Audio Tones Support on Ace Operator

Ace Operator provides audio tone capabilities similar to leading chat applications like Skype (not to be confused with Skype’s support for voice and video calls). An audio tone is played when an event occurs. For example, when an user receives a new chat request from another user, a ring tone is played. Ace Operator uses the audio capabilities supported by the HTML5 standards. Since HTML5 is not supported on older versions of web browsers,  Ace Operator also supports playing audio tones using browser-specific audio tags. In this blog, I explain how to find out if your browser supports HTML5 audio and how to configure your browser to support audio tones.

So, how do you know if audio tones are working on the browser you are using? Start up the chat application on your web browser and if you hear a chime tone, audio tones are working. There is no need to read this blog any further.  If not, read on.

An important thing to note is that the audio tone configuration discussed in this blog only applies for the operators, not visitors. The visitor side of the chat application does not need audio tone support because of the limited functionality of the visitor screens. Whereas the audio tones are more important for the operator side because operators receive audio alerts when a visitor requests a new chat session among other things.

Most new browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox 10 and Google Chrome 17 already supports HTML5. If you are an operator and your web browser already supports HTML5, there is no further setup needed but if you are using an older web browser, then audio player plugins may need to be installed on the browser and Ace Operator needs to be configured appropriately.

Does Your Web Browser Support HTML5?

First check if the browser supports HTML5. If the browser supports HTML5, then, as stated above, no action is needed on your part. To check for HTML5 support, using your browser, open the page http://html5test.com/. Scroll to the part where Audio capabilities are displayed. Your browser must support either (a) H.264 audio and/or (b) Ogg Vorbis support. The following screen-shot shows an example how the web page looks when the page is opened using Firefox 10.

HTML5 Test Audio Capabilities Screen for FF10

When the same page is opened using Internet Explorer 9, the screenshot below shows how it looks.

HTML5 Test Audio Capabilities Screen for IE9

As you can see from the above screenshots, both the above browser supports HTML5 audio. The screenshot below shows the results from a browser that does not support HTML5 audio.

HTML5 Test Audio Capabilities Screen for IE8

If HTML5 Audio is Not Supported, What Options are Available?

If your browser does not support HTML5 and you would like to have the audio capabilities, you can do one of the following:

  1. Install the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome and use it for Ace Operator. All newer versions of Google Chrome support HTML5 audio. This is the recommended solution.
  2.  Setup Ace Operator for browser plugin support. Please read the next sections for details.

Setting Up Web Browser Plugins

Ace Operator has been tested with browser plugins for the following browsers. If you browser is not listed below, follow the steps described for Firefox and the solution may work but we cannot promise it

  1. Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9.
  2. Firefox  5, 6, 7, 8.

Internet Explorer Setup

If you are using an older version of Internet Explorer that does not support HTML5, please read this section. For other legacy browsers, please see the section on Firefox Setup. With Internet Explorer, the Windows Media Player plugin is required to play Ace Operator audio. Windows Media Player is shipped with Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you are using Windows XP, you may have to download Windows Media Player plugin from Microsoft web site. It is a free download. Here are the steps:

  1. Download and install Windows Media Player if it is not already installed on your computer. Visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/downloads/windows-media-player for details.
  2. Contact your Ace Operator system administrator requesting browser plugin support. (System Administrators, use the profile property, legacyMediaPlayer to true).
  3. Once the legacy audio support is setup, using your browser, navigate to the operator login screen. You may see a message similar to the one shown in the screenshot below. Click on the Allow button to enable audio. You should hear a chime tone and this indicates that the audio is setup. Note that this is a one-time setup and in future, you will not be prompted again. Continue with the next steps if the chime tone did not play.
  4. Navigate to the Manage Add-ons menu item from the Internet Explorer menu, select the Windows Media Player add-on and enable the plugin by clicking on the Enable button as shown in next screenshot.
  5.  In certain scenarios, the browser may prompt you to download a Windows Media  Player plugin. If this is the case, download and install the plugin (even if you have already installed it)  and start from step 1.

IE Prompting for Enabling Windows Media Player Plugin

IE Enabling Windows Media Plugin

Firefox Setup

If you are using an older version of Firefox that does not support HTML5, please read this section. If you are using another browser like Safari or Opera that does not support HTML5, you can still follow the instructions in the section below. There is a high possibility that audio is going to work although we cannot guarantee that it will work. With Firefox, the QuickTime plugin is required to play Ace Operator audio.

Here are the steps:

  1. Contact your Ace Operator system administrator requesting browser plugin support. (System Administrators, use the profile property, legacyMediaPlayer to true).
  2. Download the QuickTime player from Apple if it is not installed on your system. You can download the player from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.
  3. Install the player as per the instructions. Make sure that you enable Firefox support when installing the software. For more details, visit http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/Using%20the%20QuickTime%20plugin%20with%20Firefox.
  4. Start Firefox, select the Add-ons Manager from the menu. Click on the Plugins tab. You should see the QuickTime plugin as shown in following screenshot and the plugin should be enabled (the Disable button is displayed).
  5. Click on the Options menu and select the Applications tab. Verify that QuickTime is assigned as a player for audio/x-mpeg mime type as shown in next figure.
  6. Navigate to the operator login page and verify that the chime tone plays when the page comes up.

Quicktime Plugin Enabled

Enabling Quicktime

What If Audio Tone Still Does not work

Report the problem to the QUIK Computing team by creating a bug/enhancement request. Please make sure that you provide sufficient details including the browser you are using and if any of the above steps failed.

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About amit

Amit Chatterjee is a software professional with over 20 years of experience as a software developer and architect. He has been involved in large and complex software products for Telecommunications, B2B E-Commerce and Healthcare industries. He has founded and contributed to open-source projects since the 1990s. Currently, he leads two open-source projects, QUIK-J and CafeSip. His primary interests are in the areas of Service Oriented Architecture, Enterprise Applications, Business Intelligence and Big Data.
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