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VoiceXML Developer Tools Roundup

  • December 31, 2002
  • By Hitesh Seth
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Key Selection Criteria

If you are selecting a VoiceXML Application development/testing tool for your next VoiceXML project there are a couple of selection criteria that you should focus on: (note: depending on which category of tool that you are evaluating, not all of them may be applicable, for instance if you are only evaluating hosted development environments, typical IDE features are not available)

  1. Standards Support: Look for latest support of standards, particularly VoiceXML (1.0/2.0)
  2. Support for grammar formats: I would recommend looking for support for W3C XML grammar format and/or Nuance GSL.
  3. Access Mechanism: Real phone-based access (800/International numbers), text based simulator, Voice Over IP
  4. IDE Features: Source Code Control, Project Management etc.
  5. Visual Call Flow Modeling
  6. Reusable Components
  7. Grammar Development Tools - formats supported, generation wizards, phrase testing tools
  8. Call Debugging/Replay
  9. Call Log/Tracing
  10. Support for Deployment
  11. Pre-built Application Templates

Conclusion

The VoiceXML-based speech application development/deployment landscape is still maturing and I believe complete end-to-end tools are yet to emerge. However, it is pretty clear that a significant number of tools have emerged to accelerate the development of VoiceXML Applications. Even though these tools are probably not as mature as the web application development tools, a number of desktop-based tools have leveraged the advances and features of web tools. An excellent example is IBM's WebSphere Voice Toolkit, which is really a plug-in to the popular Eclipse application development platform. As far as hosted VoiceXML application tools, I particularly like BeVocal, Tellme, VoiceGenie and Voxeo environments. From a recommendation perspective, I don't think one size fits all applies here. Typically, I would recommend to choose a combination of a hosted VoiceXML Platform and a desktop development tool which are compatible with each other.

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. Feel free to email any comments or suggestions about the articles featured in this column at hks@hiteshseth.com.





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