Katum avatar image
Katum asked

Call built-in skills or use alexa settings


First of all hello everyone ! It's my first post so it would be good to say hi.

And to the problem. I saw other answers on the forum that I cannot use other skills from my custom skills, but the answers was pretty old. Has something changed ? Can I do a request to alexa from my custom skill ? To get an answer?

I will give two examples. Let's say I want to write flight tickets booking skill.

Sample one:

1. TLDR 1 When user picks a flight ticket, I want to return a Weather condition for his destination. I could of course do a call to any public API, but what for if there are already skills which can handle such requests. Can I call built-in weather skill from my skill ?

Sample two

2. TLDR 2 This one is a bit trickier to implement on my own. When users books a ticket, I want to add to his calendar two events. One, the day before his flight with reminder, and second one on the day of flight.

Alexa app has a nice integrations with some calendars. Of course there is also a built-in skill for handling calendar requests. Again, can I call built-in calendar skill to add an event?

Second question to this sample, if not, can I somehow get the user calendar if he has added any in his app ?

TLDR 3 First case is trivial, because workaround is to call the api with some params, but in the second one, it would be nice to have such possibility, because many users can have different calendar, and alexa has an integration with 4 basic calendars OOTB. Is there a way to reuse what alexa already have in my custom skill ?

Like I said, first case workaround is trivial, but in the second one I would have to write an integration with 4 calendars, and user would have to pass the same information (username, password) in second place.

I'm afraid that I would have to integrate with those calendars as I couldn't find anything in the docs or forums.

ps. is it hard to provide an user interface like alexa has OOTB for those various calendars?

alexa skills kitbuilt-in librarycalendar
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Jason@Amazon avatar image
Jason@Amazon answered

Apart from using external APIs, the other option is to use skill connections:

In general it isn't possible to pass information to and from other in-built Alexa functionality - this includes calendars. Lists are available though, but not quite what you're looking for.

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Katum avatar image
Katum answered

Ok... but that sounds like what I want to use, however with a note that Weather Skill and Calendar skill offers tasks.

If I understood correctly, this will allow me to send request to Weather or Calendar skill, and for example ask for weather / add an event to user Calendar. Of course Alexa will ask user if the weather / calendar can be used by my skill, and later on it will switch context back to my skill.

Of course I'm not sure if Weather / Calendar skill has tasks handlers to make it work with skill connectors. I will have to check that, unless you're saying that those handlers don't exist.

Solution seems to be really nice, but not sure if this is already complete in a way, that developers can use what Alexa offers OOTB.

For weather, 3rd party APIs are free, like I said it was just a dummy case. Calendar case is not so straight forward as 3rd party APIs are not free, or even cheap enough to use them.

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You're correct in that the onus is on the developers of the weather or calendar skills to provide task functionality - without that task functionality, the alternative is to use third party APIs like you mentioned as you won't be able to use the in-built weather or calendar functionality in Alexa-enabled devices.

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