PBX Software Development
February 1, 2007 8:07 AM   Subscribe

How would one start developing software to interface with a PBX?

I work with a Nortel PBX, and was musing that it would be nice to get away from accessing it via telnet and have some sort of GUI interface instead. In reality, it would simply be an interesting project to see if what I could come up with.

I was a web application developer for the about 5 years until I took my current position, so I have coding experience. But almost all of my programming was done in ASP.NET and VB.NET, and a tiny bit of C#. I learnt a smattering of Java back in the day, but it's really a hazy memory at this point. In fact, I haven't even written a line of code since late 2005.

I simply have no idea how I would start programming against the PBX. I have ideas, but I'm not sure how to go about implementing them.

Anyone have any pointers they could pass on?
posted by smcniven to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I would imagine that Nortel would have the resources necessary to get you started.
posted by mmascolino at 9:08 AM on February 1, 2007

Nortel might have a set of APIs that would guide your language choice, but you might also consider writing a frontend that uses a telnet library to interact with the existing interface. Just a thought.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:12 AM on February 1, 2007

Sort of related...the Asterisk open-source PBX is very extensible in this regard. There's plenty of web guis for the system as well as Manager APIs in C, Java, and Ruby.
posted by toastchee at 10:40 AM on February 1, 2007

I administer a Lucent Definity PBX, and I can tell you that their official administration tool (Definity Site Administration, a.k.a. Avaya Site Administration) seems to be entirely based on the regular terminal interface.

The forms are the same, only presented in a GUI way with input fields turned into textboxes. The generated listings use a Windows list control, but the fields are the same (and have the same length limitations.) I'm guessing it was done this way so they could validate and quality-check a single interface, so you may find that your Nortel works the same way.
posted by pocams at 10:45 AM on February 1, 2007

Response by poster: spaceman: I was thinking that accessing it through telnet was probably the easiest way of doing it. I just wasn't sure about how to go about doing it. Now that I know there are telnet resource I could add a reference to it might make it easier.

pocams: that's kind of what I'm looking for. Or something so I can view a list of ACDs without having to print them out and import them into a spreadsheet etc.. Or adding a unit quickly.
posted by smcniven at 11:57 AM on February 1, 2007

You might want to check your Nortel docs and see if your PBX's guts can be got at via SNMP as well as Telnet (the Telnet stuff may well be just a UI on top of an underlying SNMP layer). The advantage would be that they're unlikely to move SNMP MIBs around from one version to the next, even if they decide to do violence to the Telnet interface.
posted by flabdablet at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2007

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