In the first part of this review we took a look at the basic features of Telera DeVXchange CodeCenter, a hosted VoiceXML development environment. This week we will focus on some of the advanced features of the Studio, including the grammar verifier, outbound calling and a number of VoiceXML extensions that Telera has made around call-control. We'll also take a brief look at AppCenter, the DeVXchange application development tool for developing dynamic VoiceXML applications.
The philosophy of the Grammar Verifier tool is simple, given a grammar (either through the included scratchpad or through a URL). It validates the grammar and lets the user know if there were any errors. The Grammar verifier supports Nuance GSL style as well as the W3C XML-based grammar specification. A feature that would be nice to have (and that I would expect in future releases of CodeCenter) would be a tool which can generate GSL/XML grammars based on a set of input criteria.
Another tool available to premium CodeCenter users is the "Grammar Manager". The Grammar Manager is a web-based interface for deploying and managing grammar packages on speech recognition platforms. It stores grammars in a pre-compiled format so that they can be readily used within applications.
The idea of outbound notification (a server-side application initiates a call to an end-user and starts a VoiceXML session) has created a whole new set of application scenarios for VoiceXML. Similar to the concept of wake-up calls, using the concept we can actually build complex alert-based systems. For instance, it could alert the plant manager when a particular raw material goes down a specified limit. And because it is an interactive VoiceXML application and not just a recorded message, the plant manager can actually interact with the system to find the best supplier and actually order the product as well.
Outbound Notification is invoked through a URL, with the following syntax:
The key parameters of the Notification URL include
|token||User data that needs to be passed to the application.|
|outboundno||The number to be called|
|failureurl||URL of the application that you would like to start when the call is not-successful.|
|url||URL of the application that you would like to start when the URL is not available.|
AppBuilder is a desktop-based Visual VoiceXML server-side application generation environment. If you have worked in the world of IVR applications, you would find this tool very similar. The focus of the tool is not really to provide a rich VoiceXML-based editor environment, but rather to generate the underlying dynamic scripting code in VoiceXML 1.0. Based on the environment selection, AppBuilder generates dynamic server-side code in Java Server Pages (JSP) or Active Server Pages (ASP).
The figure below shows a simple menu-based dialog built using the visual tool. The bottom window shows the VoiceXML dynamically generated. AppBuilder runs on top of Windows NT/2000 platforms and requires either Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0/5.0 and/or a JSP/Servlet engine such as Apache Tomcat (included with the installation).