Few days ago, i was figuring out about how to improve my garden, just think about the amount of different plants resulted in an overwhelming labor, and immediately few questions came into my mind such as: what things should I take in count to start a garden?, What plants are more convenient?, where can I find help about plants I own? we noticed that finding answers is not what we had been thinking, is harder specially for unexperienced persons. That was where the idea came from to create a skill to suggest plants matching user necessities and tastes.
What it does
Lovely Plants skill can make plant recommendations to users for their garden, taking into account the purpose for which they want that garden, the size, how much sunlight it receives, and if the intended space is outside or inside your house. We also realized that it would be attractive to add interesting facts about plants to show the benefit that these bring to our lives, just in case someone has not yet encouraged to start creating their own garden.
How we built it
First, we had to create a database with the plants the skill would recommend, so we got down to work visiting a nursery and took photos of plants as many possible as we could, not only writing down the name of each one but also basic information about its care to figure out in what circumstances to recommend it. So, we appreciate a lot the patience and time spent by plant's expert without whom we could haven't been able to complete the task, and also had a funny, pleasant day. Then we put all data in a Json file, which would be our database. At the same time we were creating the Dialog Model in the Alexa Developer Console using Alexa Conversations. Then we generate the code for the backend that would be hosted in Lambda.
Challenges we ran into
Even when we have plants in our homes, I have to admit that we didn't really know much about plants. We had tried to update a skill using Alexa Conversations, but it didn't work, so it was a challenge to see how this skill would work if we created it purely using Alexa conversations. So, we start working in this one as a learning prototype and it seems that we did it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We start image gallery and data base from cero, that was a lot of work since we had to figure out the way the skill would work and respond using Alexa conversations, and also define how big the pictures would be to minimize memory size to improve skill response. So, we learned a lot in many topics.
What we learned
We learned a lot of plants... and of course about Alexa Conversations, APL-A and APL. We also improve a bit taking photos.
What's next for Plants and Garden
We would like to add more plants to the database to have a wide range of different recommendations and give a best user experience.