Inspiration

Finding the right party toast for me is always a challenge. So, I started to collect the party toasts. I have over 90 party toasts in my personal collection and I used them to create this Alexa Skill.

What it does

If you ask Alexa, “Alexa open Party Toasts and give me a party toast,” Alexa will tell you a toast.

How I built it

I build it with Node.js. I don’t really know node.js. I worked with many computer languages in my life, but not with node.js. So.... I read articles on Alexa blog and followed their instructions. It worked.

Challenges I ran into

I had tremendous challenges. I submitted and certified three other Alexa skills in January 2017 and I felt that I am very well prepared for this online hackathon, but, guess what – the process of creating a function with LAMBDA changed and I had to learn almost everything form scratch. The worst part - I couldn’t upload my code to LAMBDA; I was getting some “crazy” messages that I didn’t even know that exists. So, I posted a question on the Alexa Developers Forum, but nobody knew the answer. It took for me a month (seriously!) to figure out that on my computer a WinZip compression utility and the Windows 10 compression go into the conflict and the ZIP file that I was uploading to LAMBDA had missing files. After I removed WinZIp from my computer, I solved the problem.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I refused to give up, even so the situation seemed to be hopeless. Now I am proud of it. ;)

What I learned

First, I learned that there is an active Alexa Developers Forum where people are ready to help you if you need help. Second, I learned that when you get stuck, sometimes it is good idea to put it aside for a few days and then to try it again. Eventually, I figured out what caused a problem and I finished creating Alexa skill Party Toasts on time.

What's next for Party Toasts?

I have over 90 party toasts. Now I want to organize these toasts by subjects (e.g., toasts about life, Toasts that inspire, toasts about work, and toasts about Internet) and to use Custom Slot Types, so people could ask, “Alexa, Open Party Toasts and tell me a toast about life” or “Alexa, Open Party Toasts and recommend me a toast that inspire.”

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