Amazon Alexa integration for Drupal 8: benefits and tips
What if websites could be interactive enough to literally hear your customers’ voices, talk to them, and fulfill their wishes? Easy! It’s now possible with modern services like Amazon Alexa. Interaction with them will be especially smooth if your website is built with Drupal 8, because great third-party integration capabilities are among Drupal 8’s main benefits. Today, we will discuss Amazon Alexa integration with Drupal 8 sites.
Amazon Alexa and its benefits
Alexa is a smart voice service that comes from the Amazon Echo family of interactive products. This awesome voice assistant is capable of so many things like making to-do-lists, setting alarms, e-shopping, checking weather forecasts or traffic situations, being part of a smart house systems, and more — the sky’s the limit.
Like everyone who is smart, Alexa has skills. Particular skills can be created in “Alexa Skills” at Amazon according to your particular ideas.
Alexa definitely loves communication! This includes not only voice interaction, but also awesome integration capabilities with various devices and web resources. Alexa has great APIs for that.
Integrating Amazon Alexa with your Drupal website will offer your customers an awesome voice experiences that will keep them engaged. This will also help you stand out against your competitors.
Without leaving their comfortable chairs or while continuing their household chores, your website’s users can ask Alexa to guide them through your website’s content. For example, they can ask Amazon Alexa to announce the latest items in your catalog, order your products, read out your new blog posts, start playing your videos, and much more.
Drupal founder Dries Buytaert describes an amazing example of Alexa integration. This smart voice assistant helped cook salmon. Alexa gave the user a salmon recipe from a grocery website, adjusted the amount of ingredients to fit eight people instead of four, heated the oven, and more. The user only asked a series of simple voice questions.
Amazon Alexa integration with Drupal 8 websites
In the above example by Dries, a special Drupal module for Alexa integration was used. It is called Alexa, appropriately, and provides an endpoint for Drupal to receive requests from Alexa Skills. Verbal commands are converted into text strings and sent to this endpoint.
The module is still in its development state. However, considering it is a hot trend, we should expect updates to it.
According to the module’s maintainers, it offers just basic integration. It will be necessary to create an additional custom module to help your Drupal 8 website respond to custom Alexa skills. The Alexa demo module is included as an example. The module’s maintainers also plan event integration and other enhancements.
Steps for integrating Alexa with Drupal 8
The integration process can be roughly described with these steps:
- making sure your Drupal 8 website is available online and uses HTTPS
- installing and enabling the Alexa Drupal module on your Drupal website
- creating a new Alexa skill in Alexa Skills Kit at https://developer.amazon.com from your Amazon account
- copying the Application ID that Amazon provides to you in “Skill information” and then submitting it to your Drupal site’s Configuration
- configuring the Alexa skill in Alexa Skills Kit (setting up an Invocation Name that users have to pronounce to call the skill, creating custom commands aka “intents” in the Interaction Model, and more)
- creating an additional custom Drupal 8 module for responses
- testing the result with the help of the Test tab at https://developer.amazon.com
Not only Amazon Alexa, but WishDesk can also listen to you and fulfill your wishes ;) You can tell us about your wishes in any way you like: talk to us or drop us a line.
Any wishes — from seamless Amazon Alexa integration for your Drupal 8 website to building a new site from scratch — will be easily fulfilled by our website development team!