January 26, 2021
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Review: Voxeo Community

  • By Hitesh Seth
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Application Monitoring & Debugging

Probably the most important aspect of the "Application Insight" tool is the Monitor/Debug page. By default, it shows the currently executing log and debugging statements for the current call, if the call has been made into the mapped phone number. Alternatively, the virtual phone provided by the tool allows the developer to simulate a call (which uses the SIP protocol underneath) and then the user can type in the responses for the speech recognition interface in the "interpret" window. One remarkably different aspect of the tool is that it doesn't matter whether you are testing the application from a real phone or from a SIP based phone--you get the same logging & debugging interface. The tool also provides a neat step-by-step debugging interface which allows the developer to review the variable stack trace and review the application accordingly. To be able to utilize the soft-phone features you definitely would need to be outside the firewall. Even though the tool is in beta stage, I found it to be pretty stable, however, one of the issues that Voxeo needs work on is to add context sensitive help to the application.

Voxeo Designer

Voxeo Designer is a visual application design tool which allows VoiceXML developers to use a flowchart-based visual tool to develop VoiceXML applications. Designer (shown below) is a "Pure Java"-based IDE, however, the current installer is only available for Microsoft Windows. Voxeo newsgroups do include a workaround for installing it on Unix platforms. Designer includes features such as round-trip development (i.e. you can open an existing VoiceXML file or create a VoiceXML file), validation and support for FTP/HTTP for reading and writing documents. The current version (2.0 beta) supports Voxeo's CallXML Tags and has beta support for VoiceXML 1.0. Voxeo Designer can be used for creating VoiceXML-based mockup applications, using the generated VoiceXML code as a template for a dynamic JSP/ASP/ASP.NET/PHP/Perl etc. serverside-based application. The visual layout and flow modeling aspect and the context-sensitive VoiceXML palette were particularly useful. It would really be helpful if the Designer could support the latest standards; for instance VoiceXML 1.0 beta support has been there for quite some time. Also, the tool should have "wizard-based" basic grammar development as well. One of the other issues I had with the tool is that it seemed to generate a couple of designer specific processing instructions directly within the template. These processing instructions are used to store the coordinates of the actual visual elements that are used to represent those particular elements. This information shouldn't be stored in the VoiceXML file itself, but should rather be stored either in a properties file or some kind of project specification file. The ability to group a bunch of VoiceXML documents within the Designer would also be a feature that would be useful.

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This article was originally published on October 28, 2002

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