Section 6.2. Dialplan Functions

6.2. Dialplan Functions

Dialplan functions are not a new concept. In Asterisk 1.2, they should be used where possible. Many applications that perform the same operation as a corresponding function will eventually be removed in favor of the function. Functions allow you to add more power to your expressionsyou can think of them as being similar to operators, but more advanced. For example, dialplan functions allow you to calculate string lengths, dates and times, MD5 checksums, and so on, all from within a dialplan expression.

6.2.1. Syntax

Dialplan functions have the following basic syntax:

   FUNCTION_NAME   (   argument   ) 

Much like with variables , you reference a function's name as above, but you reference a function's value with the addition of a dollar sign, an opening curly brace, and a closing curly brace :

 ${   FUNCTION_NAME   (   argument   )} 

Functions can also encapsulate other functions, like so:

 ${   FUNCTION_NAME   (${   FUNCTION_NAME   (   argument   )})}      ^             ^ ^             ^        ^^^^      1             2 3             4        4321 

As you've probably already figured out, you must be very careful about making sure you have matching parentheses and braces. In the above example, we have labeled the opening parentheses and curly braces with numbers and their corresponding closing counterparts with the same numbers .

6.2.2. Examples of Dialplan Functions

Functions are often used in conjunction with the Set( ) application to either get or set the value of a variable. As a simple example, let's look at the LEN( ) function. This function calculates the string length of its argument. Let's calculate the string length of a variable and read back the length to the caller:

 exten => 123,1,Set(TEST=example)     exten => 123,2,SayNumber(${LEN(${TEST})}) 

The above example would evaluate the string example as having seven characters, assign the number of characters to the variable length, and then speak the number to the user with the SayNumber( ) application.

Let's look at another simple example. If we wanted to set one of the various channel timeouts, we could use the TIMEOUT( ) function. The TIMEOUT( ) function accepts one of three arguments: absolute , digit , and response . Their corresponding applications are AbsoluteTimeout( ) , DigitTimeout( ) , and ResponseTimeout( ) . To set the digit timeout with the TIMEOUT( ) function, we could use the Set( ) application, like so:

 exten => s,1,Set(TIMEOUT(digit)=30) 

Notice the lack of ${ } surrounding the function. Just as if we were assigning a value to a variable, we assign a value to a function without the use of the ${ } encapsulation.

A complete list of available functions can be found by typing show functions at the Asterisk command-line interface.

Asterisk. The Future of Telephony
Asterisk: The Future of Telephony: The Future of Telephony
Year: 2001
Pages: 380

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