origins of VoiceXML began in 1995 as an XML-based dialog design language intended
to simplify the speech recognition application development process within an AT&T
project called Phone Markup Language (PML). As AT&T reorganized, teams at
AT&T, Lucent and Motorola continued working on their own PML-like languages.
In 1998, W3C hosted a conference on voice browsers. By this time, AT&T and
Lucent had different variants of their original PML, while Motorola had developed
VoxML, and IBM was developing its own SpeechML. Many other attendees at the conference
were also developing similar languages for dialog design; for example, such as
HP's TalkML and PipeBeach's VoiceHTML.
The VoiceXML Forum was then formed by AT&T, IBM, Lucent, and Motorola to pool
their efforts. The mission of the VoiceXML Forum was to define a standard dialog
design language that developers could use to build conversational applications.
They chose XML as the basis for this effort because it was clear to them that
this was the direction technology was going.
In 2000, the VoiceXML Forum released VoiceXML 1.0 to the public. Shortly thereafter,
VoiceXML 1.0 was submitted to the W3C as the basis for the creation of a new international
standard. VoiceXML 2.0 is the result of this work based on input from W3C Member
companies, other W3C Working Groups, and the public.
is designed for creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized
audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF key input, recording of spoken input, telephony,
and mixed initiative conversations. Its major goal is to bring the advantages
of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.
are two short examples of VoiceXML. The first is the venerable "Hello World":
top-level element is <vxml>, which is mainly a container for dialogs. There
are two types of dialogs: forms and menus. Forms present information and gather
input; menus offer choices of what to do next. This example has a single form,
which contains a block that synthesizes and presents "Hello World!"
to the user. Since the form does not specify a successor dialog, the conversation
example asks the user for a choice of drink and then submits it to a server script:
you like coffee, tea, milk, or nothing?</prompt>
field is an input field. The user must provide a value for the field before proceeding
to the next element in the form. A sample interaction is:
(computer): Would you like coffee, tea, milk, or nothing?
H (human): Orange
C: I did not understand what you said. (a platform-specific default
C: Would you like coffee, tea, milk, or nothing?
(continues in document drink2.asp)
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