Introduction

During week 9 at Hack reactor, it was my turn to do a 5-minute presentation for our cohort.  I've had an Amazon Echo for many months and have always wanted to build an Alexa Skill for it.  I decided to live build a basic Alexa Skill for my presentation, and I did so by using an AWS Lambda function.  It was really, really cool and super easy to set up.  I got pretty excited about the possibilities for building a serverless application, so I thought I would post a very basic intro to this service. 

What is AWS Lambda?

The above video is a great basic introduction to the service.  Watch it before moving on!

Why is AWS Lambda awesome?

Lambda functions are awesome.  They are small containers of code which respond to events and run.  Resources are automatically managed by Amazon.  Lambda's are very low cost and provide an awesome way to set up a serverless app architecture.  You can compartmentalize your code into several lambda functions and get an app up and running quickly, with a very scalable solution.  Lambda's also offer detailed analytics.  Still don't believe these things are awesome?  Check out the use case below:

Lambda Use Case: Building an Alexa Skill 

I found this video to be a valuable resource in learning how to build a quick Alexa Skill.  I was planning to make my own video of an Alexa Skill build, but this tutorial is so good I am going to lean on it as a resource for this article.  I have built a couple of skills now and may record a video how-to in a future article, but for now this one is awesome:

Now go build- and get free socks (and an Amazon Echo)! 

Now that you have seen how simple it is to build something with Lambda, go build!  You should totally build an Alexa Skill and submit it to Amazon to get a free pair of dev socks (and an Echo Dot).  This promotion ends on July 31, 2017.  Even if you don't have an Echo device, you can still build a skill and test it with Amazon's Echo Simulator.  I bet you could build an awesome skill right now and still have time to order pizza and re-watch last week's Game of Thrones episode before the new one airs tonight!

-Doug

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