My family celebrates Chinese New Year each year, but it can be tough to remember when it falls on the American (Gregorian) calendar, and looking it up can be a pain. Add to that, whenever our friends find out about this, they inevitably ask about what their respective animal is for their birthday.

What it does

This skill will inform you when the New Year falls on the Gregorian calendar, as well as the Zodiac symbol, the heavenly stem and earthly branch for the year in question. It also includes information about the various (commonly accepted) related information regarding the zodiac animals, as well as the associated elements.

How I built it

This is my first published skill, and I built it using the ASK CLI / by hand.

Challenges I ran into

This skill was started before Amazon released the APL, and I'm only partway into the conversion over to use APL instead of the old "card" approach for visual devices.

Accomplishments of which I'm proud

I'm proud of the artwork I created, and the mixing of it into the responses (if you have an Echo device with a screen) - and just having the skill working is nice. Now my family can easily query / remember when the next CNY will happen, as well as answer questions from friends about their birth year.

What I learned

A lot about the ins and outs of using the ASK CLI for development :)

What's next for Chinese New Year

  • I want to convert it to use the APL, and output more images for specific queries (e.g. show the element / animal for a given year, rather than the generic fallback image)
  • I want to convert the codebase over to Jovo (, as I'm also working on converting the skill over to be a Google Action as well.

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