We have released version 69.0.0 for Linux, MacOS and Vodia IO/IOP
Back in the ‘90s at the Technische Universität Berlin, the professors used to tell us hardware projects take 2× longer than planned and software projects take 5× longer. Our release plan for version 69 was ambitious, but at least it didn’t take 5× longer than we planned!
Part of the reason is we didn’t include everything on our wish list for the release — we pushed some of these items into later version 69 updates. This helps us ship many new, exciting features today while working on the next releases.
One item on the wish list we haven’t yet gotten to is the Windows build. It isn’t a big one, but because of the reorganization of the internal threading we also need to change a few things specifically for Windows. Because we are mostly developing in Linux, we decided the Windows build is something we should work on after the release, and it will be done within a few weeks.
That being said, we did for the first time include a new platform: the 69 build is now available as a template on Amazon EC2 for easy installation and deployment. We are starting with EC2 because it’s a widely available cloud service and we understand it well enough to create an instance; we will write and post something separate about this exciting new method of running the PBX in the cloud.
We have also added an install script for AlmaLinux. More and more servers are running on AlmaLinux, which we gladly include on the list of operating systems on which the PBX can run. The script now uses a one-time password to bolster security during installation.
The most exciting part of the new release is the new front end — we are convinced the user-facing front end will play a crucial role in the coming years in delivering increased value to our end users. We were happy with our 67/68 front end, but we thought we could improve it and we ended up rebuilding it entirely. Version 69 puts the Vodia PBX front end on a solid foundation for years to come.
I’m really excited about what you can do today with HTML5. I have to admit we had to learn a lot about grid layout, custom elements and other things today’s web designers probably laugh about but, together with our WebRTC backend, I believe we have come up with a clever way of making a soft phone that works on practically all platforms that run a browser. This makes the PBX even more widely available, and it makes it possible for us to deliver a huge range of features without having to worry about SIP or any other standard.
On the subject of solid ground, the login procedure was also something we needed to revise. Passkeys have more or less — and silently — become available on all platforms, and users are slowly getting in touch with them. At the risk of being at the vanguard, we decided to go with it and use it for logging in. Yes, you can still use passwords, and it might be acceptable for your users who use a password manager, but it’s far less hassle if there’s no way to enter trivial passwords, at least for the people who have to run the service. This also eliminates the need for a second factor, as this is baked into the clients’ passkey implementations (we will shortly publish a blog post with all of the details).
The last thing I want to mention is our new integration platform. We are convinced in the coming years that all business software programs will have to communicate with each other. Our REST API does its part when it comes to receiving requests, and this has been a great feature for many of our partners, but our new framework initiates requests whenever something happens — typically when a call reaches the PBX or when someone disconnects a call. Believe it or not, we came up with documentation for this before the release this time! We will have more to write about our integration framework later this year. We are also excited to work with third party software vendors on integrating their interfaces with our PBX.
There are major, ongoing changes in the enterprise communications industry. Well-established players have missed out on a number of important innovations and are thus struggling to maintain their end-user base. With the release of 69, we are offering an alternative that works well for SMBs and for larger organizations. I see a tremendous opportunity for Vodia and, especially, our partners, to address this market in 2023 and in the years to come.
What they also told us in the ‘90s was, “never change a running system.” In other words, if everything works fine, there’s no need to upgrade your PBX — version 68 is quite stable, and we have no plan to change this. Version 69 is the right version for you if you want to install a new PBX, if your users ask for any of our new features or if you just want to take a peek.
As with every major release, it will take a little time before the dust has settled. I promise we’ll release updates quickly.
At Vodia, we are excited to have you with us on this journey. I am convinced this year will be another year of great things happening in the communications industry. Let’s all be part of it!
CEO and President