A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to win an Echo Dot in a company hackathon. Since then I have been trying to develop Alexa Skills that interest me in my spare time. Before exploring this new field of development, I had been interested in learning and practicing a language that was new to me, Golang (or just Go). Considering Alexa skills are based on web services, one of the area where Go excels, it seemed like a great way to “have my cake and eat it too.”
It was a couple of months ago when I came across a great post by Nic Raboy on writing about writing Alexa Skills with Golang and AWS Lambda which can be found here. Most of the Skills I have developed started before Lambda had first-class support for Go so I am much more comfortable writing Skills using self-hosted web services. Using Lambda for Alexa Skills is definitely a great approach but there are some instances where using your own server might make more sense. If you are looking to reuse an existing server or rapidly prototype an idea then maybe it makes more sense to use this approach.
In this post, I will detail the steps necessary to deploy a web service that can be used to fulfill Alexa Skill requests. To make it easier to compare this approach with using Lambda, the functionality of the Skill will remain almost identical to Nic Raboy’s example. It is only the deployment process that will be changed.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
The recent Amazon S3 outage that took down much of the internet inspired me to talk about alternatives. Not too long ago I wrote about an open source object storage software called Minio and how I was using it on my Raspberry Pi for backups. The great thing about Minio is it shares the same APIs as AWS S3, but can be deployed to your own hardware, eliminating Amazon as a dependency.
This time around I thought it would be great to share how to use Minio as an object storage for a Node.js application that uses the middleware, Multer, for handling file uploads.Read More