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I have followed the tutorial from Amazon to get started with the Echo. I made a skill and setup an application server on their AWS Lambda for basic testing.

I have a few questions about the Echo, skills and AWS Lambda:

When I create a skill does it reside on the Echo itself or does the echo have to go out to the internet and retrieve it? If it goes out to the internet, is there any way I can develop a skill and store it locally on the Echo? (I don't want the Echo to use the internet).

The last part to the process for answering and processing a vocal command by the echo is an application server, usually AWS Lambda provided by Amazon. What do I need to setup an application server on the LAN? (I don't want the Echo to use the internet). I understand they had a software called JAWS(now serverless-serve) but I feel like I'm missing something else.

I also see I'm able to export an AmazonMachineImage. Does this mean I can set it up on my own VM? Or is it for AWS only?

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When I create a skill does it reside on the Echo itself or does the echo have to go out to the internet and retrieve it?

The code driving the skill is hosted either as a Lambda function (in which case it resides in AWS' infrastructure), or as a REST endpoint hosted on your own infrastructure.

...is there any way I can develop a skill and store it locally on the Echo? (I don't want the Echo to use the internet).

No, your Echo always uses the public Internet for communication. Even if you were able to host your Skill's code on infrastructure local to your network, Amazon's systems must act as an intermediary for authentication, voice parsing, and so on. Not to mention that the only way to load a Skill on to your device is via the Alexa Store (or, in during development, through the Amazon Developer Console).

I understand they had a software called JAWS(now serverless-serve) but I feel like I'm missing something else.

JAWS (now called serverless) is a scaffolding tool and framework that helps you deploy code to Lambda, API Gateway, and DynamoDB. It's scope is a little more broad than what one requires to build a simple Alexa Skill.

You might be interested in alexa-app, a simple Javascript abstraction which is simpler to use than Amazon's Alexa API. (Full disclosure, I'm a maintainer of alexa-app).

  • Thank you! That pretty much answered my questions. I will look into REST and the alexa-app you posted. – allegory Jan 12 '16 at 18:09

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