Review: IBM WebSphere Voice Toolkit
One of the best practices in early VoiceXML application development is to keep synthesized Text-to-Speech minimum. Instead pre-recorded prompts for dialog introductions provide personality to the application. For integrated development of audio prompts, Voice Toolkit, includes a pretty basic audio recorder (shown below) which allows a developer to record/edit .au/.wav based audio prompts which can be used for development and later for deployment.
Voice Application Debugger
Your VoiceXML application is as rich/good as the grammar it supports. Grammar development and testing is also perhaps the most difficult and also most important part in the development of VoiceXML applications. A number of grammar formats are being used by VoiceXML gateways and hosted voice portals including JSGF (Java Speech Grammar Format), BNF (Backus-Naur Form), XML based grammar formats etc. IBM WebSphere Voice Toolkit supports development, testing and inter-conversion of JSGF and BNF based grammars. Two important functions included in the toolkit around grammar development include a wizard for generation of possible utterances (screenshot) and another for testing a grammar (shown below) with any text/speech based utterances. Some features that I would like to see in the next version around this functionality would be a visual (graph-like) representation of the grammar and support for the upcoming XML based grammar specification.
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