Review: GetVocal SDK
GetVocal SDK is an integrated VoiceXML editor/simulator that enables the creation and testing of VoiceXML based applications. Built on top of Microsoft Speech Recognition technologies (Microsoft TTS and ASR engines), the SDK supports the latest VoiceXML 2.0 specifications (including the XML based Grammar formats). An evaluation copy of the SDK is available from the GetVocal website.
The SDK supports a variety of operating systems, including Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 & Windows XP. The installation program, which is based on the Windows Installer, is pretty straight forward. Since the SDK utilizes Microsoft TTS & ASR engines, Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1 is a key requirement for the installation and must be installed prior to its installation.
(click on the image to see a large view)
Creation of new VoiceXML content is done through a VoiceXML Application Wizard which sets up the basic speech recognition parameters, such as support for DTMF/Voice input modes, support for barge-in, wait time for user response, confidence level of the ASR, sound sensitivity, recognition accuracy, timeout intervals, terminating character for DTMF entry, etc. In the background this process creates a set of property elements in the VoiceXML content and is used in the actual execution in the SDK/gateway.
After the basic VoiceXML file has been generated using the code generator (which is based on the context sensitive menu), the user can build on the VoiceXML content using various VoiceXML elements.
Once the VoiceXML application (including the grammars) have been developed, the SDK can then be used to test the application. The SDK provides features such as a virtual phone pad, debug mode with steps and breakpoints, variable watches and a runtime tag highlighter to aid in the testing/debugging of the VoiceXML application. On the other hand, if you have developed a server side application using technologies such as Java Server Pages (JSP), ASP/ASP.NET or Perl/PHP, the SDK provides you with the ability to test a remote HTTP based VoiceXML Application as well.
Standalone VoiceXML Editor
As part of the installation program two shortcuts are created - one which links to the main SDK (which we saw earlier) and the second which is just the editor. The standalone VoiceXML Editor (shown below), provides a simplified tool for just editing VoiceXML files. It is the same editor used by the SDK and has features such as color syntax highlighter and tag shortcut keys.