Welcome!

Foreword

Litexa is an Alexa Skill domain specific language, runtime and toolchain.

It primarily aims for brevity in describing the back and forth conversational style of interaction that defines voice skills. This is done through custom syntax and flow control that is aligned to Alexa Skill concepts like intents, utterances, and slots, paired with a runtime that standardizes useful boilerplate like state management. A Litexa code file should contain only the inputs and outputs that make your skill unique.

Litexa was born in sunny California to the Alexa Games team. This team is tasked with creating games on Alexa, and then sharing their learnings and technology with the wider developer community. We developed Litexa over the course of 2018 while publishing over 20 games, and continue to use it today. We hope you come to find it as nurturing an environment as we do!

On White Space and Comments

Litexa is a "white space dependent" language, like python or CoffeeScript, as opposed to a bracketed one like C++ or JavaScript. If you're unfamiliar with this concept here's a quick primer.

The white space, the spaces and or tabs, to the left of each line of code matters, and is used to group chunks of related code together.

This is statement 1
  This statement is subordinate to statement 1
  This statement is the same, let's call it X
    This statement is subordinate to X
  This statement is back to belonging to statement 1
This statement is subordinate to no one

Note how the left edges of statements that belong together line up. You may choose to use spaces or tabs as your white space character, but whichever you choose you must stay consistent: each subsequent line that is intended to belong together must begin with the exact same white space characters.

Most modern text editors intended for code will help you maintain that left edge automatically.

You can leave notes to yourself, comments, by using the # symbol. Any text in a line of code after that symbol is ignored by the language.

# anything past that symbol is just ignored

say "Hello There" # even when it's on a line with code

On Editor Support

The team uses Visual Studio Code and JetBrains for development. If you're a Visual Studio Code user, we're more than happy to share the same VS Code extension we use here. This extension adds syntax highlighting for .litexa code files.

For other editors, we recommend extending your coffeescript syntax highlighting to include *.litexa files. However, any modern editor that can handle auto-indenting consecutive lines of code should work just fine.

Psst, we're a 2 spaces tribe, but we won't hold your white space preferences against you.

For more information go to Editor Support.

Why Litexa?

Litexa is a portmanteau of "Literate" as in literate programming and "Alexa". We chose it to remind ourselves that our north star is a programming language that favors the programmer's comfort over the code's.

Also, we just think it's fun to say.