Posts categorized "Programming"

Voxeo Unleashes PhonoSDK 0.2, a jQuery Module for Voice and Chat In the Browser

Phono shadow 1How about some echo suppression for voice calls directly from your web browser? That was the big news out of the Voxeo Labs team yesterday with the release of version 0.2 of the PhonoSDK... no more headsets required! Just click the Phono button on your website and start talking!

If you aren't aware of Phono, back in October Voxeo released the Phono SDK, letting you easily add in voice or chat directly into your website. The way to think about is this... traditionally, websites have had a "click-to-call" button that would call you and call a call center and bridge the two calls together. For this to work, you have to typically enter your phone number into the phone.

Phono changes that by running a softphone client directly in your web browser. So instead of entering your phone number, you simply push the button and start talking to your browser. (For those interested, we posted about the architecture, which uses a mixture of XMPP/Jingle and SIP. Phono itself is a jQuery module/library/app/whatever-you-want-to-call-it that you reference in your web page.)

Phono received a good bit of attention and we posted a lot of content about it online, including sample apps, tutorials, videos and more. The source code, too, is all available online.

One thing that always bothered us, though, was that you needed a headset for Phono to really work well... and so we spent a great amount of time working on echo suppression so that people could ditch the headset and just talk to their computer. Given that on the development side we're all Mac users, we're used to apps like Skype where you don't really need a headset. We wanted Phono to be the same.

So now we've done it... PhonoSDK version 0.2 is out! We're thrilled with how it came out and are looking forward to seeing what people build with it. If you want to try it out, simply go to, check out the documentation and get started!

Full disclosure: In case the "we" usage above wasn't enough to clue you in, Phono is a product of my employer, Voxeo. But even if that weren't the case, I'd still write about Phono simply because it's cool... and it's disruptive.

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Tim Panton: Contrasting Digium and Skype's Developer Programs and Outreach


Longtime telephony developer Tim Panton wrote a great story this morning contrasting recent developer outreach from Digium with that of Skype:

The way to create a new product or service when you already have one.

I do agree with Tim that Digium did a great job in reaching out to the community in developing the Asterisk SCF... and I do unfortunately agree with Tim that this continues to be an area where Skype struggles. Skype is now on perhaps its 5th or 6th iteration of a "developer program"... maybe more... I've lost track, quite honestly, over all these years... still working on finding a program that builds a strong ecosystem of developers around Skype. They've hired some great people at Skype... and I'm hopeful that their newer work with SkypeKit will be positive... but we'll have to see.

[In full disclosure, my employer Voxeo has been involved with Skype's developer programs for a long time, dating back to the first "Voice Services" program back in 2005/2006 (which was later discontinued) and continues to be involved in Skype programs. However, I've not been directly involved in those programs on Voxeo's behalf.]

Tim also pointed to this great TechCrunch guest post back on November 8th about Symbian:

Guest post: Symbian OS – one of the most successful failures in tech history

The final paragraph - and final sentence - is so incredibly critical in this space:

The lesson for Meego, and other pretenders to the crown is, perhaps to look after your developers with useful APIs and powerful tools both inside and outside of your organisation. Find the right balance between efficiency and ease of development. Look after all of your developers and your developers will look after you.

Indeed... "Look after all of your developers and your developers will look after you."

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Update on Phono, a jQuery plugin to simply add voice/chat to your web app: More tutorials, videos, available...

phono-shadow.jpgHave you played yet with Phono, the new way to add a phone or chat client to your web app, directly from within your web browser? Two weeks ago, when Phono was announced at the jQuery conference in Boston, I wrote about how Phono lets you "rewire the real-time web". In the time since, the Voxeo Labs team and I have been busy cranking out tutorials, videos and blog posts showing how people can build cool apps with Phono. A page is now up summarizing many of the new resources at:

If you have no idea what Phono is all about, that page also provides a great way to learn more. There are sample applications like "Facebook Telephone" and "Twelephone" for Twitter. There's a "Kitchen Sink" example that you can use to get started right away... the Phono Blog, too, is filled with ideas and new ways to add voice or IM to your website or web application, including a WordPress plugin that lets you add a "Call" button to your WordPress blog

It's all cool stuff, to me... and interesting because it makes it even easier to connect people to your company or organization from your website. My next area to explore is using Phono as an embedded chat client... we've had some blog posts up now about how to do that. It's time for me to check that out!

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Checked out the redesigned lately? (Voice, SMS, IM, Twitter apps...)

Have you visited lately?  Have you used it to create any apps for voice, text messaging (SMS), IM or Twitter?   The Voxeo Labs team just gave the Tropo site a major overhaul ... added a new video intro... added more sample applications in JavaScript, PHP, python, ruby and Groovy... added more documentation... and just generally gave the site a new fresh look. If you haven't stopped by lately, do come by and check it out.

If you are looking for a cloud communications platform to build new voice, SMS, IM or Twitter apps on, sign up for a free Tropo account and get started today! Redesign

P.S. You can also follow Tropo on Twitter or Facebook - and yes, if you haven't figured it out, Tropo is a service of my employer, Voxeo. But even if I didn't work for Voxeo, I still would find Tropo very cool!

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Phono - Your new, free tool for Rewiring the Real-time Web!

phonolivesintheweb.jpgWhat if you could have customers call in to your call center from directly within your web browser?  No "click to call" that calls them back on their cell phone... but literally just press a button on your web site and start talking?  And get connected directly to the team appropriate to the web page rather than a generic inbox?

What if you could do this with more than just voice... but also video?  screen sharing?  with better audio quality than the legacy telephony network (the PSTN)?

What if you could also add in live chat sessions directly from your website? Giving you true multi-channel interaction with your customers?

And what if you could do this without any downloads by the customer?

Even better... what if this could be done with your branding? and connecting to ANY IP communications system?

Announcing Phono

Today at the JQuery Conference in Boston, the Voxeo Labs team is announcing Phono a new software development kit that lets you create apps just like the ones I mentioned. It's free, it's "skinnable" and it works with any systems that use SIP or XMPP (Jabber). More info here:

The Phono SDK is free to download and use. You can also naturally follow Phono on Twitter or Facebook.

You can use it to connect to your IP-PBX... to applications on platforms like Tropo... or really any other IP communications / Unified Communications platform.

FAR More Than Just A Softphone

That last part is really the point... the Phono SDK being shown today is far more than "just" a softphone. Sure... that's what some of the first reference implementations are all about. Things like Twelephone that let you easily call all your Twitter friends... or Facebook Telephone that lets you call your Facebook Friends. You'll see some more apps like that in the coming weeks.

But Phono is more than that...

Phono is a toolkit for Rewiring the Real-time Web

We as an industry need to drop the shackles of the legacy telephone network... we need to move beyond the PSTN in true rich collaboration between people... wherever they may be.

Voice, chat, video, screensharing... whatever mode they want to work in... from basic web browsers to mobile devices...

Phono is our contribution to that... and to taking away friction from developers wanting to build communications apps that make the most of the new tools and media we have available to us.

Try it out!

We're excited to see what you'll do with it!

Extra bonus... here's a video intro:

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Creating voice, SMS, IM and Twitter apps using Node.js and Tropo

nodejs.jpgI freely admit to being intrigued by all the various new tools (frameworks, platforms, etc.) that are springing up to aid in the rapid creation of web sites and services. One such intriguing tool is Node.js, a way to build event-driven scalable applications using plain old JavaScript. It's truly a fast way to get web apps up using a language known by most web developers.

So I was naturally pleased to see the Voxeo Labs team come out with a post "Use Node.js & Javascript to Write Your Tropo Apps" explaining how you could build communications apps using and the new Tropo Web API library for Node.js created by Mark Headd (who does not work for Voxeo but likes to develop apps on Voxeo's platforms). The Node.js library for Tropo can be found up on Github at:

You create your app using Node.js and then login to Tropo and create an app there pointing to the URL where your Node.js server is running. In Tropo you can then add phone numbers to the app for both voice and texting/SMS, add instant messaging IDs for most major networks (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber) and add a Twitter ID, too. One app connecting to all those different channels.

The Tropo team followed up with another Node.js sample app... this one showing how you could do voice recording.

All in all pretty cool stuff for JavaScript developers to build apps with!

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Interested in Open Government? 24-Hour Open Gov Hackathon at GnomeDex this weekend

24houropengovernmenthackathon.jpgAre you interested in creating applications that can open up government? Apps that can give people better access to government data?

If so... and if you are in the Seattle area or are attending the GnomeDex event happening this weekend, you can join in to the 24 Hour Open Government Hackathon starting at 5pm tomorrow, August 21st, at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. Here's the basic info:

Who Should Attend?
Ruby, Python, PHP, web developers, coders and anyone who has a passion to code, hack or kluge applications that will free (or otherwise enhance) the accessability and usefulness of government-shared data. Although the sprint takes place August 21-22 during Gnomedex10 in Seattle, you don't have to be attending the conference to join us. Participation is free and open to anyone...we just ask that you register in advance so we know how many individuals or teams we need to accomodate. What's Going to Happen?
The nature of the Hackathon will be fairly free-form. Hackathon Partners will have organizers onsite to help get things rolling initially. At the end of the 24 hours, each app will be evaluated by the Hackathon Partners and prizes will be awarded to those teams or individuals that develop the best applications in the 24 hour period.

It sounds like a great time! I won't be there... but I know many of the folks attending. (The Tropo cloud communications service, one of the services of my employer, Voxeo, is one of the sponsors of the hackathon.)

Registration for the event is free... you just have to get to the Seattle hotel tomorrow at 5pm.

Here are some posts from others about the event:

I'm very much looking forward to seeing what applications will emerge from the event.

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Calling all Ruby telephony developers -> AdhearsionConf 2010 starts this weekend in SF!

adhearsionconf.jpgJust one day left until AdhearsionConf 2010 opens in San Francisco tomorrow. The schedule looks outstanding and I know that the Voxeo Labs team is already on site getting everything ready. I've seen via Twitter that some hardcore Ruby telephony developers are already enroute.... should be a great time!

Sadly, my schedule doesn't allow me to be there, but the good news is that if you are unable to get there in person, you can follow along on the UStream channel:

If you are in the SF area, or can get there, check out more info about the conference at:

Great to see an event like this happening!

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Voxeo Continues Acquisitions with Cloud Communications Startup Teleku

telekulogo.jpgToday we announced over on the Voxeo blogs and in a news release that Voxeo has acquired Teleku, a startup letting developers quickly create voice, SMS and IM applications using a RESTful API from common web programming languages. Om Malik had a piece up at GigaOm: Voxeo Gobbles Up Teleku. We have a page up linking to articles like that one, a FAQ and providing other info:

I had a chance to sit down with Teleku founder Chris Matthieu and record this video about the news:

I'm admittedly biased, but I'm looking forward to what both Teleku and Chris will bring to Voxeo. It's a fun time right now!

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Adhearsion open source telephony framework has new source code repository

adhearsionlogo.jpgI've long been a fan of the work that Jay Phillips did to create the Adhearsion open source telephony framework and so I was delighted to read today of news of its future. To give some context, Jay first created Adhearsion a number of years back because he was frustrated with how hard it was to create dial plans with the open source Asterisk PBX. So Jay went off and created a framework where a programmer could use the Ruby programming language to very simply create voice applications.

Jay went on to team up with Jason Goecke to further develop Adhearsion and then last year Jay and Jason joined Voxeo (my employer) to create Voxeo Labs out in San Francisco. While Jay has since moved on, Jason continues to move Adhearsion forward and announced today that Adhearsion has a new home on Github ... and hinted at much greater plans in store. I'm looking forward to seeing what all they may be...

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