OTTS Training, v3, 2.8 – Times are Busy

Are you keeping an eye on the ticket trackers (v2 and v3), blogs or the website in general because there is a lot happening and it’s a really exciting time for FreePBX! On the v2 front we pushed 2.7 out the door a couple of weeks ago with several exciting enhancements and over 4000 systems already upgraded! Work is going strong on 2.8 discussed below, and we’ve got an OTTS FreePBX training coming next month well timed for the subsequent release scheduled for mid May! The v3 side has been extremely active as well with an upcoming general preview release just weeks away!

OTTS FreePBX Training

If you’re not familiar with our training program you can get details on the OTTS training link on this site. It’s the only officially sponsored FreePBX training that is hands on and heavily lab oriented. The next class is scheduled for April 27-29 at Digium’s Headquarters so if you are thinking of coming, get registered now. If you are a previous attendee to our training series (all you Leap Frogs out there) and are interested in coming for a refresher with all that has happened in the last few releases, contact us for a repeat customer discount! This should be an exciting class and as always when at Digium you have the opportunity to meet some of the great minds behind Asterisk, which is almost as good as meeting with us! We’ll also try to have a v3 system configured and available for show & tell if the timing works out!

v3 Happenings

While on the subject of v3 let me brief you on what is going on. In the last couple of months the v3 team has done an amazing job stabilizing the release with heavy work on both the Asterisk and FreeSWITCH engines! The new platform promises to be a fantastic foundation to launch the next generation of FreePBX and we are super excited to what the future potential holds!. The bulk of the work over the last year has been an intense journey exploring the different dimensions involved in redesigning a new platform to launch a next generation FreePBX product. The team is working hard to stabilize the current capabilities so that we can deliver a general preview release in the next weeks, complete with ISO, so that we can start to get some heavy involvement of the broader community. We then have some ideas of ways to have a little fun in getting developers to come pouring in and helping to rapidly accelerate v3 with new modules and features in a similar way to what we saw happen in the FreePBX 2.0-2.3 era, a time of rapid expansion… We’ll follow with another blog and more details on what is going on with v3 soon!

v2 Happenings

The mainstream v2 bread and butter is doing anything but standing still despite the rapid and intense work going on with v3! Version 2.7, released less than two weeks ago, made some great contributions but the momentum has done anything but slowed down! I’ll digress briefly to make a comment on the general shift in release philosophy with v2. In the past we targeted releases every 6-9 months which resulted in significant change when the releases came out. Despite our stellar track record of near perfect migrations (all the way back to AMP 1.0!), system admins still get a little nervous when they see significant change and thus hesitate to dive in (as they should, though you never heard that from me!). With v2’s level of maturity being over 5 years old, we are shifting to more frequent and smaller releases. This helps us realize a few goals. We can continue to limit updates within a release to bug fixes only which makes most of you more comfortable accepting updates knowing we are not introducing new features. At the same time, we can get new capabilities delivered to you quicker with the introduction of new releases. Lastly, the new releases can be smaller in scope which allows us to focus into the changes required for the new features being introduced and thus continue our un-matched record in increased stability with each new version!

So back to 2.8 and what’s going on there! You can have a look at the 2.8 Milestone to keep track on it’s progress and focus. This release is going to be a mix of internal plumbing upgrades and cool new features (as always!). I won’t dwell on the internal changes, it’s one of those necessary areas that us engineers thrive on but usually go un-noticed by most users who don’t quite understand why it’s needed and what it brings in potential. On the feature front there are several areas being reviewed and worked on. In addition to some great new capabilities introduced for Outbound Routes, we are looking at a scattering of smaller features on several fronts.

One small and one big feature that I’m really excited about is somethings that Moshe (lazytt) over at is actively developing for 2.8. On the small side, we’ll see all those cluttered destinations made up of rows of select boxes with radio buttons give way to a cascading pair of select boxes, the first being the module and the second being the destination within that module, the existing select to the right of each radio button. This will do wonders to cleanup modules like IVR, Time Conditions, Day Night and even the Extension page when the Fax Detection option is enabled! On the big side, Schmooze is developing a long overdue real company directory module that will finally enable the creation of multiple company directories that can include/exclude existing extensions on the system as well as custom entries to allow for maximum flexibility. Not only will these be available as a destination to the IVR or any other module (to replace the existing directory which is based off of the voicemail.conf file), but the same directories will be available to control direct extension dialing solving many common challenges people face wanting to direct dial a Ring Group, Conference bridge, Queue, etc. We also look forward to a much cleaner user experience when calling into the company directory then today’s less then optimal implementation.

I could go on but this blog is getting a bit long. For now I encourage you to poke around if you haven’t already and get a feel for all of the excitement and energy going into this project! It’s all possible because of the great chemistry created by Open Source so come and get involved if you have been just watching from the side lines! (If you are not a developer, there are plenty of other areas from testing to documentation on the site to bribing other developers to build features that are important to you!).

Philippe – on behalf of the FreePBX Team!