Front ends for Asterisk


#1

Does anyone have any recommendations in terms of GUI front ends to use for Asterisk installation/configuration? I was wondering if Digium had a recommendation, or a product for their Business Edition in the works - ie, something for SMBs that don’t have an in-house *ix sysadmin or at least requiring people to RTFM for weeks before setting up a phone system comparable to what they already have/performing routine operations like changing voicemail/auto-attendant greetings, etc. We have a lot of SMB clients where we wouldn’t mind installing Asterisk, but the last time we looked at the product, it was still a little too CLI for us to do rapid, common installations and definitely too CLI to, say, have an attorney on site do even basic tasks.

I didn’t see anything on the web site, so I thought I’d ask the opinion of the users on the forum. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


#2

If this isn’t the right forum for this question, any suggestions on a gathering of people who would have relevant ideas?

I’m aware I could probably look on freshmeat, sourceforge, or something of the like, but I was looking for something a tad bit more ‘mature’ (ie, maybe one really useful front end was out on sourceforge and became a defacto standard with Asterisk users that sought a front end, and thus got more development attention, etc).


#3

I just found this earlier today and it looks very very nice.

http://www.thirdlane.com

I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just think their interface looks damn sweet.


#4

asterisk@home

i use it for my small office. free&easy. can’t beat that.


#5

i bought thirdlane

i threw it away after trying AAH


#6

AAH seems pretty functional, and relatively easy. I’m a little wary of it being a Sourceforge project in that you couldn’t get paid support even if you wanted it (mainly in terms of setting systems up at client sites as an alternative to their options when looking to upgrade their phone system), but I suppose if you’re really in a bind and can’t find your own way out, you can probably find a consultant willing to help you out for a nice fee.

We’ll probably give it a try in our own office, since we could definitely use some of the features, and see how it goes.

Thanks for the suggestions.


#7

The use of a web gui is very usefull for adjustments on the Asterisk box that are not to complicated. If it becomes complicated also aah or the thirdlane tool are not capable of assisting the proces in a usefull way.

Editing the .conf files of Asterisk is not as complicated as stated above. Not the configuration is very complicated, most of the time it’s just a couple of extra lines for another “asterisk miracle”, but finding out what the costumer really wants and really needs. That’s the challenge and that is what (can) take a lot of time.

I can’t imagin that a professional Asterisk consultant is editing .conf files for weeks implementing a dial plan with groups, dialing sequences (for instance : first dial 501 and 502 for 15 seconds, then dial a cellphone for 15 seconds, then start an ivr with different options and when a message has been recorded send a sms to confirm this), costimized voicemenu’s, spoken message services, call back services, custimized music on hold based on number matching etc. Some of the examples are very usefull but can’t be configured using AAH or some other configuration tool. This webenabled configuration tools are very usefull but in my opinion only for the enduser who wants to make some minor adjustments like adding a phone without having to hire an Asterisk consultant.

In the beginning all the .conf files look very complicated but as soon as you find out the real way it works it’s supprisingly easy to let Asterisk do amazing things by just adding a couple of lines, mostly in extensions.conf or files included in extensions.conf. I always use Xorcom-rapid as a starting point , it’s preconfigured with 10 sip and 10 iax extensions, a meetme room and a lot of other nice features and ready for use after installation, it has some very usefull tools in the rapid-menu and it’s very stable using Debian as the OS.

If you want to show your costumers something nice install Gastman (an operating panel) on a Windows PC, configure manager.conf, start Gastman and see what happens when you make a call. It’s easy, usefull and it is not using precious cpu cycles and memory on your Asterisk box like Apache servers and mysql databases do.