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Rapid Application Development(RAD) Tools for IVR Software

Though I have previously written about tools for developing IVR software as well as standardised VoiceXML based IVR Software, I was always thinking about writing rapid application development tools for developing simple to complex and large IVR software available in the market presently.

What is Rapid Application Development Tools for IVR Software ?
These are the tools like a Microsoft Visual Studio used for rapidly developing IVR Software as per IVR call flow. While Microsoft Visual Studio is very vast and supports many kind of applications, RAD for IVR Software deals only with IVR Software or IVR kind of voice application. For example, Auto Dialer, Voice Mail, Auto Attendant etc.
Normally they have beautiful GUI ( Graphics User Interface) for implementing IVR Call flow with graphical tools for controlling CTI board related and Voice Related functions. They provide visual tools implementing IVR Call Flow with minimum requirement of actual coding.
They use their own scripting for IVR Application with own syntax or syntax of standard computer programming language like basic, C. Some even provide controls (pre-compiled executable API code for specific function, can be used as it is) to be used standard Software Development Environment like .NET, Visual Basic etc.

I think there is a scope for comparing three ways to develop IVR Software or any Voice Applications as a whole. The three ways to develop IVR Software are:
1. Legacy IVR Software using native API of CTI boards using C++
2. Using open standard VoiceXML
3. Using Rapid Application Development Tools like VBVoice

In my last post about about Legacy IVRS and VoiceXML IVRS, I tried to compare pros and cons between first two in the above list. Here I would like to mention few benefits of using RAD tools for developing IVR Software.

1. One can rapidly develop IVR Software as the name suggests. The developer does not have to worry about CTI Board related functions as they are already built-in the RAD tools, tried and tested with many CTI Boards.
2. Short learning curve for developing IVR Software. As RAD tools use very simple, easy human kind of language as well as visual tools, it becomes very easy for anyone to develop IVR Software quickly.
3. Support Multiple CTI Boards. This may be one of the major advantages for using RAD tools. As RAD tools provide support for CTI boards from multiple vendors, the developer need not re-develop his IVR Application from scratch while changing CTI Cards.
4. Development Support. RAD Tools providers good support in developing the IVR Software and it comes handy as C++ developer may get stuck somewhere and nowhere to turn for help, but himself.
5. The IVR and other voice applications are getting more and more complex day by day. So, RAD tools gives an IVR Developers option to concentrate more on the call flow and IVR usability aspects than spending time on CTI board interfacing.

As I belong to old school of development, I always advocate use of good old C++ for writing stable, robust and working round the clock software. And I feel RAD Tools may not be suitable for large, complex and enterprise IVR or Voice Applications.

But recently I had tested one RAD tool for developing IVR Application, namely VBVoice 5.6.1 from PRONEXUS INC. I hope to write about this and comparing it with other RAD tools in near future.

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