Your First Skill

Creating your first skill

For this we will still be going over the Hello World Skill from Github: Hello World Skill


When creating the skill, you need to start by importing the proper libraries for use in skills.

from os.path import dirname

from adapt.intent import IntentBuilder
from mycroft.skills.core import MycroftSkill
from mycroft.util.log import getLogger

dirname is used so that the class knows what files are in the current directory. Specifically, this is so that it can access the .dialog and .vocfiles. IntentBuilder is used to register your new "intent", which is how Mycroft interprets what you say to determine what to do. A single skill can have many intents. For example, the Hello World skill has three intents. MycroftSkill is the class that your skill will inherit from. getLogger is a wrapper for the python logging object that is used to log errors or relevant information.

You can then put your name as the __author__ variable and create a logger for use in debugging. In the Hello World skill, this looks like

__author__ = 'eward'

LOGGER = getLogger(__name__)

Creating the class

You then declare the class as inheriting from MycroftSkill and declare its various member functions.

In the hello world skill, the general outline looks like

class HelloWorldSkill(MycroftSkill):
    def __init__(self):

    def initialize(self):

    def handle_thank_you_intent(self, message):
    def stop(self):

def create_skill():
    return HelloWorldSkill()

Each of these functions does something different.


This is the constructor for the class, called when a new object is created. In it you should call the constructor of the MycroftSkill class using super and initialize any member variable to the values you need. In the Hello World skill, this looks like

def __init__(self):
        super(HelloWorldSkill, self).__init__(name="HelloWorldSkill")


This is where you build each intent you want to create. For the Hello World skill, this looks like

def initialize(self):
    thank_you_intent = IntentBuilder("ThankYouIntent").\
    self.register_intent(thank_you_intent, self.handle_thank_you_intent)

This creates an intent named thank_you_intent that requires a ThankYouKeyword, which is one of the phrases in the ThankYouKeyword.voc files. You can also require defined regex entities, such as Location in the regex example. It then registers that the function handle_thank_you_intent is what should be called if the ThankYouKeyword is found. All of the other intents are registered in the same way.


This is where you tell Mycroft to actually do what you want him to do. This can range from something like a call to an API to opening an application. In the Hello World skill, each intent simply tells Mycroft to speak from the dialog file..

def handle_thank_you_intent(self, message):

This simply tells Mycroft to randomly select one of the pieces of dialogue from the welcome.dialog file and speak it. In your skill, you can include as many ways of phrasing what he says as you want.

Note that in most Mycroft skills, the handle_intent function will include an API call or something else with a potential failure case, so it is best to enclose what you want to run in a try/except block. Note also that it always takes two arguments, self and message, even if you never use message.


This function is used to determine what Mycroft does if stop is said while this skill is running. In the Hello World skill, since Mycroft is saying simple phrases, the stop function just contains the word pass:

def stop(self)

The keyword pass does nothing when executed. It is simply used when code is required syntactically but you do not want any code to run. For an example of a skill that uses the stop function, look at the NPR News skill.


This is outside of the class definition, and is used to actually create a skill object when the script is called.

The Test folder and Intents

Intents translate sentance structure into machine code, in this case, JSON files. These live within the Test folder of your skill structure.

NOTE: We are still working on testing capabilities in order to create more robust skills.

Creating intents

Intent tests take the form of an .intent.json file with a structure inside that determines whether a particular intent is found. Take a look at the first test file, sample1.intent.json in the Hello World skill.

  "utterance": "Thank you",
  "intent_type": "ThankYouIntent",
  "intent": {
    "ThankYouKeyword": "thank you"

utterance: This is the sample phrase that you would say to Mycroft, and that should trigger your intents. intent_type: This is the type of intent that should be found in your sample utterance. intent: In this structure, you should list each keyword defined by your skill that should be found in the utterance.