Asterisk, and other worldly endeavours.

A blog by Leif Madsen

Posts Tagged ‘review

Asterisk: The Definitive Guide — Call For Reviewers!

Here is the text I posted to the asterisk-doc mailing list this morning. You can sign up for asterisk-doc at and get involved! We’d love to make this the best book on Asterisk ever, and your input can make that true! Our goal is to build a book for, and by, the Asterisk community.

Hey all!

We’re getting VERY close to having the first draft of the next Asterisk book, Asterisk: The Definitive Guide ready to be sent off to production. We’re very close to meeting our target dates, but our review timeline is very tight. Only about 2 weeks!

Each morning we’re continuing to work on the book, taking in your comments, reviewing chapters, testing dialplan and installation steps, and all that good stuff.

However, we’ve been looking at this book since May 2010 and our eyes are starting to get glazed 🙂 We’d love for the community to have a look at the book and offer some constructive criticism.

It’s far too late to take requests for things to cover. What we have is what we’re going to get in for this edition. After we finish this book though we plan on continuing to update it, so there will be a chance to take suggestions again soon.

For now, head on over to and check out the book (updated this morning). There are a couple of bugs in the OFPS software which are causing comments to not be available after chapter 8, but we’re hoping to have those resolved by Friday. However, we do have this fancy mailing list that we can use.

Russell, Jim and myself will be monitoring this list for comments, and we’ll try and get all of them satisfied before publication. If there is a particular area we’re covering that you’re an expert in, we’d love to have you focus on that chapter. You can email me back directly for more information on what we might be looking for in that type of situation.

We do have editors to help with grammar and spelling, but pointing anything out is certainly useful. The best use of your time though is testing the dialplan snippets, the installation instructions for both Ubuntu and CentOS (we’re covering two Linux distributions this time around, which increases the testing load significantly), and making sure anything we’re explaining is concise, relates to what we’re talking about, and makes sense. The goal is to build an Asterisk system from scratch, so following through our dialplan via the chapters to make sure it all continues to build on itself would be ideal.

Additionally, if you see any sections which say, “see chapter XXX for more information” that are not links, please let us know, as those are meant to be placeholders until the chapters existed and we could link back to them. Now that all chapters are created, we should be linking to the appropriate locations. If you’re reading a section and notice a good spot to reference another part of the book (for example, lets say we’re talking about database functionality in one of the other chapters, and there is an appropriate spot in the Database Integration chapter to link to), then let us know!

Thanks for your interest! Books should be shipping sometime between March and April. Pre-orders are available now at And yes, we’ll be releasing under a Creative Commons license like the last two books, so you’ll have access to the book at any time online.

This book has been pretty much written from the ground up, and is well over 600 pages of content. It’s been a lot of work, but we hope you like it!

Russell, Jim and Leif.

Written by Leif Madsen

2011/01/06 at 10:22 am

Update for Asterisk: The Definitive Guide (3rd Edition)

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update on my blog, but that’s just because we’ve been so busy at work on the next edition of the O’Reilly published Asterisk book! Asterisk: The Definitive Guide is the next update to the Asterisk: The Future Of Telephony books and is thus the 3rd edition. We’ve changed the name for two reasons: 1) This is pretty much a complete re-write of the book based on Asterisk 1.8 and 2) Asterisk is no longer the FUTURE of telephony; it’s the present. Asterisk has made it to the mainstream!

Since the first and second editions of Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, our humble project Asterisk has come a very long way. In the first two books we were trying to convince people of this miraculous little software and that it would one day be huge. We were right. Asterisk is known in many circles and is taking the telecommunications world by storm. To try and keep up with the plethora of new features and functionality added to Asterisk over the last few years, it required us to go back and start the book from near scratch.

We’ve learned a lot about best practices and what to do and what not to do with Asterisk over the last few years, so we’ve started incorporating dialplan style into the book. We’ve tried to make things a lot more consistent in terms of what you’ll see in the dialplan examples, and they’ll be a lot more fleshed out. Some of the dialplan comes from projects we’ve worked on previously, or at the very least uses the fundamental skills we learned while working on those projects, so the dialplan examples you see should be a lot closer to production ready.

The 2nd edition of the Asterisk book ran around 500+ pages, with about 200 pages being appendices. We’ve decided to do away with the appendices in the printed book since so much of that work is being maintained by the Asterisk project directly now. With the new XML documentation being directly embedded in the Asterisk source, it’s possible for a website to exist which simply pulls and updates most of the information we had in the appendices and display the latest version online. This is where the new Asterisk Wiki comes into play (available at

While we lost about 200 pages of appendices, that doesn’t mean the book is any lighter on content. We’ve been building PDFs of the book on a pretty consistent bases, and we’re currently up to over 600+ pages of content. That means the book is nearly twice as heavy on content as previous editions (and we’re not even done yet, and the production team hasn’t gotten their hands on it. I can honestly say I expect the book to be over 650 pages by the time it is all said and done).

My vote was simply to call the new book ‘Asterisk’ without the ‘The Definitive Guide’ moniker, but I lost that battle, so I pushed hard and said, “if the book doesn’t live up to that name, we’re going to get castrated” — and I think we’ve done that. The areas we cover and the depth of that coverage I don’t think has ever been brought together in a single book. And there are definitely tidbits of information that have never been documented, because we only found them through code review (thanks Russell! :)).

The book will be released under a Creative Commons license just like the last two editions, so nothing has changed there. What has changed is the way in which we’re having the book reviewed. We’re using the new Open Feedback Publishing System (OFPS) by O’Reilly to do a public review of the book. You can help us review the book as we write it by visiting The first link is our book (Asterisk: The Definitive Guide) and you can also see some of the other books that are using it (we were the first to use the new edition of this software, and since then other authors have come on board, which is really quite cool to see). We try and update the book at least once a week, so keep checking back to see if your comments have been addressed, or simply check out the new content available.

Our goal is to get the first draft of the book completed by January 1st, and we’re doing pretty well with that goal being attainable. Beyond that, we’ll have about a week or two for reviewing the content, fixing any errata or suggestions from the community, and general editing review. Once that is done, the book will be sent off to production for review where they will update our graphics and do page layouts. After that, the book will be sent to the printers and will start to be distributed! People should start to see books arriving sometime in March 2011.

(For all of those who already pre-purchased books, thank you! If you’re interested in pre-ordering the book and making sure you’re one of the first to get a printed copy, see

Leif Madsen, Jim van Meggelen, and Russell Bryant

Written by Leif Madsen

2010/12/21 at 10:54 am