CoinBot Part 1

Time to make a service that includes a web interface and Alexa skill.
Friday 23rd of February 2018 11:02:00 PM

Amazon rewards developers with promotional items, like t-shirt or hoodie once per month if you publish a "working" skill. I say working in quotes, because if you ask me 10% of Alexa Skills are working in the sense of actually producing useful results on more then 10% of requests. Not that my one skill published so far is revolutionary: the all mighty QuoteBot... but at least it works... i think? Now if you get more then 100 users to use your skill within the first 30 days, it seems like you could get an additional reward: an Echo Dot. Would it be easier to just buy one... yes, but where's the fun in that?

So my primary goal: get 100 users within 30 days. I asked an old college and friend of mine if he had any ideas for a Alexa Skill that might actually be useful. He had an idea right away: there are about 1 million Skills that would tell you the current price/value of different CryptoCoins, a lot of them are very limited, simply don't work and it seems like none of them are using the visual possibility of Echo Show. So good idea mr. Magnus!

Now while I am at it, why not up the ante a little by adding some additional features:

  • Favorites. Add some favorite Crypto Coins, ask for a overview of the value of those. Pretty logical. 
  • Notifications. Get notified by Alexa when a price hits a set value etc... The means to send notifications is not currently openly available to all developers on Amazon. However there seems to be a beta program, and I intent to apply for that as soon as the first Skill version is published. (Needs to be publish and have good reason to be allowed to send notifications).
  • Web interface. Make a web page that supports social login (Google, Facebook, Twitter), and make the Skill use Account Linking with the website. There a user could manage his favorites and eventually set up notifications. 

The skill is already in an early Beta version, with support for price/value check on a single Crypto Currency as well as favorites. These favorites are stored with the help of an unique Amazon user id that is generated for that skill. This way users can add and remove favorites without having to make an online account. I was thinking that the account linking and the web service would be an additional feature and not required to use the Alexa Skill itself. 

And the name of this skill/service/miracle... well it's in the title: CoinBot. I see a pattern here: lots of "bots" why bots? 

  1. It does help to add a %Bot at the end to make the name more unique. 
  2. Bots reminds me of the good old dark ages of the internet and the IRC network. We used bots for all sorts of things, and these skills reminds me of them.