Review: Tellme Studio (Part I)
In addition, a companion tool grammar phrase generator generates an exhaustive/random list of phrases that are supported by a grammar. These tools may not look impressive for the simple grammar that I have used for this article, but they are really useful when you are testing a complex grammar which uses complicated constructs.
"Calling your application" - Using your phone to test your application
Okay, now you have developed your VoiceXML application (with its associated grammars) either in one of the scratchpads or as an external URL on your web/application server. How do you test it? Tellme supports multiple mechanisms for testing, the easiest and probably the one used mostly is to test your application using the toll-free number of Tellme Studio - 1-800-555-VXML and follow the instructions. A typical conversation would be something like this:
- User: Dials 1-800-555-VXML
- Tellme Studio: Tellme Studio. Developer Id?
- User: 92105 (the user says or enters the 5 digit developer id)
- Tellme Studio: PIN
- User: nnnn (the user says or enters the 4 digit PIN.
- Tellme Studio: Call number nnnn, connecting... (Tellme Studio would prompt with a different set of dialogs on error conditions such as incorrect developer id/pin combination etc.)
- Tellme Studio: (contd.) Hello World from Hitesh Seth (executes your VoiceXML application)
International users can use the corresponding non-toll-free number: (408) 678-4465. In our next week issue, as the second part of the review we will also look at how Tellme Studio supports Voice over IP, providing the ability to test telephony applications over a VoIP based telephony interface.
Record by Phone
One of the best practices that I have observed in developing VoiceXML application is to use computer generated text-to-speech in an optimal fashion. You should put an effort to record (or get professional recorded) most of the static prompts/greetings that you use in your VoiceXML application. This influences the personality to the application and a human voice typically makes the user at-home with the automated application. Typically, you would record the prompts in a "studio"-like environment with professional audio editing tools.
For prototypes or early developments, Tellme's Record by Phone utility can be very effective. It allows the developer to record the prompts interactively and then get the resulting .wav files through an email. The process is very similar to what you are used to when you configure your own Voice mail.
In nutshell, Tellme Studio--which has been available to developers since June 2000--has emerged into a very useful resource for VoiceXML application developers. In this issue, we previewed some of the tools that are available in Tellme Studio for developing and testing VoiceXML applications. Whether used in conjunction with a desktop simulation environment (if your internet connection isn't great) or as a standalone tool (if you prefer testing the changes in your application through a phone), Tellme Studio provides a productive collection of tools for the VoiceXML developer. We will conclude with our review of the Tellme Studio next week, with a detailed look at the remaining components - VoiceXML Terminal, Voice over IP support and MyExtensions.
About Hitesh Seth
Hitesh Seth is Chief Technology Evangelist for Silverline Technologies, a global eBusiness and mobile solutions consulting and integration services firm. He is a columnist on VoiceXML technology in XML Journal and regularly writes for other technology publications including Java Developers Journal and Web Services Journal on technology topics such as J2EE, Microsoft .NET, XML, Wireless Computing, Speech Applications, Web Services & Integration. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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