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Dev Chat from this week

Did anyone get a chance to attend this week's chat with Dave Isbitski? This week he was including the certification team, so I'd really like to hear what came out of that.
alexa skills kit
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jjaquinta answered
I was there for half of it. Had a day-job meeting cross scheduled against it so I had to bail halfway through. Of the eight questions asked during that time (two by me) only three were actually about certification. I felt kind of bad for the cert team, being dragged to it, and there being mostly off topic questions. 1) Complained about 4.1 Said why can't we make it you need to either prompt a user for the next action, or have a reprompt. David didn't understand the question and answered something else. 2) Complained about the cert team not reading the testing notes. They said they made it a requirement, as of early Feb, that the cert team must read the notes. 3) I think Steven A asked about something certification related, but I can't remember the details. I think it was about incremental updates to interaction models. Amazon dodged the question. And, just about all the other non-certification questions were ones we've seen before. "The skills tab sucks." "I want to write skills like intrinsic features." and the like. Dave's answers were almost all "I feel for you. I agree with you. I can't comment about what we're going to do." On the plus side, I really do think they do read the forums. They seemed familiar with several threads. I really wish they went the extra mile and actually participated in the forums more. I think that would enrich the discussion on all sides. Of course, Amazon would have to change their culture, be a little less paranoid, and allow their people to say more than "I can't comment..." Dave gave me, and Starlanes, a shout-out, which was nice of him. I accept the social contract and will mostly stick to saying nice things about him. Overall it was a bit of a wash as far as I was concerned. No substantive questions. And if there were, it doesn't look like there would be any substantive answers. I have a million non-cert questions to ask, but I can already hear the "I can't comment..." answers. So I'm not even sure it is worth signing up for the next talk and asking them.
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Steve A avatar image
Steve A answered
I listened in, and generally agree with jjaquinta's take, but I thought they were a bit more forthcoming than jjaquinta did. I asked two questions. The first was about the possibility of an expedited cert process for minor changes (e.g., just adding some sample utterances.) My sense was that this was going to happen but, as always, they *did* avoid any comment about when. My other question -- only indirectly about certification -- was about when/if people will be able to buy skills from the store. Again, my sense was this was coming, but no hint was given as to when. This last question was indirectly about certification because months ago I submitted a skill that had a two week trial period built in, after which you'd have to buy the skill to keep it working. That didn't get through certification. It was confirmed that today any such scheme would not be certified.
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jjaquinta answered
>It was confirmed that today any such scheme would not be certified. Well, since you can't buy a skill in the UI, what you describe exactly wouldn't work. But if you require them to pay via a linked app, how can they stop you? Right now Starlanes has an in-game currency. Eventually this will be something that you will be able to buy for real money. If they, seriously, want to remove all potential for revenue streams for skills, like this implies, how do they expect professional skills? I guess I should have asked that about Starlanes!
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Steve A avatar image
Steve A answered
jjaquinta, >Well, since you can't buy a skill in the UI, what you describe exactly wouldn't work. I don't think I said that you'd have to buy it through the UI. I just said after two weeks you'd have to buy it to keep it working. As I had it implemented you had to buy it through Pay with Amazon, and then go to a website and enter your Pay with Amazon order number and your skill user Id. But that scheme now won't work. Likely it was a coincidence, but about a week after this idea was rejected by the cert team, they introduced the feature that every time you disabled/re-enabled a skill you got a new user ID. As to the last question, my sense is that they are planning to bring some more direct methods of monetizing skills to the skills section.
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mm-nickname answered
I have not looked into monetizing a skill, however I would have thought it would not be a problem if it was something that was handled outside of your skill, for example calls a service somewhere to find out how many credits you have, use an external app/website to buy sell items etc? Is this something that Amazon is not to keen on?
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Steve A avatar image
Steve A answered
My sense is that Amazon isn't keen on it....but I don't know what force that has. The scheme you describe, or that jjaquinta describes, seems viable and could be set up independently of anything certification checks for or requires. I was just saying that my earlier scheme no longer works, since it was a straightforward purchase model, that depended on application id (which used to preserved through disabling/enabling the skill) to track users. But, yeah, it seems that there are still way to do it. 1. Usage "credits" that you lose if you disable the skill. 2. Monthly payments that get relinquished if you disable the skill. But a scheme where you have to pay for a third party service, and then enter those credential during account linking....that's what I think Amazon wouldn't let through now. At least, that was my impression from what the cert team members said during the DevChat. I would love to know if someone has tried this in the last 3 or 4 months....
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mm-nickname answered
Ah ok cool, yeah not had any experience with this kind of model, but thanks for explaining it :)
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