FreePBX design discussion

(Avayax) #67

That is probably why a major revamp of the GUI won’t and shouldn’t happen any time soon.
I think it’s fine the way it is and whether things are organized in tabs or in long lists like they used to be, it doesn’t matter much to me from an admin perspective. Do you really think FreePBX was easier go configure in e.g. 2.11? To me there is not much difference in complexity, it does look prettier now though which is good.

In my opinion this is to a great degree due to how 3cx is marketed. The big seller are the UC mobile clients,video conferencing, screen sharing and that stuff.
They show this to people and it’s an eye catcher that gets them excited.

(TheJames) #68

Crosstalk makes content to
Help people both new and old
Chris even hosted a training class to teach people FreePBX just last month.
Promote his own business
Talk about and play with cool tech.

Not everyone is a programmer. Many make a living on FREE as in beer software. They contribute back to the project with their skill set

@billsimon for example contributes code and community support
@miken32 contributes code a lot

These guys don’t do it because developers are too lazy to write documentation.

That type of accusation cheapens their efforts and is a bit insulting.

These guys are very bright and should be recognized for what they do.

(Charles Darwin) #69

Isn‘t the structure of the freePBX GUI still based on Trixbox? New tabs and features were added over the years…very slowly…
Some features or settings are located where they are, because of a stepwise development…
@AdHominem … you mentioned the floating submit-button. I think it is actually one of the few revolutions in freePBX development…so someone does not have to scroll down to save the changes :wink:

If a new user understands the basics trunk>incoming route>etc freePBX isn’t that complicated to use. Google is your friend. Yet, new users should not try to set up Cisco phones with freePBX…they are better off with the new Sangoma D-Series phones.
The only problem in the past was, when a new feature was introduced it broke, on average, three old ones…but things greatly improved :wink:

(TheJames) #70

Trixbox used the FreePBX (asterisk@home) GUI. It was the easiest way to install FreePBX at the time.

The floating submit was added exactly for the reason you mentioned. There was 8 of us in a small conference room in Wisconsin. We were going through and kicking of 13. At the time of the discussion there were no tabs but there were some forms longer than a drug store receipt. Some may have had a hundred fields. If you went in to edit something simple you had the dig a hole to the center of the Earth to press submit. @bwalters actually said hang on, let me try something. Poof the floating submit was born. Now you could simply submit the page from anywhere on the page. Also the mission with 13 was uniformity. The “uniformity guidelines” were born. Every module in every page should look as close as possible. If you knew one or two modules of FreePBX any other module should come naturally.

We introduced info Wells at the top of many/most of the modules so a person starting out could know what that page actually did.

Tool tips were uniformity added to each field to help users know what each field did.

As much as everyone loves a good geocities page modernizations serve a purpose.

The design implemented at the time was Bootstrap which uses a series of uniform components originally developed by Twitter.

Modern UX principals are meant to make things more friendly for “non engineers”. Had this been written today it probably would have followed the Material UI standards originally developed by Google.

These principals come from research that cost these companies millions. Why? Because the easier and more asthetic a product, the more people will want to use it.

The purpose of A@H/FreePBX is to make Asterisk usable for everybody. People are free to fly old-school and write dialplans and configuration files. For some tasks FreePBX is overkill. I have written several platforms using asterisk that need a small bit of dialplans and nothing more.

But it’s awful people hate it. Yes over the years every single change, some bug fixes etc. Have drawn critiques. The funny thing is it is always from the same 1%. That’s right most users love the stuff or are indifferent. But there is that small fraction that simply want to be relevant and make a fuss about everything.

Are all decisions right? No, some were reverted. Some choices had to be rethought out through constructive feedback.

A former CEO once told me about the 2% jerk factor. He said you do everything perfect and you will at best satisfy 98% of the people. There is always those 2% who have to project their issues on you and what you do. It’s nothing you did or didn’t do. That 2% is always present. Acknowledge them for what they are and do your job.

That advice came from my first employer. His words have been with me ever since.

Dare I say over the last decade in open source there may be a 10% jerk factor but over all people are good and we have to accept the people who can’t find happiness for who and what they are.

(TheJames) #71

My first FreePBX install without trixbox took almost an hour iirc


Most web browsers have a keyboard shortcut that will jump to the bottom of the page. It will take you right to where the submit button used to be. In contrast, the floating submit button won’t clear the bottom of the page, so it often covers up the last entry altogether. By adding the floating submit button, you added a solution to a problem that already had a solution, but created a new problem that doesn’t have a solution.

IMO- Tooltips were one of the best things you guys added, though they’re hardly uniform. Feature Codes modules doesn’t have them. Some are too short to provide useful information. A few are (were) outright wrong. But, overall, I strongly approve of that change.

Agreed. And the UI of FreePBX doesn’t seem to follow many of those principles.

For example, modern UX principles never guide you to make changes based upon the consensus of 8 guys in a room in Wisconsin. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with having 8 guys in a small room in Wisconsin. It’s just that, ideally, you’d get some user input before you make changes to the user interface. If you had lots of resources, you’d use focus groups. Alternatively, you happen to have a forum with some very supportive and vocal users who would be glad to give you their thoughts.

Just compare the configuration pages for Gmail, for example, or Chrome, with those of FreePBX. The differences are striking. Gmail and Chrome both have lists longer than a drugstore receipt. FreePBX’s configuration pages are shorter than a 3x5 card. And by adding tabs, you actually made the CTRL-F search function in my browser less useful. Instead of adding tabs to make each page shorter than a 3x5 card, why not add a search bar (another feature that is prominent on Google’s UI)?

You’ll also find no pull-down menus at the very top of the configuration pages of Chrome or Gmail. Yet the only way to get to a module in FreePBX is using a pull down, several of which actually have so many entries that you had to scroll through them to find what you need.

Note that I’m not talking about pull downs to select an option, which Gmail and Chrome do use. I’m referring to pull down menus that are used to get yourself to the correct screen.

I haven’t observed that. Rather, I’ve seen lots of different people post criticisms about lots of different changes, often with ad hominem responses from the devs (i.e., telling them to stop posting, get counselling, or implying that those who complain are “jerks”). A lot of them gave up, left the forums, and never came back.

Some of the people who were chased away were the most ardent, vocal advocates for FreePBX. Most of them spent hundreds of hours of their own time writing how to guides. At risk of being called out for repeating myself, I lament the leaving of WiseOldOwl and MichiganTelephone. There are many others, but I don’t remember all of their names…

(Charles Darwin) #73

You claim that you want to improve things for beginners and at the same time suggest that if one wants to submit changes, he should use the keyboard shortcut of the browser to jump to the bottom of the page. That‘s exactly what beginners do…all the time :wink:

I never experienced a problem with the floating submit button. What screen resolution do you use? 640x480?


My first goal is helping make things easier for beginners. That goal is primarily achieved through having good documentation, and ensuring that GUI changes don’t make the documentation obsolete. The floating vs. fixed submit button is totally irrelevant to that concern, as making the submit button float isn’t such a radical change that it breaks any documentation.

My other goal is to make configuration faster for experienced users. The floating GUI button falls into this latter category. An experienced user will likely know about his browsers keyboard shortcut for jumping to the bottom of the page, as well as his browser’s search function. Adding the floating GUI does nothing to aid the experienced user because he would already have known about the keyboard shortcuts for his browser (and if he didn’t, putting that note in the documentation would have solved that concern as well).

But, adding the floating submit button created a new problem that didn’t previously exist. If you are attempting to edit the very last item on any given page, the floating submit button will often cover the text entry field for that entry. If you don’t happen to need to edit the last entry on a particular screen, you won’t notice the issue.

It makes no difference what screen resolution I use. But, to answer your question, like anyone with a modern LCD, I use whatever is native to the screen that I happen to be using at the time. My laptop has a very different resolution that my quad-monitor desktop screens, but the problem exists on both of them.

(Charles Darwin) #75

Cannot replicate your problem with the floating submit button neither on MacOS Safari/Firefox nor on Linux Mint (Firefox).
On the Linux Mint machine, which is the server of my freePBX-VM I use a HDMI dummy (display emulator) to increase resolution during a VNC session.


Here’s a sample. My laptop uses a widscreen format, so its not as obnoxious. On my desktop monitors (quad 4x3) it almost always covers up the end of the registration strings… This is just one page where I remember it being an issue. There are others where the title of the field is longer and the floating submit is larger (because it includes submit, duplicate, etc.):

(Charles Darwin) #77

Is this the field of the incoming trunk settings? If yes…when you enter some text, doesn‘t it appear on the left side of the field?

Anyway…you are right, it should be fixed. An easy fix would be a minimize feature of the floating submit button.

EDIT: Isn’t it already there? What about the double arrow?

(Lorne Gaetz) #78

The submit buttons obscuring the final field on a page is only an issue for me when I’m using my phone to browse the GUI. In those cases you must collapse them to see the final field. Frankly, this doesn’t bother me, since I don’t ever use my phone for FreePBX, but it could work better. Please open a ticket.


Yet another reason to choose PJSIP!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

(TheJames) #80

PJSip is a fad. A conspiracy used to bring back the sell of pogs. @jcolp loves pogs. He has a box of slammers collecting dust.

(Joshua C. Colp) #81

I like trains.

(Tom Ray) #82

Wait, I thought you were the “I like turtles” kid from youtube.

(Tom Ray) #83

So I’m sitting here playing around with my v15 sandbox and it has brought up something that has always bugged me. Why does the OSS install of FreePBX distro need to have all the extra crap for commercial modules installed by default? Do I really need the Zulu server or the Java server running if I’m not using Zulu or iSymphony? Do I need all the Sangoma CRM stuff in the dialplan and running AGI when I’m not licensed to use it? I mean it could just be me but I generally end up going and disabling crap because even though it isn’t licensed or being used there is still stuff running on the server which eats at the resources for no reason.

So do you think that commercial modules should be installed when activated/licensed?

  • Install Commercial Modules When Licensed
  • Keep Commercial Modules Installed by Default

0 voters


I think this is the crux of the argument here.

I agree the interface is a bit of a dog’s breakfast and I’d be willing to bet that neither Sangoma or its predecessors have ever spent the money on a comprehensive review by a UX specialist. Until they’re willing to pay for that, and then put the resources into implementing the recommended changes, it’s not going to see any significant improvements.

It is what it is, and the community just has to accept that this project is run by a corporation who will direct resources towards whatever provides them the best financial ROI.

(TheJames) #85

Commercial modules come bundled in the distro which is also a commercial product.

A standalone install of FreePBX installs no commercial modules. Often commercial modules won’t work in stand alone installs.

(Andrew Nagy) #87

Yes. If you click the double arrow it hides the “action bar” (as it’s called)