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Persistent data in the Alexa Skills nodejs SDK

February 05th, 2017 @ 0:59

I recently started use the Alexa Skills Kit SDK for nodejs to write an Amazon Alexa skill. I ran into one rather silly roadblock, which I will now share so others can avoid.

This SDK handles persisent data (with the same session and across sessions) by providing an attributes property on the skill handler (accessed by this.attributes). My problem was that sometimes properties I set on this object were apparently completely ignored by the next request (even if I kept the session open with an this.emit(":ask", ...) response). It is perhaps obvious in hindsight, but you must make all your changes to this.attributes before calling emit, as emit will immediately and synchronously prepare and send the response to Alexa, including the attributes you're trying to persist into the next session. But it took me quite some time to figure this out.