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M. Christianson avatar image
M. Christianson asked

Trouble with Dates

Hello, Has anyone else had trouble with Dates? I have DATE or AMAZON.DATE Slot for which Amazon takes the input and returns an unexpected value. Input: april fifteen nineteen ninety nine Slot: AMAZON.DATE Value: 1519-04 If I change the input just slightly, Amazon returns the expected value. Input: april fifteenth nineteen ninety nine Slot: AMAZON.DATE Value: 1999-04-15 My guess is that the slot expects ordinal dates not cardinal dates. (For background, it appears ordinal dates are grammatically correct for speech while cardinal dates are for writing. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/writing-dates) Amazon won't certify my Skill because of this problem, but it seems out of my control. I can't change the way AMAZON.DATE works and I have no way of knowing the user's intention. Ideas?
alexa skills kitvoice-user interface
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jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta answered
It's hard to say. There's no escalation process. (Other than whining in the forums, which occasionally gets noticed.) You can reply back to the cert team and ask them, specifically, for advice on how to "fix" this. But about 3 times out of four they never answer. Also, even if your skill gets certified and marked "live", there is no guarantee that Amazon will publish it in any sort of reliable timeframe. So, honestly, if you aren't doing it out of self amusement, there's no point in going through the process. The opacity of their publishing criteria, and the randomness of certification stymie any business plan you might develop. I've got a bunch of ideas on how to extend my skills, created interrelated skills, and new ones. But each time I reach for the keyboard to implement something, I steel myself, and sit on my hands. I told myself that I won't do any more Echo work until I actually see one of my skills come out the other end of the pipeline. Because, right now, I have nothing to show for what I've done. Sorry for the rant. I know that doesn't help with the dates. What more can you say about your skill? Can you drive the conversation differently to get around that style of date input?
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M. Christianson avatar image
M. Christianson answered
Thanks for the reply. It is mostly for, as you put it, self amusement, so I'll probably just drop it after letting them know about the ordinal/cardinal problem. How would I contact the cert team? I haven't seen any mention in the "rejection" emails I've received. (Or, not that I've noticed.)
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jjaquinta avatar image
jjaquinta answered
You can just reply to the mail you got. Yes, it's a "generic" address. But I've had conversations with it. Either they do something clever and route your mail back to the team based on your address (a classic technical support trick) or they just have a group mailbox that all cert people are subscribed to. I think there's only 6-8 people working part time on certification. Followup: about 45 minutes after my rant, above, I got mail informing me that my two certified skills will go live next week. I'm not saying that ranting in the forum is the key to getting action out of Amazon. (God knows that's not the first time I've ranted about the lack of transparency around skill publishing.) But given that one was certified two weeks ago and the other two months ago... well... I have no idea. The process seems highly random from this side of things. Good luck with yours!
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