Monday, June 25, 2007


What, now, is VoiceXML?

VoiceXML is a standard XML format used when building applications that feature voice interaction between humans and machines—as in you talking to the computer, and it talking to you.

Whose idea was it?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released the VoiceXML specification to standardise the way voice-enabled applications will work.

How does it work?

Just like HTML is a standard way to format a Web page so it can be understood by a browser, VoiceXML is a standard that works with a voice browser—something like a Web browser with a voice interface. It’s transmitted using HTTP, and text is converted to speech at either end of the line.

Why did we need this?

As with all things, standardising a protocol for voice-enabled applications lets developers focus on important things like functionality. Moreover, by separating the application and the XML, users don’t need to be tied to just one application—they can use different voice browsers if they so choose.

When did this begin?

The first VoiceXML specification was published by the W3C in May 2000; the latest 2.0 specification exists today only as a set of recommendations, and the future will see version 3.0 with a host of additional features and capabilities.

Where can I see it in action?

Thousands of applications now use VoiceXML, including the Opera Web browser. VoiceXML has found tremendous use in over-the-phone applications, like the one your cellular provider might offer—call a number, say a word, and get results.

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