Recently, I blogged about the WinFX getting into the core framework as .Net 3.0 and the reason is pretty obvious now. With the workflow foundation (WF) & communication foundation (WCF) being used as a foundation for the upcoming server products, its quite imperative that it becomes a core part. Obviously, its all set to change the entire paradigm of how we "develop" the stuff.
The most recent and fascinating example that I saw was that of the Speech Server 2007. This is the first version of the product that is on the managed platform and they have made some spledid use of the Workflow Foundation. With the help of the Speech Server WF activities, you can now create speech recognition applications in just a couple of mins. These can provide an interactive voice response menu and infact also recongnises the commands as we speak in plain english. That is a simply fabulous example of how the technology can be harnessed and of how it makes the life easy for the developers. Introducing the Workflow Foundation designer for the Speech Server makes it a lot simpler to introduce some stuff that would be pretty high end for traditional IVRs, like the configurable rules and web service access & database access. Almost anything you can do with a .net assembly can be made possible for the Speech Apps as well.
In good old days, if you needed to have an IVR system up and running, you had to look for some telephony guys and probably spend well over a few grands getting the thing in place. Not to talk about a couple of weeks spent for getting it done. And then when you need to modify it, you gotta have those guys again. It was simply out of reach of the application programmers. This version of the Speech Server promises to change it all!
A bad news though - the Speech Server is yet not available in all the languages. However, guys looking for the versions of English would definitely love it.
More to come as it unviels itself. Watch Out!