20 January 2016

Back in 2010, in collaboration with Star2Star Communications, I wrote a Lua scripting library for FreeSWITCH called Jester. Its most marketable highlight was a profile that offered a complete drop-in replacement for Asterisk’s Comedian Mail.

My deeper motivation for writing it was to try and bring some sanity and consistency to the process of implementing more advanced voice workflows. This motiviation arose from my own experience of the mishmash of dialplan XML and one-off Lua scripts that still to this day forms the foundation of my first major VoIP system. I began to believe that there must be a better way – if the goal was to do any number of fairly common things, like grab data from a database, send an email, talk to a webservice – can’t we basically standardize those into reusable units? So, Jester…

Fast forward to 2016, and my toolkit, through almost complete lack of maintenance, had become legacy code. In addition, the years had revealed both the strengths and weaknesses of my original efforts, and I wanted to do something about it.

In the last few weeks, I took the first big steps to revive and reshape Jester for a new and improved release. A lot of the hard work is now done:

  • Updated the entire codebase to be compatible with all 5.x versions of Lua, which means it will now run on anything from the terrifically old FreeSWITCH 1.0.7 to the very latest code.

  • Complete refactoring/update of the user documentation, now available online and nicely formatted.

  • Preserved the original Asterisk Comedian Mail replica, so it can still be used as a drop in replacement for those moving from Asterisk to FreeSWITCH

  • Good progress on handling some of the original architectural issues

Going forward, I’d love to get some other people on board with the project, particularly those interested in helping to turn Jester into a solid, well-used library for the land beyond the dialplan. I think the biggest reason for the initial flaws was that I didn’t have any other eyes on my designs.

Please do contact me if you’re interested in teaming up.