Inspiration

I love Formula 1 racing. I have had the pleasure of following some official races and free practice in person. I think it's an incredible sport. Unfortunately, I have not time anymore to follow the live races so I decided to create a Skill that could give me quick information about the podium of the latest race as well as when and where the next race will be. This is how Formula One Bot was born.

What it does

Currently, the Skill lets user:

  • Check Formula One Drivers standings Ex.: Alexa ask Formula One Bot how many points has Hamilton

  • Check latest race results Ex.: Alexa ask Formula One Bot who won the latest race

  • Check next race date and place Ex: Alexa ask Formula One Bot when is the next race

  • Check the Formula One World Championship per year Ex.: Alexa ask Formula One Bot who won the championship in 2000

How I built it

The skill was built using the tutorials and codes made available by Amazon on its GitHub as a reference. Because it is an extremely new concept, in the beginning there are some barriers to be overcome for those who are used to building Skills by coding everything. But in the end, the result is surprising.

Challenges I ran into

Initially, understanding how everything relates to Alexa Conversations is a challenge. Since the concepts of API Definition, Responses and Dialogues are new, there was a learning curve at the beginning. Another challenge was to merge the use of Alexa Developer Console with VSCode. Deploy Skill's times are massive, and it is a bit cheering up. But the biggest challenge was the fact that I'm out of Alexa devices for testing. Using the Alexa app on the phone as well as on the ASK UI works well, but nothing like a physical device.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud to have participated in the Alexa Skill Challenge. Although my current job has nothing to do with voice apps, it was great to remember old concepts and learn about Alexa Conversations. I'm glad I didn't get discouraged in the beginning with some obstacles I faced.

What I learned

I loved meeting Alexa Conversation. For those who have followed the evolution of Alexa since its launch in 2014, we know how impressive it is to be able to create a Skill without worrying about coding, opening the door for many non-developers to create incredible Skills. As I am a developer, I am missing being able to create Dialogs using code. Another thing is that the current engine, despite being excellent and impressive, is still missing in some ways. Try, for example, to rename a Slot after everything is ready; you're going to have a lot of headaches trying to fix everything again. The construction / training mode is taking a long time compared to what we had in the past. Despite this, I am very pleased to have spent a few hours to see how Alexa Conversations works. Worth it!

What's next for Formula 1 Bot

Soon, I intend to include new features related to historical facts that allow to know the number of titles and wins of certain pilots. I also intend to include information about the current circuits such as their dimensions, DRS zones, track records and drivers who most won.

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