When trying work quickly and efficiently it is often frustrating to forget the command or shortcut you looked up just a few days or even hours ago. It's these commands that can save a developer loads of time but often take time to learn from many google searches. With DevTalk we hoped we could create an application that doesn't need to stop your workflow while you learn these powerful tools and their infinite commands. Whether you're trying to be the next best Vimja, or just like making your Google Chrome experience a little nicer, DevTalk can provide you with all you'd ever want to know!
What it does
DevTalk is an Alexa Skill that allows a developer to optimize his or her workflow, without ever leaving the keyboard, or even the current screen he or she might be working on. DevTalk is a voice recognition application, that when prompted with supply the user with any command or keyboard shortcut needed. By simply asking Alexa "how do i delete in vim?" Alexa will quickly respond with the many different options to delete. Alexa can support any developer tool or application and helps the developer learn new tools while never slowing down the workflow.
How we built it
We started with a Firebase server on the backend. We realized it was the best way to create an API endpiont custom built for our application. It allows us to easily and quickly incorporate new commands and tools into our application. We then use node.JS and an Amazon lambda function to interface with Amazon Alexa. The Lambda function allows us to incorporate an Amazon Echo to interact with our application. We created the skill DevTalk to allow this interaction to happen.
Challenges we ran into
Event driven programming is hard. Asynchronous requests are really cool but take time to think through and debug. We also realized it can be very difficult to design a user experience with such a new and modern technology.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
What we learned
We learned how much of a paradigm shift Amazon Alexa is bringing to the UX. It is no longer about how to click and touch, but rather how to speak, how to communicate. We learned how to develop a UX centered application around speaking. We also learned how easy it is to set up a database on Firebase. It made an awesome api endpoint for devTalk!
What's next for DevTalk
We hope we can continue development for devTalk and include many more tools and commands. Our goal is to allow community feedback and crowdsource our commands. This will allow anyone to add their favorite command line tools and provide a new, innovative, and exciting way to increase workflow.