Having a tool that can do 100% of the most common cases and 90% of all cases is really great. However, there’s always going to be that 10% of cases that give you trouble.
When you’re using a product that sets clear limits on functionality to the most common cases, that’s fine. But, if you’re using a full-featured call centre suite, that last 10% definitely needs to be in. In the Indosoft Visual Dialplan Builder, it’s simple to construct a dialplan to meet most needs.
Every once in a while though, you find that uncommon need.
A few examples of the sorts of things that have been required in the past are:
- Carrier specific SIP headers that have to be set on a call.
- Creating a MeetMe conference with specific settings during a call flow.
- Calling a custom AGI that’s been written specifically for a single need.
- Testing integration for nonstandard or little-used Asterisk components.
Unless these are tasks that are asked for by multiple clients, it doesn’t make sense to customize the software if there is a simpler way to make the change.
In some cases, appending to the dialplan context by including another file is a possible way to do things. Unfortunately, if the unusual events need to be handled in a particular sequence,the include won’t do the trick. You also want to make sure any changes are near where they are being used, and can manage the changes from the admin screens.
We have encountered this situation often enough that we created an “escape hatch”. We call it the “Execute Command” option.
“Execute Command” allows you to specify the dialplan command to be called, using the precise syntax that you would use in Asterisk. Unfortunately it does require you to know the syntax. If you’re at all familiar with creating Asterisk dialplans by hand, it’s usually not too much trouble to look the exact syntax on a resource such as voip-info.org.
Using “Execute Command”, you can do such things as manipulating the caller ID, sending those SIP headers that your telco requires, calling new AGIs, and anything else that can be done in Asterisk dialplan.
You definitely need to know the syntax before you can use “Execute Command”, as whatever you type in gets written out into the dial plan. You definitely need to test your dial plan, observe the Asterisk console as you’re doing your test calls, and make sure that it is doing what you expect it to. Of course it’s not an option that should be done without consulting an Asterisk expert.