From Oct 16 2019 - Entry shows in the app
From Oct 16 2019 - A glimpse of Saturn and its moons!
From Oct 16 2019 - Skill can show text and/or read text description of photo
I began with the idea to make the world a better place, no matter how small my effort. I read that people are much happier when they experience the emotion of awe. So, how could I provide Amazon Alexa users with a daily dose of something awesome? I researched content providers and found NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day API.
What better way to experience awe than by seeing a photograph of our massive, amazing universe? Even better than that, what if the photo was taken by professionals?
As a developer, I love dynamic content. What do I mean by that? I love the idea of setting up a skill that provides new each and every day. Even better if I can "set it and forget it."
Producing compelling content that changes every day is a massive task. I simply could not do that alone (nor do I have the interest) APIs are the solution.
Once I cracked the code of being able to use APIs with Alexa (with LOTS of help from Alexa developer evangelists!) The skill was up and running.
What it does
When the skill opens, it reaches out to NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day API. It gathers the photo, the photo's title and a description.
How I built it
I am not the best coder, but I am decent at reworking parts of code that exists. I took some code for https calls from the Amazon Alexa developer blog.
Challenges I ran into
The greatest challenge was making the API call work and displaying it properly using Alexa card display methods.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
On days when I need a quick shot of positive vibes or happiness or awe, I end up using the skill myself. Our universe is huge and the wonders in it are endless.
What I learned
Coding is sometimes a brawl. You just have to test, re-code, test. It's a struggle of endurance! I also was pleased that I didn't start of even think of what was possible (or probable with my skills.). I came up with the idea, THEN I made it happen. That frees you up and makes you learn. If you only think what you can do with your current skills, you'll never grow. .
What's next for Daily Space Picture
I have always wanted to add a feature where, if a user finds a photo especially awesome, they could request Alexa email it to their registered account. That would be cool! Honestly, I'm not sure how to do that yet and the privacy concerns make it daunting, but I will figure it out someday!