Review: Oracle 9iAS Mobile Studio (Part II), Page 2
Device/Channel Specific Customizations
While building multi-channel applications, we are faced with a difficult challenge: building applications that work on a wide variety of devices, browsers and delivery mediums. Even though the overall goal is to build a channel independent application, in a number of scenarios we are faced with situations where we do need to provide device/channel specific extensions for enhancing the user experience. To accommodate device specific customizations, Oracle Mobile Studio provides a "deviceclass" attribute which can be optionally included to provide device specific functionality. The deviceclass attribute can take any combination of the following values: pdabrowser, pcbrowser, voice, microbrowser, micromessenger and messenger. For instance, VoiceXML provides the ability to play recorded audio instead of synthesized prompts using Text to Speech (TTS) technology. Using the deviceclass attribute, a SimpleAudio tag can be inserted in a user interface to play a prompt (as shown below).
Dynamically Generation of Oracle Mobile Multi-Channel XML Pages
In the examples so far, we have used statically created multi-channel XML pages. Similar to a wide variety of server-side scripting technologies (such as Java Server Pages (JSP), Active Server Pages (ASP)/ASP.NET, Perl), PHP can be used to deliver VoiceXML applications. They can be used in the same fashion to deliver the multi-channel XML device-independent pages as well. For instance, shown below is a very simple JSP-based dynamic Employee lookup application.
The above JSP, when executed in a server side application server (such as Apache Tomcat, BEA Weblogic or IBM WebSphere) would result in an output similar to this.
Based on the simple scenarios that we have seen earlier in this review, it is clear that there is a lot value in a multi-channel framework which can provide the ability to build applications which work with multiple scenarios and devices. The biggest advantage is that enterprise developers can build applications using a device-independent mechanism and use the features and functionality that are provided to deliver and maintain different device and channel renditions.
If we do use such a framework, we need to acknowledge that we are going to be building wireless/mobile applications using the specified schema and not the VoiceXML/WML/cHTML markup itself. For instance, for developing applications using Oracle 9iAS Mobile Studio, we need to use the tags specified in the mobile XML Schema. The good thing is that currently there are initiatives underway which attempt to standardize these tags as a multi-channel schema. One of those initiatives is the W3C XForms activity, which has trigged a lot of interest thus far.
About Hitesh Seth
A freelance author and known speaker, Hitesh is a
columnist on VoiceXML technology in XML Journal and regularly writes for other
technology publications including Java Developer's Journal, Web Services
Journal and The Computer Bulletin on emerging technology topics such as J2EE, Microsoft .NET, XML, Wireless
Computing, Speech Applications, Web Services & Enterprise/B2B Integration. He is the
conference chair for VoiceXML
Planet Conference & Expo. Hitesh received his
Bachelors Degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK), India.
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