VoiceWeblog Support for Avantgo and VoiceXML

Weblog Support for Avantgo and VoiceXML

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With the addition of Avantgo and VoiceXML, I’ve finally completed
what I believe to be a strong baseline
of output formats for Weblog. With version 1.72, Weblog is now
capable of outputting RSS 0.9, RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0, VoiceXML, Avantgo
HTML, Palm Clipping HTML, WML for WAP phones, and HTML. Other
formats that are still in the works are OCS, CDF, and XUL. Read below
for more info on the new formats.

Also, keep your eye
on Mother of Perl, because next week, I will begin a series of
articles that discusses each of the non-HTML output formats in
detail, which will enable you to tweak the output templates to
meet your needs.

For instructions on installing Weblog and for a general
background on what a Weblog is, see my last tutorial at


VoiceXML is an XML format used for developing interactive voice response
systems (IVR). You’re probably used to using these applications on
the phone with your bank and credit card companies. A consortium of
technology companies developed an XML grammar for this type of application. There
are several vendors that support VoiceXML including Nuance, SpeechWorks,
IBM, and Tellme.com.

What you do with the VoiceXML file is up to you. A basic template is
included that was tested with the Tellme.com
service. Tellme.com is
a free service that gives your users toll-free access to your voice application.
They also include a great set of online testing tools that let you
test your VoiceXML file online and over the phone. Best of all, it’s
free! If you’re interested in exploring a voice-enabled version of
your Weblog, I’d recommend signing up with them. Alternatively,
there’s a decent list of vendors in the VoiceXML spec itself
located @ http://www.w3.org/TR/voicexml/. I have several Weblogs that will be using the Tellme.com service,
including Mother of Perl, and am experimenting with
Open Source alternatives as well. If you’re interested in the
commercial application of voice technology, contact me @


The Perl Weblog also builds a simple HTML version of the RSS file for Avantgo
users. Avantgo is a free service that allows PDA users to download
Web pages to their local device to be viewed offline. The nice thing about
Avantgo is that it allows you to support a wider range of PDA devices including
Windows CE for example. Plus, users do not have to be on-line to view their
content. This is another option in addition to the Palm Clipping output format,
which allows Palm users to view dynamic pages from your Weblog.

Typically, you will want to add an Avantgo button to your homepage that alerts
users to the fact that they can add a channel for your Web site to their
PDA account. Directions are included on the Avantgo developer site on how
to register your channel and include a link or graphic to your Web site that
automatically adds the channel to a users Avantgo account when they click
on it.

The Avantgo output format is in fact almost identical to the Palm output
format. One reason why I created a separate output for it is because you
will probably want to have different information for avantgo users than
Palm users. With Avantgo, you can typically include large sections of
Avantgo-friendly HTML in the avantgo/ subdirectory for users to download
whereas the Palm wireless users will be expecting smaller pages because
of the slow download speed of the wireless modems.


I would like to solicit feedback from those of you who are using
Weblog successfully. What features would you like to see in future
versions? I’d also like to hear if you have problems installing
the software. Send feedback to

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