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Voice XML opens up new opportunities for integrating voice into service oriented architectures.

It's been fun summer, exploring the ins and outs of VoiceXML for a series of articles I've just completed for InformIT (see links below). What interesting about Voice XML is that it fits so nicely into the XML-based mashup world that's responsible for much of what's happening in the Web 2.0 space. There are several things I really like about Voice XML.

  • It's XML!  -- the basis web services and SOA.
  • Voice synthesis technology has improved to the point where the disembodied voice on the other end sounds pretty darned good.
  • It's easy to get started. Voxeo has a developer site where you can set up (for free!) an account and get your own personal phone number to call to test your voice dialogs.
  • The companion technology CCXML (Call Control XML) let's you trigger a phone call that can be linked to a Voice XML dialog.
  • It's possible to reach out to a server using HTTP GET or POST, and seamlessly load a new Voice XML dialog, generated dynamically on the server, based some data obtained from the user.

What all this means is that Voice XML (and CCXML) can play in the same REST-ful space that has enabled simple, powerful mashups. Now that a new academic year is beginning at SMU (where I teach) I'm setting up a servlet for my Java class that will automatically run JUNIT tests against uploaded code, and display test results in the browser. With a bit of CCXML and VoiceXML, it should be fairly painless to trigger a phone call where my disembodied TA gives them some helpful hints about their assignment.

Links to articles in the series. Part 1 Introduction. Part 2 Forms. Part 3 Grammars

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