|Article ID: ||228
|Last updated: ||November 02, 2006
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This article explains how to use Element Groups, a new feature as of Audium Studio 5.
Element Groups provide developers with the ability to group elements, and then treat the new groups as reusable call flow components. These new components are created by grouping existing built-in elements available within Audium Studio 5 as well as custom voice, action, and decision elements. Element Groups enable the voice application developer to consolidate large sections of call flow into a single entity. Additionally, Element Groups can be saved as templates that can be transported to other applications for reuse.
Element Groups are created by selecting existing elements within the call flow and defining those elements as part of a new Element Group. The new Element Group is then displayed as a single shape in the call flow. The components that make up the Element Group can be edited and configured within the workspace by double-clicking on the Element Group shape.
Creating an Element Group
Element Groups are created by first selecting elements in the call flow editor that should be part of the new group. Multiple elements can either be selected by dragging a box around elements in the call flow editor or by clicking on the elements while holding down the Ctrl key.
Once the elements have been selected, a new group can be created by right-clicking on one of the selected elements and choosing 'Group Elements'. The selected elements will be replaced by a single new shape representing the new Element Group. Element Groups can only be made from elements from the same page in the call flow and the Element Group itself can only have one page. All exit states into and out of the group are preserved.
Configuring an Element Group
Once the Element Group has been created, the name of the group can be changed as with any other call flow component. The contents of an element group can be viewed by double-clicking on the Element Group shape. The Element Group Editor (EGE) will take up the call flow editor area and the application's page tabs will temporarily disappear.
In the EGE, all of the elements that are part of the Element Group will appear in the same configuration they were in before they were grouped. The EGE has the same functionality and features as the call flow editor. Any element from the Elements View can be dragged into the EGE and configured, with the exception of Page Entry and Page Connector elements (as Element Groups only span a single page). To go back to the call flow editor, click the 'Go Back' button at the bottom-right of the editor.
Element Group Exit States
Existing exit states between elements are preserved when an Element Group is created. Additionally, exit states that led to elements that are now part of the Element Group appear as entry points coming from the Group Start element.
Entry points maintain the original exit state mapping of the voice application's call flow when an Element Group is created. The destination of entry points can be remapped by configuring the exit states of the Group Start element. Since there are often multiple entry points into an Element Group, the exit states that match these entry points are differentiated by using the following naming convention:
Element Name:Exit State Name
Optionally, the entry points of an Element Group can be consolidated into a single exit state from the Group Start element. This can be used to easily map all entry points to one element within the Element Group. This can be useful when there are many entry points into the Element Group and all of the exit states associated with these entry points are intended to lead to the same element. To choose either "Single" or "Multiple" exit states for Group Start, right-click on the Group Start element and select 'Entry Points->Single' or 'Entry Points->Multiple'.
By default, if there are no entry points going into the Element Group, the Entry Point value will be "Single". If there are existing exit states configured to elements in the Element Group when it is created, the Entry Point value will be "Multiple" (to maintain the exit states when creating the group).
Unsatisfied exit states of elements within the Element Group are available as exit states for the Element Group shape in the call flow editor. The exit states are accessible by right-clicking on the Element Group shape as would be done with any call flow component. The Element Group exit state naming convention is the same as the naming convention of exit states for entry points, since exit states may come from multiple elements within the Element Group.
Element Group Templates
Element Group Templates (EGTs) allow developers to turn Element Groups into reusable call flow components. Once an Element Group has been saved as an EGT, it can be added to other Audium voice applications where it will be available as a drag-and-drop component from within the Elements View. Custom code, such as dynamic configuration classes and custom elements, can be included within an EGT. When an EGT is saved a single file with an ".egt" extension is created. Since EGTs are templates, changes (including the addition of elements, configuration modifications, etc.) made within instances of an EGT do not change the reusable template file.
Saving an Element Group Template
To create an EGT from an Element Group, right-click on the Element Group and select 'Save As'. A wizard will pop up that includes several options related to saving the EGT. Options include:
- Name - The name of the new EGT.
- Location - The location that the EGT will be stored in; the default value is suitable for all but the most advanced EGT uses.
- Description - A description of the EGT, which will be displayed in Audium Studio 5 as a tooltip.
- Display Folder - The folder under "Element Groups" in the Elements View that this EGT will be stored in.
- Resources - Resources to include in the template archive (custom elements, dynamic configuration classes, etc.).
Once the EGT is saved, it will appear in the Elements View within the "Element Groups" folder. If a display folder was defined when saving, the EGT will be located within the defined folder structure. Since EGTs appear in the Elements View, they can easily be dragged and dropped into any Audium voice application's call flow.
Exporting/Importing an Element Group Template
An EGT is saved as a single archive file with a file extension of ".egt". This archive contain all of the files that are required by the EGT, ensuring that it will be transportable to other Audium voice applications. To export an EGT, find the .egt file for the EGT in this folder:
Copy the .egt file from this folder to this same location under another instance of Audium Studio 5.
NOTE: If the "templates" folder does not exist, create the folder manually.
Start the instance of Audium Studio 5 where the EGT was copied. The EGT will now be available in the Elements View as a reusable component.