Month / April, 2016

App of the Month 3: Journal 3

Well then, I’ve been especially terrible this month about updating everyone on my status. So bad in fact, I missed the announcement of having successfully completing the app and submitting to Amazon for review. Let’s do just that then.

I completed my simple Alexa Skill last week and submitted to Amazon for review. The skill does exactly what I said I wanted — users can submit six word stories and listen to other stories that other users have submitted. In that way, this was a successful project for this month.

However, the app got rejected. Turns out I did a terrible job actually going through the documented steps for submission and missed some extremely simple testing steps to ensure the skill would pass review. As such, the skill got rejected. Thankfully though, Amazon’s review process provides an extremely detailed rejection email with exactly what parts of the review failed. This includes the actions taken along with the resulting errors. Without this, I probably would have just shrugged my shoulders and claimed the project a half success. With this email though, I took the time today to fix those errors and resubmit the skill.

Looking back, probably the most interesting part of the skill was that I used node.js to write both the Amazon Lambda skill part and also the back end service that I have running on a DigitalOcean virtual server. This was the first “real” project I’ve ever written using Javascript, let alone node. It turned out to be not too terrible a process. Probably the worst part is that for some reason I cannot SFTP into my virtual server so I could not connect my instance of PhpStorm and use the IDE. This meant I resorted to using Vim and some basic syntax highlighting plugins to try and get things done. That turned out to be pretty okay and I may keep trying to get better at Vim; but, I will continue to try and figure out why I cannot get SFTP to work. If I can do that, then I’m sure working on future web projects will be even better.