VXML Server can be configured to run code when a call has been
received before the call flow is visited. The call start action can be
implemented with either the Java API or the XML API. The call start action is a
good way to create session data to be used by the rest of the application.
There are two situations where session data may already exist:
If the voice browser passed additional arguments to VXML Server when
the call was first received, these additional arguments are added as session
data with the arguments’ name/value pairs translated to the session data name
and value (each is a String).
If a separate Unified CVP voice application transferred to the current
application, the application designer may have chosen to transfer element and
session data to the destination application. This data will be converted to
session data in the destination application.
start action is also given the ability to change the voice browser and any root
document-affecting settings for the call. These changes apply to the current
call only, and allows for a truly dynamic application. By allowing the voice
browser to change, the application can be deployed on multiple voice browsers
at once and use a simple DNIS check to output VoiceXML to the appropriate
browser. Changing root document settings such as properties and language allow
the call start action to control how the application appears to the caller
using information it knows only at call time.
These changes can
only be made by the call start action because it runs before VXML Server has
returned the first VoiceXML page and therefore can make changes that affect the
outputted VoiceXML. Aside from these settings, the call start action can also
change the maintainer and default audio path, though any component run within
the call can do this as well.
The start of call event can be run in
the background by checking the appropriate checkbox in the Call Studio
application settings. If this is not done, the caller will hear silence until
the call start action is complete and the call flow reaches the first
VoiceXML-producing element. Answering the phone with too much silence could
cause the caller to hang-up, thinking something went wrong. Latency issues are
not as big a concern later in the application because audio can be played while
action is executing or the application could make the caller aware that some
potentially lengthy action is about to occur. Running the call start action in
the background will ensure that the call flow will begin immediately.
Some notes of caution are warranted when running the call
start action in the background:
Ensure that elements
in the call flow that attempt to access data created by the call start action
do not try too quickly since it is possible the data has not been created yet.
Since the call start action is run in a separate thread, there is no guarantee
it will complete before the data it creates is required. The application can be
architected to handle this by checking if the data exists before accessing it
and if not, make the caller wait until it is created.
errors that occur during execution of this action are placed in the error log
but do not end the call (unless the application cannot run
without performing the tasks in the call start
The call start action is
built in Java by implementing the Unified CVP class
StartCallInterface found in the
com.audium.server.proxy package. It contains a
single method named onStartCall that is the
execution method for the call start class. This method receives a single
argument, an instance of CallStartAPI. This class
belongs to the Session API and is used to access and modify session information
such as session data (See Session API for more
information on this API). The method does not have a return value. It is
expected that, should an unrecoverable error occur, the call start action will
throw an AudiumException.
XML API use
As described in Session API, the standard
inputs and settings XML documents are
sent via POST to the call start URI. The following figure shows the DTD diagram
of the XML document that must be sent in response. The DTD for the start of
call action response is defined in the file
CallStartResponse.dtd found in the VXML Server
tags in these XML documents are:
new_data – This tag holds the session data to be
created. Any number of <session> tags can
appear, one for each session data variable to be created.
data cannot be created because the call start action is not an
set_uid – This tag is used to
associate the call to a UID in the user management system. The content of the
tag should be the integer UID.
log – This
tag is used to trigger logger events for this application. Any number of
<custom> tags can appear, denoting the
triggering of a custom event. The name attribute
holds the name of the data, and the <custom>
tag encapsulates the value. Any number of
<warning> tags can appear, denoting the
triggering of a warning event. The <warning>
tag encapsulates the warning message.
error – This tag reports to VXML Server that an error
occurred while executing the call start action. VXML Server will then throw an
exception whose message is contained in the
<error> tag. This allows the XML API to throw
exceptions just as the Java API does.
set_default_path – This tag is used to change the
default audio path.
set_maintainer – This
tag is used to change the maintainer e-mail address.
set_voice_browser – This tag is used to change the voice
browser for this particular call.
The real name of the voice
browser must be used here, not the display name. Gateway
Adapter real names can be seen by reading the folder name for that adapter in
the gateways folder of VXML Server.
set_timeout – This tag allows the timeout length set for
this session to be changed. The contents of the tab must be an integer
representing the number of minutes in the timeout.
set_main_doc_content – This tag allows the encoding and
language settings for the application to be changed for this call. The
<language> tag content is formatted according
to the specification for using languages in VoiceXML (for example,
en-US). The <encoding>
tag content is formatted according to the specification for encoding XML pages
(for example, UTF-8).
set_root_doc_content – This tag allows the addition and
removal of VoiceXML properties and variables. The
<delete> tag is necessary only if properties
or variables were set in the application’s project pane in Call Studio and due
to runtime circumstances the call start action determines they are no longer
needed. The name attribute specifies the property or
variable name and the tag contents encapsulate the value.
All the tags are optional, there is no tag required except for the root
<result> tag. Since the XML API requires a
document in response, it is acceptable to return an XML document whose
<result> tag is