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Digium Announces Improvements to Asterisk 14

September 29, 2016
By Alicia Young - Web Editor

Digium, Inc., the Asterisk (News - Alert) Company, made a major announcement yesterday at its annual AstriCon users and developers conference. The company unveiled Asterisk 14, the next in line of their open source communications platform. Asterisk 14 continues along the same path as previous major releases, such as Asterisk 12 and Asterisk 13, but has several improvements. For instance, it offers developer- and administrator-focused features and capabilities to simplify the scaling and deployment of Asterisk within large, service-based ecosystems. That’s not all though; the various improvements show that Digium (News - Alert) has listened to suggestions and taken action to better their product.

There were several adjustments made to the newest addition of Digitum’s open source communications platform. Perhaps most important are the improvements made to Asterisk 14’s media API. It now includes remote media playback capabilities and a fully featured media cache. This is a big change, when you look at what previous versions had to offer. They required media files to be stored locally on the Asterisk server; remote media could not be accessed in real-time, which was annoying for both developers and administrators who wanted to integrate Asterisk with other applications.

Thankfully with Asterisk 14, media can be retrieved on-demand from remote web services, played back and cached for future playback. This functionality makes it possible to use several Asterisk systems without having to individually manage their media. It also allows Asterisk to operate better overall.

Improvements were also made to the Asterisk RESTful Interface (ARI). New capabilities include ARI media retrieval and media playlists. With older versions, live recordings of calls could be made using ARI, but the recorded audio could not be retrieved using ARI. Instead, additional software needed to be installed alongside Asterisk, adding an extra, unnecessary step. While it was useful to record audio, the convenience was lessened by the fact that you could not easily access it after. With the new release, recorded media can now be retrieved directly from ARI.

On the same note, the ARI was complicated for developers as well, who had to write overly complex codes in order to individually schedule the playback of media file – this inevitably made roll-out of new user-services more difficult. With Asterisk 14, developers can rest easy, as sets of media can be played using a single command.

There were a variety of other changes made before releasing Asterisk 14, including simplified system deployment and new domain name service capabilities. One of the biggest problems people had with previous versions was actually installing it. Based on the changes that have been made, it’s clear that Digium was paying attention to user feedback over the years.

The company is excited for this new launch, and thinks that it will make a difference for users. Matt Fredrickson, project lead for Asterisk with Digium, expressed this sentiment by saying, “For administrators using Asterisk in large, horizontally scalable service-based ecosystems, the additions and improvements made in version 14 are significant.”

He continued on to say, “Asterisk's enhanced media capabilities make it easier to build flexible media services and to decrease maintenance and deployment burdens. Asterisk 14 also resolves one of the greatest initial barriers to being productive - learning how to install it. Further, the DNS improvements in Asterisk 14 allow it to more fully utilize modern networks. We are extremely fortunate to have such an involved developer community that continues to make Asterisk a huge success.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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