Miscellaneous/Custom application/extensions: How to extend FreePBX with custom dialplan (part 1 of 2)

FreePBX was primarily designed to be a simple and easy to tool for programming asterisk dialplan and call flow. In the name of simplicity, however, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice advanced features and overly complex ways of doing things. FreePBX takes a great middle ground in providing the best of both worlds: on one hand, an extremely powerful yet intuitive and simple GUI, and on the other hand a really neat way to seamlessly extend the gui into 'raw' dialplan. This is done using a combination of the Custom and Miscellaneous modules.

FreePBX 2.5.0 is FINAL!

It’s old news to the hundreds of you who beat me to the punch and already responded to those automated email notices telling you that FreePBX 2.5.0 has gone final! All of us who have contributed to the success of this release are thrilled to see it pass this great milestone and for those of you who will be at Astricon next week, I hope to see you at one of the parties to celebrate this great achievement!


FreePBX 2.5 RC3, Feature Creep and OTTS Discounts

If you are one of the over 2500 testers (or production sites) then you’ve probably gotten that upgrade email about RC3. So what’s with the feature creep and why hasn’t 2.5 gone final yet? For those who just want to know about the training discount, it’s here at the end.

We released RC1 3 weeks ago expecting to have already gone final by now, given the unprecedented stability and super low bug count we were seeing. Going RC typically means final feature freeze as well, so what’s up?

Well, there just has not been enough cash flowing in and the family is a little upset that we have been ignoring them. So pressing this button will go a long way to bribe us into releasing:


Seriously though, great projects like ours become very infectious during development periods and all the new additions in 2.5 were just "fuel on the fire." We started the release with a few new developers to the project and about the time we chose to go release candidate, so came yet more enthusiastic developers with new features at various stages.

Running a project like this during such times presents its challenges to the leader (me). I need to balance between schedule, stability and still encourage new blood to keep motivated and contributing. This second waive presented just that. The hard core program manager tact would be to remain in feature freeze and get the current release out. But that is not very encouraging to the volunteer developers who would like to see their contributions recognized. So this time around I chose to allow the enthusiasm to spread while very carefully controlling what went in and assuring its quality. After all, when you see RC2 and RC3 in the release versions, you have a high expectation that we have earned and intend to keep.

However, at one point we need to drive toward closure and we are doing such with RC3. Since the stability has continued to remain extremely high with bug counts still near 0, and most bugs reported being existing bugs in the 2.4 and previous versions just now being reported, we expect that 2.5 should be final within 1-2 weeks.

Open Telephony Training Seminar Discount

So what’s new in the release and how do you get more information? If you want to be the first to get the detailed rundown, your best route is to sign up for our next Open Telephony Training Seminar to be held at Digium’s headquarters on October 7-10th, 2008. In order to encourage our readership to signup, we’re offering a FreePBX 2.5.0 discount special of just $1995 (that’s a $500 savings, just type LETSGOFINAL in the coupon code). The special is good “while supplies last” or until we release 2.5. (And since we don’t know exactly when that is, we’ll just say Fri, September 19th but we reserve the right to change that depending on how the release goes!)

If you can’t make it to our training but will be at Astricon this year, come visit. I’ll be speaking Wednesday morning at 9:45AM, come say hi!

For now, have fun with the new release, and don’t forget that donate button above will help get us motivated to go final!

Philippe - On behalf of the team


Beta1 Released!

I'm excited to announce that we've rolled a new tarball officially moving the 2.5 program into beta! We've had a strong testing period while we called it alpha and although the quality has been consistently reported as better than a beta we kept our terminology in order to keep it open for new features while you had a chance to start testing and evaluating what was there.

I'm excited to announce that there are currently 340 tickets closed against the current release, many of those being feature requests. As of this writing, there are only 2 bugs open! Given the amount of testing we have already seen, and with your help to start loading and testing the beta if you have not yet done so, we should be able to validate it quickly and move into a release candidate soon.

As I'm traveling this week I'll keep this announcement short. You can get a lot of information from the previous and first announcements that were made on the 2.5 Beta Program. You can load it up and help with the testing if you haven't already. You can show your support as always with the donate button:


For now, we hope that you have fun sorting through all the new big and small features! If you want to get an in depth view of FreePBX 2.5, sign up now for the next Open Telephony Training Seminar scheduled for early October.

Philippe - On behalf of the FreePBX Team


FreePBX 2.5.0 Beta Program Update

It has been about a week since we released the 2.5.0alpha1 tarball and a lot of activity has been going on. We are seeing good early participation in the testing which confirms that this is more than stable enough to call a beta. (Despite the suggestion from some happy testers that we should just go straight to a release candidate from what they have experienced!)

Our standard practice is to lock down new features when entering beta so we can move it to a release candidate quickly. This is the main reason we have not called it a beta yet. At this point we have seen almost all the new features included in the release meaning we can move to a proper beta and expand the testing base soon.

There are a couple final changes going in that we would like to have prior to this move and in addition to that, we’re waiting on some more bribes to push us into the real beta program. You can help move this forward, you know how, by pressing the magic button:


As a reminder, the 2.5 Milestone has both a summary and links to review all the feature requests and bugs associated with the current release (as well as Module submissions, Patches and Recordings), in addition to the CHANGES document that summarizes the changes and is shipped with the release tarball. You can get the 2.5.0alpha1 tarball and find upgrade instructions here.

There’s a lot of exciting things going on so don’t hesitate to try it out. And if you are a trixbox user, apparently they are lagging quite a bit behind (and sadly have not provided any input to this release, bug fixes or anything else). However you can still follow the upgrade instructions if you have a system that you don’t mind doing such testing on and you can see all the new exciting features and activity going on!

With 307 closed tickets so far (as of this writing), many of those being bugs from FreePBX 2.4 and prior releases with fixes that are not being put back into those releases, this is sure to continue the legacy of improved stability and great features from day 1 straight out the gate of the release!

Also with the timing of this release, now’s the time to consider signing up for the next Open Telephony Training Seminar which will be the first training available from anyone to go in depth on what you can do with FreePBX 2.5.0 and what has changed! (And which has an Earlybird discount that expires at the end of this month, so don't procrastinate.)

Philippe – on behalf of the FreePBX Team


FreePBX 2.5.0 Beta Program Launched

We are excited to officially kick of the FreePBX 2.5.0 Beta Program with the introduction of the FreePBX 2.5.0alpha1 tarball available for immediate download. We expect this is really beta quality and after we see a number of downloads and no serious issues we will move it to a beta release.

However, as it is still alpha, it also means that we have not frozen the feature set. That means you may want to hop on this as there is till time to influence the feature set whether they are features that are still open under the 2.5 Milestone or other features that may be really important and you want to try to influence their introduction.

There are a few ways to influence what gets into the release, as well as accelerate it so we can get it out quicker. One of those is bribery, in other words:


You can also help to implement some of the features or provide feedback in different ways into the tickets that are open for them. Keep in mind, if there is not ticket, or the ticket is not marked as the 2.5 Milestone, then it is not on the radar scope and you need to help it get there.

What’s In the Release

The best way to find out is to download the new release and start to explore it. The Milestone 2.5 link will show you a summary and detailed list of tickets that have been associated with this release, and you can also review the CHANGES document that comes with every new release.

A VERY short list of highlights includes:

  • New BLF support on Asterisk 1.4 using custom devastates (think daynight buttons, follow-me enable/disable features, DND, etc. with LED status)
  • Caller Screening, a form of Privacy Manager requiring callers to announce themselves so you can decide if you want to take the call or not
  • Vastly improved Time Conditions with direct linkage of Day/Night Feature codes to one or more Time Conditions for override ability
  • VmX™ Locater configuration from the FreePBX GUI in addition to the ARI GUI
  • Feature Codes tied to individual recordings, giving you the ability to re-record a recording without ever touching the GUI (Change the IVR announcement on a snow day, from home)
  • All DIDs, including direct DIDs, viewable and editable from the Inbound Routing screen

Some new modules including:

  • Queue Priority Module, allow the ability to give certain callers (or call paths) a higher priority in a queue
  • DUNDi Lookup Module, detect extension conflicts across a branch office DUNDi cluster and do easy lookups

And lots more! There have been 126 bugs closed under the 2.5 Milestone and 107 Feature Codes/Patch tickets closed, all as of this post. So check it out, give us your feedback, and help us drive this to a final release quickly!

Open Telephony Training Seminar Update

As was announced in the last news update, the next OTTS has been moved to October. This will be a great opportunity to get a close up look at the new features and changes in the FreePBX 2.5.0 release which will be out by then and be the mainstream release. There is still the EARLYBIRD discount running saving you $375 off the registration fee so sign up now here.

The summary is:

Where: Digium Headquarters, Huntsville, AL
When: October 7-10th, 2008

For now, we hope you enjoy the new features, capabilities and bug fixes that we have been working so hard to bring you!

Philippe – On behalf of the FreePBX Team


OTTS Date Change and FreePBX 2.5 Release News

We are announcing a date change on the upcoming Open Telephone Training Seminar. It was originally scheduled for August but we have had several requests from participants to change the date because of vacation and other summer time conflicts in August. Since the new date works out better for those who have also already registered as well, we are announcing it now:

Where: Digium Headquarters, Huntsville, AL
When: October 7-10th, 2008

For a limited time, until the End of July, we will also provide an early bird discount of 15%, a $375 savings, but register early to get that discount.

FreePBX 2.5 Release News

If you’ve been paying attention to the FreePBX timeline then you will notice that there has been an immense amount of activity, as is often the case as we are heading towards another release. Well stay tuned for more news later this week. We are shooting to get an alpha tarball out before the week is over (although you can always grab svn trunk now). We’ll call it an alpha initially although expect it to role over very quickly to beta once the initial sanity checks have been made from a little more exposure. You can see a summary on the 2.5 Milestone and from there you can drill down to see what feature codes and bugs are included in the release. Not all the open feature codes or bugs will make it but the fact that they are in that Milestone means we are still considering them for possible inclusion in this release.

So, stay tuned for more release news and a summary of what will be in it coming later this week and if you want to help accelerate or encourage the work that has been going on, as always try the following:


Philippe - On behalf of the FreePBX and OTTS Teams


Cooperation and Communication

Some of the recent press has been filled with events that have not been particularly pleasant to read and I’m happy to bring more positive news. I’ve talked about the cross pollination of complimentary and related projects in a past post and with today’s news I am excited to reinforce to the community that this is the norm amongst most of the projects in the Open Telephony space.

We embarked on the Open Telephony Training Seminar late last year, prompted by community members looking to us to fill a void of training material that has not been available elsewhere. The reception has been overwhelming not only by our installed base but by many of the prominent telephony vendors as has been seen by their involvement and generous contribution to this program.

Today I bring you more evidence of the synergy by announcing our next seminar to take place at the one an only, Asterisk Ground Zero, at Digium’s Headquarters in Huntsville, AL. “One of Digium’s primary goals is to expand the use of the Asterisk telephony engine and to be a good corporate citizen within the Asterisk ecosystem. To further this aim, we have contributed to the FreePBX project in various ways, including taking an active role in supporting their OTTS training program. We are happy to strengthen the relationship with the FreePBX project, and are proud to host their next seminar in our state-of-the-art training facility.” says Jared Smith, World Wide Training Manager for Digium, Inc. and co-author of the one and only Asterisk: The Future of Telephony (O'Reilly Media). We are thrilled to have this opportunity and have appreciated the support Digium has provided and the training material and presentations that Jared Smith has delivered in our sessions.

Whether you are looking for training or not, we hope that this news brings a bit of encouragement that different projects, which may include areas of overlap (that some consider ‘competition’) can work together synergistically to continue fueling the disruptive technologies that we have all been working so hard to evolve and use against those who we consider the real competitors, the traditional giants of the telecom world.

For more information on the training, you can go to the Open Telephony Training Seminar section of the website. The quick and dirty summary is:

Where: Digium Headquarters, Huntsville, AL
When: October 7-10th, 2008

Now for the project plug. If you like what you see, the close collaboration of such projects vs. the unfortunate events of the recent past, vote here by pressing the following button:


For now, signing off but will be back soon with other news to come.

Philippe – On Behalf of the FreePBX and OTTS Teams