AWS Lambda, we saw how to create intent functions and sample utterances in preparation for deployment on AWS Lambda. I later wrote a tutorial titled, Test Amazon Alexa Skills Offline with Mocha and Chai for Node.js, which focused on building unit tests for these Skills and their intent functions. Fast forward to now and a few things have changed in the realm of Skill development.

In this tutorial we’re going to see how to build a Skill for Alexa powered devices using Node.js and test it using popular frameworks and libraries such as Mocha and Chai.

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Build An Alexa Skill With Golang And AWS Lambda

It has been a few years since I last worked on and published an application, otherwise known as a Skill, for Alexa powered voice assistants. My last Skill titled, BART Control, was built out of necessity because of my commuting on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. While I didn’t open source it, I had created the Skill with Node.js and a publicly available BART web service. Since then I had written a tutorial titled, Create an Amazon Alexa Skill Using Node.js and AWS Lambda, which also focused on Node.js.

I’m a huge fan of Golang and was pleased to see that AWS Lambda recently started to officially support it. AWS Lambda isn’t a requirement to creating Alexa Skills, but it is a huge convenience. To make things even better, Amazon recently sent me an invitation to take part in their developer offer to receive an Amazon Echo Show for publishing another Skill. The offer and Golang inspired me to develop another Skill and this time I wanted to share my process.

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Serving Gzipped JavaScript Files From Amazon S3

If you’re using Amazon S3 for a CDN, it’s possible to serve compressed, gzipped files from an Amazon S3 bucket, though there are a few extra steps beyond the standard process of serving compressed files from your own web server.

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Use Sendy To Build And Maintain An Email List For Cheap

When you’re building a business, the experts all say that you should make your list building strategy a priority. Using social networks like Twitter and Facebook for your marketing is great, but those might not be around forever. Email has been around for a long time and it will likely exist a long time into the future as well.

I’ve briefly mentioned this before, but I’m currently using Sendy to manage my email subscribers and send out my monthly newsletter. However, I wasn’t always using Sendy to accomplish this task. For around a year, I was using Mailchimp, a similar product.

We’re going to see what Sendy is, how to use it, and why I’m using it over the various alternatives that exist.

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Take A Node.js With Express API Serverless Using AWS Lambda

Not too long ago I had written about creating an API with Node.js and Express that accepted image uploads and manipulated the images to be Android compliant before returning them in a ZIP archive. This article was titled, Create an Android Launcher Icon Generator RESTful API with Node.js, and Jimp, and it was a great example of creating APIs that that did most of their work in memory. I even demonstrated how to containerize the application with Docker.

Applications that manipulate media will need to be able to scale, otherwise there is a risk of the application crashing from not enough resources, or too many resources can get expensive. For this reason, it makes perfect sense to take the previous example serverless with Amazon’s Lambda and API Gateway offerings.

We’re going to see how to use API Gateway to accept HTTP requests with binary image data and process that data with Lambda to return various sized Android launcher images packaged in a ZIP archive.

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TPDP Episode #14: Object Storage for Application Developers

I am pleased to announce that the latest episode of The Polyglot Developer Podcast is now available to download from all the popular podcasting networks. In this episode titled, Object Storage for Application Developers, I’m joined by Krishna Srinivas from Minio to talk about what object storage is and the various solutions that are available.

Episode #14 can be downloaded for free from iTunes, Pocket Casts, and every other popular network, but it can also be heard below.

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Build An Image Manager With NativeScript, Node.js, And The Minio Object Storage Cloud

When building a mobile application, there are often scenarios where you need to storage files remotely and when I say files, I don’t mean database data. For example, maybe you want to develop an image manager or photo storage solution like what Facebook and Instagram offer? There are many solutions, for example you could store the files in your database as binary data, or you could store the files on the same server as your web application. However, there are better options, for example, you could use an object storage solution to store files uploaded from your mobile application. Popular object storage solutions include AWS S3 as well as the open source alternative Minio.

We’re going to see how to leverage Minio to store images that have been uploaded from an Android and iOS mobile application built with NativeScript and Angular.

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