[Deprecated] Ask Alexa 2.1.5

Announcing version 2.1.5 of Ask Alexa

The SmartApp and sample utterances have changed in this release. However, it is always recommended that you update your Amazon developer slots after an upgrade to ensure you are capturing all of the available variables used within Ask Alexa.

PLEASE NOTE: This is rather stable now and I may not update it further unless some bugs are found. I am waiting to see if Google releases integration APIs for their new Google Home, and for Amazon to release their ‘push’ notifications. If you do have a great feature idea for this app, however, just let me know.

Other additions to this new version include:

  • Bug Fixes - The normal things…silly misspellings, logic errors, bug reports. Found a few from the prior release when I optimized the code
  • Code Optimization - Always finding better ways to do things in a shorter about of code.
  • List command for device group macros and macro groups - You can now list the devices within a device group macro or the macros included with a macro group. You will need to update your utterance file to use this command
  • REST API Shown for Macro Groups Added the ability to run a macro group remotely using a REST API. Similar to Control Macros
  • Sample Utterances - A change to accommodate the listing of certain macros

Because of the new functionality in this revision it is advised to run through the entire setup to capture everything….specifically the developer apps.

For those wishing to re-install, the instructions on the wiki have been updated:

The wiki for this app is here: http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Ask_Alexa

All of you have been great in asking very relevant questions and making suggestions that I end up using. Here are some helpful tips on usage and support:

  • Sometimes it works best if I can work real time with you. To facilitate this, I have created a Slack channel: https://askalexa.slack.com. Using this tool is easy and will allow for real-time collaboration to solve the problems faster. To use this feature, I must invite you to the Slack channel. This will not be for normal questions; please use this forum for that function.
  • The Echo, as it is designed currently, cannot react to switches opening or other actions within SmartThings. She will do things for you, but only at your direction and at the time of the request. The delay timer mentioned in the control macro happens at the SmartThings hub, not within the Amazon Alexa control. See the new Message Queue functions for similar functionality.
  • When evaluating new features I will typically ask for a valid use case. If it can be used by others to bring them value I will put it on my list of future revisions. Not all suggestions will be used and many times I add aspects of the request.
  • There are no dumb questions, but many of the questions you may have were probably answered in the past months since the initial release. Please take some time to go through the forum and the wiki if you have issues. And don’t be offended if I give you the specific area of the manual that answers your question. I have spent almost as much time on the documentation as I have on the app. Finally, there are some big fans of Ask Alexa that know almost as much as I do. They can also help.
  • Feel free to send me forks of utterances or even code revisions. As mentioned above, if it adds value to the overall program I will try to include it. This also goes for the wiki documentation…while I have spent about 120+ hours creating that document, I am open to it being improved; I know there are grammatical errors or syntax issues…If you find them, fix them…I will include your name (if I can) in any fixes submitted.
  • If you find a bug or a consistent crash please help me track it down by giving me repeatable steps to reproduce it. A non-reproducible bug, many times, indicates other areas that may be at fault besides the app. If you watch the live logging and see a red error with a line number, that is very helpful to me! However, I will need a full screenshot and not a copy/paste of the text. But be careful about revealing your OAuth and AppToken in your public posts. People can control you house with that information. May want to blur that out.

As mentioned above, revisions will be less and less now. And with the code base now unified, I expect less and less additions…especially as we integrate CoRE more to do some of the heavy lifting of larger condition-base automations… Any and all suggestions are still on the table for addition.

As always, I appreciate any public accolades or even donations to my PayPal account: https://www.paypal.me/mstruck . And, if you are so inclined, I also will accept bitcoins (or fractions thereof) if you have any laying around. My wallet ID is: 1CMgaiKgBfojTBCLpHLfa9KvcrW3cNxVpm



Hi Michael,

I’m thinking about given this a go again and trying to set it up correctly this time.

Just wondering though, I’ve move Alexa over to the UK servers, would this have any effect on it?


There are no 'UK" servers for the Lambda code. Last check I had with Amazon, your code must reside in N Virginia as that is the only datacenter to have the Alexa services running. If you mean you have hooked Alexa up to a UK Amazon account that should be fine…just the Lambda code needs to sit in the US.

I have heard many folks in the UK have this running, so good luck!

Confirmed. Installed using the excellent Wiki. It worked first time and I’m super impressed. I asked Alexa for a door report and hey presto. Top job @MichaelS, on behalf of your many new UK users. Thanks.

my lambda code resides here: ARN - arn:aws:lambda:eu-west-xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Hi Michael -

I’m getting this -

Any ideas?

So they DID set up an Alexa service in Europe? That is good news!

If this is a first time install you need to set up the items in a specific order…This is:

Intents (very top)
Slots (middle)
Utterances (bottom)

See if that works.

Looks like it! I followed the instructions but used the EU console (Ireland) and Lambda was there. Tried it and it worked second time (after I’d spotted a stupid mistake).

Very nice! Enjoy it! If you happen to see in the Amazon documentation that datacenter listed as having Alexa services please send me a link and I will update the wiki.

Here you go:

Looks to be available in:
North Virginia

but not… Peckham!

I guess your experience is proof enough, but I was looking for something in documentation that says they have expanded it. If you look here it says part way down:


Note: Lambda functions for Alexa skills must be hosted in the US East (N. Virginia) region. Currently, this is the only Lambda region the Alexa Skills Kit supports.

Then I guess I got lucky for a change!


I just changed my datacenter location and it does appear they have expanded it contrary to the documentation…Excellent!


Yep that got me past it!

Also it looks like the test is working to… Will find out if it actually works from Alexa when I get in from work :slight_smile:

Thanks once again


@deano12 you might want to remove the image above. Not sure if the token information could be used maliciously!

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Thank you!

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Just tried and its all working great. Now I need to work out how to use it correctly :slight_smile:

Anyone got any tips?

That is really up to you…toward the end of the document I did put in some use cases…It really depends on whether you want to hand your whole life over to Alexa or just use it as a backup to make tasks easier. I use mine to ensure I am in the correct mode for waking in the morning and turning lights on. For this I use a combination of IFTTT, my own talking alarm clock app, and CoRE (which integrates nicely).

There is a world of possibilities here…

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Thank you so much for you help and magic talent.
Can someone please help, I’m getting an error after trying to add the Lambda code

Error: Please make sure that “Alexa Skills Kit” is selected for the event source type of arn:aws:lambda:us-east-XXXX

Thanks again for your effort