Episode 51 - Deprecation Station

Episode 51 - Deprecation Station

Show Video

hello i'm mark tucker and i'm alan firstenberg welcome to two voice devs two voice devs hello ellen hey mark how's it been going it's been going great i celebrated our 50th episode we're still excited about that and still going strong yes look looking forward to seeing how many people are actually using it in um as part of the action and how many people are using other channels and getting your feedback your feedback so far has been pretty good we're uh we're encouraged yep so uh give the action a try and uh for some reason if the invocation doesn't work for you go ahead and set up a routine and start using it and giving us some feedback we'd love that thanks so uh that was great last week but we've got we've got some stuff that's coming up that could be um i mean some stuff for us that's pretty good we're celebrating one year soon yep but there's some um concerning stuff coming up for alexa shortly yeah it happens from time to time features uh get deprecated and you have to change your your voice apps uh to accommodate that in this case it has to deal with alexa and display templates um just a reminder display templates was the original screen technology that came out when the echo show first came out before that it was just cards in the alexa app and with display templates you had i think seven different templates that you could choose from just different layouts different lists views and detail views showing an image so it wasn't very you know functional as far as you know very simple um just a couple steps above cards but that technology is going away and uh end of july is the is the deadline to get your skills updated to uh to switch on over to alexa presentation uh language good old apl so yeah so if you're listening to this when we first broadcast that's like in two weeks that's when did they announce this um i received an email let me think i think it was in june like towards the end of june so um that's not a lot of time maybe it was maybe it was a month earlier but still it was it wasn't it wasn't a lot of time for me i was just trying to think of everybody else who has to go through and change their stuff if you're um you know this it's affected some of the side projects that i've worked on um like i had a game called picture guesser which was based on um apl back in you know created created in 2017 uh when the echo show first came out and it's been you know just kind of chugging away but uh if i want that skill to i still you know keep going i need to change on over to apl oh so so that was created using display templates okay yes and it and it's interesting it's a it's a tile um a picture tile game so you've got a picture that has tiles on it and you have to use your voice to uh to remove tiles because there was no tapping technology back then there were less but just interesting implementation i i in order to get the this the image which i can show with tiles to be dynamic then i had to um you know use an svg and then behind the scenes as tiles got removed then remove it on the svg call a server side to generate an image off of that svg and then show the image and the display template so so you were generating images on the server and manipulating them on the server yes so so the fact that you generated them server side reminds me a lot about the early days of the web yeah when you know we didn't have css and didn't have image layering and didn't have you know dom layering and anything like that and we were doing all sorts of image manipulation on the server side um and then we matured just like how apl is now a mature step over what we had before yeah so it's it's been a um yeah it was pushing the envelope of what uh display templates could do back then and uh i i've actually looked at a few times uh probably three or four times in the past when apl has come out i was on early beta for apl i was you know went up to amazon and was able to to kind of kick the tires of it before it was even announced and and this was the project that i was you know i chose to see how what it would take to go ahead and switch that over to apl and back in that time there were limited number of components and you know things were you know early days of apl as well and so i wasn't able to successfully get that converted over and and still it's pretty challenging layout is in apl is is still a challenge and i appreciate the the help from uh you know alexander for for helping me over the weekend uh getting my apl in ship shape ready to go so that hurdle is is over um but uh still have some back end um the the skill was created in alexa skills kit version one and you had a lot of converting that you're doing and i'm converted over to jobo version three uh and from display templates to apl and the skill also has uh in skill purchasing so it was one of the first skills that i did that uh isp so there's some not necessarily changes the way isp works but just some you know things that i've learned um over the years so um you know it's it's it's taking quite a bit of work to get it moved over and you know i've i've had some small success um on um getting you know developer rewards uh dollars and things like that in the early days um so i i'm excited about getting it converted over and and feel like it's it's time to do that and [Music] so um i'm spending the energy over this weekend uh and you know a number of nights before uh to get that converted over always always exciting when you end up having to do that i know i've had more than a couple of times when google has moved from you know dialogflow version one to dialogue flow version two to action builder and some things get changed along the way and some things get dropped along the way and you know some things get dropped and then restored in a different fashion so that's always been fun um i think one of one of the actions that i had a lot of fun with originally writing well i ended up writing in dialogue flow one and it kept running for a long time after the official deprecation end date of it and just suddenly one day it mysteriously stopped uh so i i guess somebody finally turned off the the server somewhere um and every so often i think about rewriting it and for a while the the interfaith one of the things that it did it was it was called uh how much longer and it kind of had the idea of how much longer if you're driving how much longer until you get to a certain point you know it's kind of meant for kids in the back seat to be asking this question every five minutes so it would give accurate but not always useful answers like you know it will be there in several thousand seconds accurate but not useful not so useful but it required the location api that was part of actions on google that didn't work in actions builder for a while so i never got around to pointing it over and and now i'm like oh i don't know if i really want to deal with that but yeah we've had similar issues on the google side where they just decide to stop supporting something yeah so there's and there's times where you get an announcement like this one i got a personalized email saying hey this skill is needs to be looked at because it's changing but other times you get surprises like oh the stop intent has a different meaning than it used to and now it's going to exit out of the skill as opposed to being used some other way inside the skull so those are things that are um yeah i guess don't like those surprises yeah yeah because all of a sudden something's not quite working right and you're trying to figure out what's going on and no and again we've had similar on the google side where suddenly the meaning of a fallback intent changed without notice and a lot of people were caught off guard and for a long time even after they did that the documentation about what the new semantics of a fallback intent or a no match were wasn't clearly defined and we still get people who are confused about what it's supposed to be doing so yeah changes like that can be rough to work around because you don't get clear definitions for a while i guess in some of the cases especially like with this uh apl conversion over it's it's been a lot of hours getting it done and and sometimes i wish it would have had a little bit longer runway um you know announcement as far as when things were going to be deprecated because i'm busy with a full-time job and these are projects on the side and we've got lots of other things and just trying to you know get something fixed up in a fixed time frame is uh can be uh really challenging right you know and especially even you know yes especially for hobbyists but even for professional um skills and actions you know if you're on a scheduled update cycle for things or you're in the middle of preparing for another release and suddenly you're told that something's going to be deprecated well that throws off your entire schedule and that's not always something that you can handle yeah and and also working um in an agency i know that uh a place that i worked for a number of years ago we did a number of skills that had uh display templates in it and so now going back to those same clients you know would would be challenging right in a situation and say hey this is something that's changing i guess it's an opportunity for agencies to say hey we've worked on this before this is changing it's it's a good time to to go in and do an update and let's you know let's see what else we can do so it could be an opportunity to to get some additional dollars and and and do some additional work for clients to help you know touch up their voice apps right make them current but you know as a client you know if if it's working i'm sure i always want to touch it you know yeah so that's always the dilemma that's out there is okay i need to pay how much and it's not going to do anything different than it did before it's just going to keep working yeah so that is challenging it's it's interesting though but for for the google actions i've done and for lexus skills it's these types of changes that are like really big breaking changes that require action have only come you know shown up from time to time it's it doesn't happen you know a lot um enough that it's you know it could be a headache but not a lot but when i was doing bixby development uh it's interesting that they have a little bit of a different philosophy they have their bixby studio which is tied into a server type you know platform and as you're as you're coding things get synced with the server and um and you know i i've actually had a couple of capsules that i created that have been deprecated from the the marketplace because i haven't kept up this this more frequent um update and and this you know admittedly the changes that would be required to get those capsules um you know to be maintained in the marketplace we're relatively small as well but then you have to weigh the cost of well this is um this particular capsule isn't getting a lot of usage is it worth my time to go back in and maintain it or is it you know a good time for for that just to be deprecated but there bixby has a lot uh more frequent uh cycle or where you need to maintain things before and it's also since it's also really tied to the tool it means that you need to make sure you've got the latest tools and that you've updated everything and that you know you don't suddenly now have a new problem by updating this tool and and usually i'm you know i'm sure in a more closed environment like uh bixby that's not too big a problem but you know i've certainly had issues where i've tried to update tried to do what i thought was a simple update and hours later uh i finally finished and go now now what was it why did i do this again yeah so but bixby is good though about saying hey this is a and warning status and then they give you some email uh heads up and then when it's getting closer to more you know it's time that it's you know we've got to fix it or it's going to go away uh they they do give you a heads up about that so i i do like um the approach that they've taken with that just maybe the frequency not as uh and also and also the big space credit it's a single environment so you know for the most part when you're you're updating a capsule you're also you know and updating the um the the logic part of it that's hosted there for the most part so you don't have to worry about another completely different set of things that can be deprecated you know uh is my node version on lambda or google cloud function suddenly deprecated next week yeah because that's happened to me before too well and the the cross-platform approach that i've taken with bixby does uh point to jovor on the server so i do have exactly those same types of issues like okay when i when i go back into a project it's like well what version of node is it on is what version of jovo is it running on what version of the java cli is is it running on and that has dependencies on the ask cli when it comes to deploying or if i'm using serverless to deploy then what's the version of serverless so there is you know a number of things that that that go into that and that's you know that played into a decision actually i made today my game number spies um i went ahead and deprecated that uh just removed it from this from the skill store i'm sorry to hear that yeah it's it's been a um i guess a long time in coming and trying to think about what happened i i was really excited about it when i created it i thought it was uh you know innovative and i wanted it to be an experience that it wasn't just a voice game experience but it was kind of more of a augmented reality game um type of experience where you would listen to a recording of numbers and record those and decode that and get a message and then that you could go back into the skill and and you know get points for decoding the message and that might lead you to a clue that would take you to a location which would you know so it was pretty complicated in the uh in the end and a lot of moving parts um and and it really it didn't get a lot of usage so that i don't know you know it just didn't uh turn out the way that i i imagined it was going to with with that um there were some challenges with creating content so if you wanted you'd have to you know create new messages and kind of piece together these mini mini missions that you could go on um and and putting that together even though i used a content management system that would allow me to to go in and make all these changes it was like how many hours a week should i be spending you know creating content for this for this game yeah you know as as i think we've kind of discussed and as certainly as you know um people like sarah of matchbox io talk about a lot of it really is it's the content creation it's not just creating the software it's then creating and maintaining the content after it and i think even you know we're finding that out as we're as we're deploying you know the two voice devs action is yeah our weekly podcast is the content for that but that's now you know there's a lot more to it than just recording and you know tossing it up somewhere it's the editing it's making sure the transcript works it's you know there is additional work it's indexing the transcript so that you can search on it and you know and uh it's listening to the you know it's it's checking out the comments that we see it's seeing what other what people are doing so um you know all of that content management is a lot of extra work so um i i you know it's a hard decision i understand but uh you know it's a hard decision yeah and and kind of the uh i guess the the final straw on the whole thing was is that i hadn't touched it for a long time and for some reason um it stopped working in production i don't know what the error was um so i you know did some debugging i was trying to push a new version out and like i said all these different versions of serverless and the you know different frameworks and things we're all just kind of coming against that and i've tried a number of different times you know spending multiple hours trying to push an update to it so it would it'd work and i finally got an email a couple of days ago that says hey we've noticed on the alexa skill store that number spies is having problems and we wanted to maintain high quality in the marketplace and and so if you know fix it or we're going to end up taking it down and i thought you know maybe i can um it'll be a good opportunity just to take it down kind of reevaluate what parts i liked about number spies get feedback from from the players things that they liked and maybe come back with something that's a simpler con concept that maybe has some of those elements but uh is done a little bit differently so so well here's to hoping it returns again eventually thanks yeah it's like it's a hard decision but i think it was the right decision and and it just kind of all you know uh kind of plays into this whole conversation about uh you know maintaining how do you keep these voice um experiences going going and when's the right time to to you know say goodbye uh to that experience and uh you know what uh sometimes that's a forced decision with oh we're changing technology behind the scenes and we have to do that it's either change or don't um and sometimes it's just a personal decision that this is the time to to let it go yeah no it's hard especially especially for a hobbyist and especially for a passion project that you're passionate about yeah um so yeah i understand that's a hard decision so uh i don't know is there anything else you want to talk about on this topic i think we've we've covered it pretty well so i i think the the big question i had going back to our original topic actually is how easy is it to convert you know if all you were doing was converting from a display template to apl how how hard is that uh if i was just doing that um there is some there are some tools if you go to apl ninja there's actually a they've created a display templates to apl converter for you and and there are some things um some ways that you can do it with uh apl expecting the same data structure as the json data structure that the display templates were expecting so there are if if that's all you're doing then then it should be fairly simple to do mine is a bigger change and it's kind of kind of weird in the fact that picture guesser is really a voice experience but a screen required it's not that's not the normal way that you would do things but um trying to kind of push the the boundaries and and see um see how that would work yeah see how that would work on a smart display but some of the new features you get with uh the new version of pictureguesser is that you actually get to tap the tiles and have them disappear um as opposed to just using voice but things yeah things have changed quite a bit and and on that more interactivity and and more features so that's taken a lot more work yep no i understand so yeah um i don't think we've got too much more about this so i'm i'm kind of curious to hear what other people's experiences are not just with the the display template to apl conversion but also with other conversions that we've had to do over the you know four to six seven years that we've been building these things you know what are the the upgrades that we've needed to do and what have your experience has been like so leave us feedback either in the youtube comments in your podcast comments or say hey g talk to two voice devs and leave your comment right in the episode right at the spot where we're talking about it and if you'd like if your comment is particularly insightful we will probably share it again in another episode of two voice deaths two voice steps take care ellen nice to see you mark take care everyone have a good week you

2021-07-18 02:30

Show Video

Other news