Sneak Preview of 2.8

Work on FreePBX 2.8 is progressing at break neck speeds (has it been just a week since my last blog?) and I couldn’t hold back giving you a sneak preview! Although 3.0 takes the cake in visual improvements and web 2.0 features, 2.8 is taking steps to improve on a few areas that long time FreePBX users can really appreciate. Where as we set out to work on internal plumbing along with a few features, we naturally find areas to digress, to your benefit.

So what’s so exciting that I had to go blogging about it just a week after announcing 2.8 plans? If you spend much time in FreePBX you probably become skilled at navigating land mines! (You know, those annoying tooltips which are scattered around the page to help all those newbies but popup instantly the minute you get your cursor within detonation range!) Seriously though, this has annoyed me for years especially knowing that there was surely 2-3 lines of magic that could make it much more usable. Well kudos to Moshe again (lazytt) with Schmoozecom.com for solving the problem after I put the bug in his ear. Sure enough a very minor change to the CSS file, and depending on how you count, one line of jquery magic and 5.5 years of frustration solved in a puff of smoke! Here’s the secret sauce:

[code] $(“a.info”).hover(function(){
var pos = $(this).offset();
var left = (200 – pos.left)+”px”;
$(this).find(“span”).css(“left”,left).stop(true, true).delay(500).animate({opacity: “show”}, 750);
}, function() {$(this).find(“span”).stop(true, true).animate({opacity: “hide”}, “fast”);
});
[/code]

Between that snippet of code and a few changed lines in the CSS file, we get this:

So what’s different about that tooltip other than looking a heck of a lot nicer? Well the code snippet does the magic but for most of you it’s probably greek, so here’s what it does… If you move the mouse over a label with tooltip, you will have a 1/2 second grace period before the land mine goes off. Once that time has passed though it doesn’t explode open like before, it fades in over a 3/4 second period and as soon as the cursor is moved from the target, it quickly fades away. The end result, you can move the cursor freely across the screen without being bombarded by exploding tooltips!

That’s not the only magic Moshe has been up to. In my last blog I commented on the cascading select boxes that would make those long cluttered destination targets a thing of the past. It took a few more lines of jquery and some other code changes but the results are spectacular! A picture of the new IVR layout tells the whole story, and these cascading select boxes now replace all modules that have a “Destination if no Answer” style selection. Here’ s the new look:

Now imagine that screen with a dozen choices compared to the old look! (And behind the scene, we’ve also increased the server side rendering performance of such multiple destination options significantly!)

Moving on to Outbound Routes and Trunks. While working on the internal plumbing I decided to get rid of those dialrule textareas in favor of a GUI that might make it more intuitive and less error prone. So out goes the textarea and in comes something that looks like this:

Let me translate this for those used to the old format. Recall outbound routes can match on a pattern including an optional dial prefix, and send the resulting number (less the prefix) to the trunks. In addition, FreePBX 2.7 added the ability to match on the CID portion as well. The results might look like the following, these rules allow access to this route by dialing 9 first (like those traditional inflexible PBXs that we love running circles around):

[code] 9|011.
9|1NXXNXXXXXX
9|411
9|311
9|NXXXXXX
[/code]

This example allows for 7 and 11 digit NPA dialing, as well as international, 311 and 411 access using a prefix of 9. It drops the 9 and sends the resulting number to the trunks.

You can see where a CallerID (typically an extension number or pattern matching a group of extensions) can be added as part of the match. There is also an optional prepend field not previously available. These digits are prepended to the resulting match prior to going to the trunks. This new feature can solve some powerful problems. One example, providing 7 digit dialing to extensions that are remote. For example, your main office is in Seattle where 7 digit dialing results in 206 being prepended. However you have branches with remote extensions in Chicago and you want their 7 digit dialing to prepend a 312. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the readers to see how to achieve this and for those coming to our upcoming OTTS Training at Digium, I’ll give you the answer if you have not figured it out.

The trunk page has been modified with a similar GUI interface. It has also added the ability to include the “+” as a valid digit which was previously not possible. You light-weight appliance users will also appreciate the elimination of the underlying fixlocalprefix AGI script in place of native dialplan used to apply these rules.

Enough blogging, it’s time for you to get your hands dirty and help us make this a reality! You can download the 2.8.0beta1 tarball and see all this for yourselves. If tarballs intimidate you (or, what’s a tarball comes to mind…) then download the version upgrade module to your desktop, then upload it in Module Admin through the GUI and get yourself on the bleeding edge without touching the command line! (You won’t find the upgrade module in the Online Repository yet, you will have to install it this way). There’s still more feature development to come on 2.8 so there will be at least another beta release before we do a feature freeze. If you don’t see all the advertised features there like the great Company Directory that Schmoozecom.com is working on (yup … Moshe again) that is why.

For now, have fun and thanks for getting involved!

Philippe – on behalf of the FreePBX team!

12 thoughts on “Sneak Preview of 2.8

  1. Philippe – those are some awsome features, I cant say which one I like more, love the CID option in the new dial patterns wizard, love it all. I am jumping on the beta bandwagon right now. Keep up the good work guys!
  2. I upgraded to 2.8 and just watched the wonders

    how much cleaner and easier al just unbelievble

    Just remember to clear the cache (ctrl+F5) else you wont get those shiny tool tips

  3. Just installed, very nice. Got an error after the final reload:
    encountered an error: 1

    Checking for PEAR DB..OKChecking for PEAR Console::Getopt..OKChecking for /etc/amportal.conf ..OKBootstrapping /etc/amportal.conf ..OKParsing /etc/amportal.conf ..OKParsing /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf ..OKConnecting to database..OKConnecting to Asterisk manager interface..OK[FATAL] Failed to get engine_info retreive_conf failed to get engine information and cannot configure up a softwitch with out it. Error: ERROR-UNABLE-TO-PARSE

    No calls would come in, after a reboot all seems to work.

    One other thing I noticed is that the nav bar on the left is diplayed twice on the side

    Thanks
    jon

  4. Actually it isnt displayed twice “Setup” and “Tools” are displayed on top of each other instead of in different tabs, the tabs are still there but when you click on “Tools” it just scrolls down the page to it since it is now under “Setup” section. Doing this in IE 8 and Firefox 3.5.5
  5. jhabers,

    first off, probably best to bring these up in the forums (but no biggy).

    try a CTL+SHIFT+Refresh to re-pull all the new javascript libraries and CSS files. That will most likely get rid of your problems as it should work on both those browsers.

    Also if you haven’t already checked for updates, do so, we just published the new core module which has Outbound Routes drag and drop re-ordering:)

  6. Greetings …

    Was hoping the patch for mISDN to core could be added, so that I don’t need keep patching my FreePBX installs.

    Where is the best place to ask for parts to be added to FreePBX?

    Thanks
    Mailed
    LeeT

    P.S. Freaking Awesome, thanks for FreePBX!!

  7. Thanks, just have not got any response and it does seem to be a really small patch, but then what do I know … I only user wanting the globe … Hehe 😉

    Thanks
    Mailed
    LeeT

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