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API Services (4 posts)

If you have any smart IoT devices in your home or office and tried controlling them with Alexa, you might wonder how it actually works. In this guide you will learn about building a custom Alexa skill which will let you control a wi-fi enabled light bulb with Alexa. You will be able to turn the light on/off and change the light colors. You can see a demo of the completed project as well as an overview of its components in the video below:

The solution consists of the following components:

  • Amazon Alexa-enabled device (Amazon Echo)
  • A custom Alexa skill, which is an API service running in Backendless
  • An API service which contains the logic of controlling the light bulb
  • A wi-fi enabled light bulb, for this we used a LIFX bulb.
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This post describes the process of developing an API Service in Backendless with JavaScript. You will learn:

  • how configure your development environment
  • include NPM dependencies
  • run the service in the debug mode and test it using the Backendless console
  • deploy the service to Backendless

The service you will develop in this guide will provide APIs for controlling a LIFX wi-fi enabled light bulb. This very service is used in the article describing how to integrate Amazon Alexa with an IoT device using Backendless. This article references IntelliJ IDEA as the IDE, however, it is not required, you can use any code editor. Make sure to create a Backendless account and create an app in Backendless Cloud (the free tier or the trial option will be plenty to proceed).

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Codeless Programming is a general approach for creating programs without writing any code. When combined with the power of the Backendess mBaaS, Codeless becomes a powerful and super-efficient tool. In this post, I will describe how to use Codeless to create a custom Amazon Alexa skill. In the first part, you will develop a basic Alexa skill which replies with a static greeting to a voice command. The second post will delve into a more complex implementation.

You can see a demo of what you will build over the course of both posts in the video below:

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Backendless 4 is a powerful platform that can instantly turn your JS code into an API service. Every declared method (unless it is excluded) gets a dedicated API endpoint accessible via REST and native libraries, which Backendless automatically generates for you. As a developer, you can easily specify what the REST route must look like for every method and you can define the schema for the arguments.

Generated services can be used for multiple purposes. For example, they make it very easy to centralize the business logic for your Backendless app. IoT apps can use the services as the integration points.

Backendless Console gives you a test drive for invoking the services and inspecting requests and responses. Best of all the service code can be written and deployed right from the console. Check out the video below for an overview of Backendless API Services written in JS:

The service code shown in the video is:

Enjoy!