isVHSopen Voice App - Google Home / Alexa


Hi all,

I recently got a Google Home mini and since, have been obsessed with how well it fits between other modes of input. I enjoyed the experience so much that I attended a Voice App design workshop, and learned about Voice UI to start building my own.

Imo building a Voice App to figure out when VHS is open rather than going to the website every time would be epic. I’m hoping to connect with folks who are already playing around with Voice apps, or have a fairly robust coding background and are interested in building Voice Apps for Google Home/Alexa.

Also, please lmk if you have someone in mind that I should connect with. The idea is simple - when the user asks to connect/talk to “IsVHSOpen” (or “invoke phrase”), the code in backend reads state from / and expresses the value/state out loud. We’d be using + Dialogflow for Google and AWS + Alexa Dev Console for Alexa.

To reiterate, I have a fair understanding of Voice UI, and am familiar with the tools/ platforms in use, but am not from a coding background, so would prefer to collab with someone who has experience there.

Hope to hear the community’s input. Give the post a :+1: if you think it’s a productive + good idea.



Cool idea!

I’d name it something other than isVHSopen for the sake of the utterance. “Alexa, ask isVHSopen if VHS is open” is awkward. Maybe just name the Skill VHS and name the trigger “Are you open” so the full utterance is more narural: “Alexa, ask VHS are you open” or make the trigger “if it’s open”. Also integrate isthelaserfree :stuck_out_tongue:


Not married to the invoke name, will probably use something that more suitable for invocation once in dev. Currently interested in talking with someone who can point me in the right direction in terms of execution of the concept. Lmk if that’s you :wink:


I’ll probably end up helping with this, since we are so close with it, but you should keep going with it! I’ve been in nginx hell the last day :slight_smile: just trying to set up a test environment…

Other ideas that would be good would be to integrate with the calendar. Let it tell you what’s happening tonight, etc.


Thanks Mike, that’d be dope. I agree integrating with GCalendar would be a good way to show us the info but not sure how Google Home will react and respond to being asked about it. I’ve spent all day yesterday and today trying to mess with Actions on Google along with the local version of to try and build a native voice app with webhooks that will resolve the query once the skill is invoked. Let’s see where I land :slight_smile:


I got an Echo recently and started looking at what it takes to make a basic Skill, bu I’m definitely your guy (yet?) I may take this as a great learning project of my own that I can work on at my own speed, but too many plates in the air right now


@TyIsI, is still a valid data source for this?


totally know what that feels like, i’d say we’re in the same boat :3 Alexa definitely has more resources and walkthrough videos to help out lmk how the project progresses :slight_smile:


If the api link above is is still valid, and i believe it is, then the most basic version would be to check that and simply read it as “VHS is %value%”

EDIT: The way to do it will be to download and parse this:
EDIT2: like so:


Working code to ask “Alexa, ask V H S if they are open” and she will reply with “[Yes|No] VHS has been [open|closed] [since [%time% this %daypart% | yesterday | x days ago | last week | Barry messed with the timeline] | for quite a while]”

example output:

Yes, VHS has been open since five this evening
No, VHS has been closed since eleven this morning
No, VHS has been closed since yesterday
No, VHS has been closed since 4 days ago
No, VHS has been closed since last week
No, VHS has been closed for quite a while

Code is being run in an AWS lambda function. It passes all build tests and runs fine in the Alexa simulator, but I haven’t figured out how to actually get my echo to use it :stuck_out_tongue:


Damn dude, that’s way farther than I ever got ahaha. I’m sure you must have published it by now, if not I can send you a link on how to publish an Alexa skill :angel:


TBH, I haven’t even looked at it since that night. I’m terrible at getting to the point of proodnof concept and moving on, but this week has been super busy for me.


Are you at VHS this week? I think i made a little progress, but not enough was hoping to lean on your know-how a bit, if you’re available. :slight_smile:


I don’t really ever go to the space. I’m out of town the rest of this week, but perhaps towards the end of next week I could come down. I don’t really have any experience of value though.


No worries, hmu on slack when you’re planning to swing by. 2 brains might be better than one :smiley: