Why Deprecating Asterisk Commands is a Bad Idea

In the process of rewriting dozens of Asterisk 1.2 applications for 1.4, we wanted to share a little feedback in the spirit of constructive criticism:

nerdvittles.com/index.php?p=199#dealbreaker

Hi

I have to agree here, I have been going through my 1.2 dialplans to make them compatible with 1.4 and its a long job. Show dialplan gives you 13 pages of A4 at 9point font, and going through it takes time, what makes it worse is the help for some of the new commands are next to nonexistant.

Lets hope the change to 1.6 wont be as bad…

Ian

There was a HUGE discussion on the asterisk users list about this.

Thanks for the heads up. This discussion starts here, I think:

lists.digium.com/pipermail/aster … 02349.html

Hmmm…

After reading that thread, I’d have to say that it doesn’t speak well for the growth of Asterisk.

It almost seems like everyone who is interested in Asterisk is already using it, and that there doesn’t seem to be any new interest.

I would have expected newer users to adopt version 1.4 and only the earlier users to have built something with 1.2.

Perhaps the growth of services like Skype have made things like Asterisk somewhat redundant?

Newer users are using Asterisk 1.4. The point was that the hundreds of older applications designed for Asterisk 1.0 and 1.2 now blow up with 1.4. See, for example, this link… and that’s just our applications.

As for Skype, it’s a point-to-point phone call. Asterisk is a full-fledged PBX. If you don’t know the difference, keep reading. :unamused:

Hi

I have to agree, I work on both commercial ( Mitel) systems and asterisk.

Mitel on the whole do not change old commands they add new ones but the old commands keep on working. This is based on experience of over 20 years. asterisk have changed 3 times for some commands. this is not good. I have a dialplan that is used for the “basic” setup that is now straight for 1.4 I dont want to change it again for 1.6

as to

Well thats only to be expected. Its hit a critical geek mass, its hitting the mainstream and will level out.

Ian

I absolutely know the difference between a point to point call and a whole PBX system… I’ve been doing telecom for 24 years, and have worked with everything from 1A2 key systems to VOIP.

My point is that most people setup a PBX and use it only to do point to point calls and voicemail. In my office every phone has a ‘conference’ button, and can connect 5 people in a conference call, but the users call an outside conference bridge. Figure THAT one out…

Most users DON’T need to be able to call a system, enter a few digits, have that system do an SQL look-up in a customer database, and launch another application to send that data to a fax machine formatted to look like a customer invoice… (or some such complicated operation.) Asterisk is just overkill for most users basic needs.

Users really just want to place and receive calls. They honestly don’t care if we’ve setup a local PBX extension they can call to hear a text to speech generated recording of the weather report for Montreal.

For most users, services like Skype are just fine and will supply all of their needs for communications. If there were no market for such things, the small systems made by companies like Panasonic would have died out years ago. But they still make them, and they still sell. There are more tools in the toolbox besides Asterisk.

I will concede one point. If you need a development platform, you would be hard pressed to find one that’s better than Asterisk. But face it… you’re asking a person who needs simple telecom features to learn an awful lot just to be able to place and receive a phone call. For those people, a Skype phone and Skype service can be an attractive option.

Case in point: A friend of mine runs a physical therapy business in upstate New York. I mentioned that I could build out her office space with a nice Asterisk system that could handle calls after hours, place calls to patients to remind them of appointments, etc… She just said no, and her only reason was that she doesn’t need anything beyond two analog lines in a hunt group, bridged to two other phones, and an answering machine.

Maybe someday, she’ll need more. But until then it doesn’t matter what version Asterisk system I’m working with. She’s not interested, simply because she doesn’t need it.

[quote=“dufus”]I absolutely know the difference between a point to point call and a whole PBX system… I’ve been doing telecom for 24 years, and have worked with everything from 1A2 key systems to VOIP.

My point is that most people setup a PBX and use it only to do point to point calls and voicemail. In my office every phone has a ‘conference’ button, and can connect 5 people in a conference call, but the users call an outside conference bridge. Figure THAT one out…

Most users DON’T need to be able to call a system, enter a few digits, have that system do an SQL look-up in a customer database, and launch another application to send that data to a fax machine formatted to look like a customer invoice… (or some such complicated operation.) Asterisk is just overkill for most users basic needs.

Users really just want to place and receive calls. They honestly don’t care if we’ve setup a local PBX extension they can call to hear a text to speech generated recording of the weather report for Montreal.

For most users, services like Skype are just fine and will supply all of their needs for communications. If there were no market for such things, the small systems made by companies like Panasonic would have died out years ago. But they still make them, and they still sell. There are more tools in the toolbox besides Asterisk.

I will concede one point. If you need a development platform, you would be hard pressed to find one that’s better than Asterisk. But face it… you’re asking a person who needs simple telecom features to learn an awful lot just to be able to place and receive a phone call.

Case in point: A friend of mine runs a physical therapy business in upstate New York. I mentioned that I could build out her office space with a nice Asterisk system that could handle calls after hours, place calls to patients to remind them of appointments, etc… She just said no, and her only reason was that she doesn’t need anything beyond two analog lines in a hunt group, bridged to two other phones, and an answering machine.

Maybe someday, she’ll need more. But until then it doesn’t matter what version Asterisk system I’m working with. She’s not interested, simply because she doesn’t need it.[/quote]

That last paragraph sums up everything…MAYBE SOMEDAY SHE’LL NEED MORE, …but she will discover she bought a POS proprietary system that has no expandability and will realize she spent thousands of dollars when she could have just went with your solution, Asterisk, and had anything she wanted now and later.

Man if customers just thought like me…

Hey ianplain you wanna know why I got into asterisk? Because we have a mitel sx200 at work and icp200 and between all the BS licensing and high price to do anything, and alot of the things they wanted you just cant do with that system. We ran into a guy who was into Asterisk, i thought it was fascinating and 1 year later and lots of long nights in front of the computer i can do most anything i believe…

Asterisk has seriously shaped my life and my future…it excites me (not sure how wierd that is lol)

Hey anyone know when 1.6 comes out? Hadn’t heard about that yet.

thanks!

[quote=“CustomGT”]

That last paragraph sums up everything…MAYBE SOMEDAY SHE’LL NEED MORE, …but she will discover she bought a POS proprietary system that has no expandability and will realize she spent thousands of dollars when she could have just went with your solution, Asterisk, and had anything she wanted now and later.[/quote]

Hardly… she probably spent no more than $100 on analog phones… (I think she got the answering machine at a yardsale…)

She kept her system simple, because she has simple needs. A point of view that I quite agree with.

Ah… there’s a problem…

You want the customer to think like YOU. You are supposed to think like the CUSTOMER.

If they need a simple system, build something simple. Even a huge organization can have simple calling and feature needs.

There’s no reason someone can’t add an Asterisk system later on to fill some unforeseen need. Also, adding Asterisk later doesn’t mean they have to entirely replace whats already there with an Asterisk based system. If all they want to add is a conference bridge, just build them a conference bridge. Adapt it to their current system and everyone is happy.

Funny thing is that I shake my head regularly when a doctor’s office receptionist calls to remind one of us of an appointment. Most doctors simply don’t appreciate that a computer could actually handle what they’re paying someone several hours a day to do manually.

Some features of Asterisk may be overkill for some offices, but I’ve worked in many organizations that originally worshipped their old black phones but now rejoice in the functionality that newer PBX systems provide. The key to the transition was education. As a friend once remarked, the higher I go in an organization’s hierarchy, the more adamant folks become in their ignorance.

[quote=“dufus”][quote=“CustomGT”]

That last paragraph sums up everything…MAYBE SOMEDAY SHE’LL NEED MORE, …but she will discover she bought a POS proprietary system that has no expandability and will realize she spent thousands of dollars when she could have just went with your solution, Asterisk, and had anything she wanted now and later.[/quote]

Hardly… she probably spent no more than $100 on analog phones… (I think she got the answering machine at a yardsale…)

She kept her system simple, because she has simple needs. A point of view that I quite agree with.

Ah… there’s a problem…

You want the customer to think like YOU. You are supposed to think like the CUSTOMER.

If they need a simple system, build something simple. Even a huge organization can have simple calling and feature needs.

There’s no reason someone can’t add an Asterisk system later on to fill some unforeseen need. Also, adding Asterisk later doesn’t mean they have to entirely replace whats already there with an Asterisk based system. If all they want to add is a conference bridge, just build them a conference bridge. Adapt it to their current system and everyone is happy.[/quote]

myself wouldnt classify her setup as a telephone system. I consider a telephone system as some sort of pbx. She has what every american basicly has at thier thier house.

what i kind of mean is meant for everything in general. People most the time see things as Money. They dont look at the future for expandibility.
“Hey lets put a shelf up for those books” - Well they dont think what if i get more books lets make that shelf big enough for those too…
They just think well the small shelf is cheaper and will do what we need to do now. THen when they have to get the bigger one they will have spent more between the two if they would have just thought ahead…

i think im just rambling lol

but yea we still use our mitel, i just integrated asterisk into it for more features…