Unabridged Version

This is Nancy Gleaton's uncut, uncensored and unabridged note.

I took over a programming job from someone who, due to time constraints, could not complete the project. It involved writing a custom Windows- based application to do political polling. It was to include a way to store the poll's questions and possible responses, and to display the appropriate question based on the answer to the previous question. In addition, it must keep track of the results of each call, including the spent on that call and which workstation made the call. It also must include statistics tracking, in terms of the calls made per hour by each workstation, and since any given poll could encompass more than one day, it must track the statistics for each day the poll was in progress. An unlimited number of workstations could be involved, all sharing the same database of voters (which included the phone numbers to be called) and results.

As I have been a dBase programmer for many years, it was decided to use that language to complete the project. The current release is called dB2K, and the language it uses is dBL. As it is designed to work specifically with database applications, it seemed the best thing to do. Unfortunately, there was very little in the way of communications software available for writing the dialing interface. The standard Windows dialer wouldn't work, as I did not want it to "pop up" on the screen and force the user to manually dial and hang up each call. Most serial communication software that was available did not have voice capabilities and was designed primarily to transmit and receive data.

It was by accident I came across ExceleTel, after doing an extensive search on the web for every known combination of voice + modem + dialing + headsets + telephony, etc. I called and spoke with Pete Berry, who assured me their ActiveX control was designed to do exactly what I was looking for. However, it had never been tested with any of the dBase releases, much less the newest one. But since it was known to work with Microsoft's Visual Basic and Borland's Delphi, there was a good chance it would also work with dB2K.

I downloaded the trial and was amazed at how easy it was to integrate into my application. And true to Pete's word, it was exactly what I was looking for. There were a couple of "glitches" here and there, but with the outstanding support and hand-holding of Pete and his cohorts, my client is extremely pleased with the results. This is a product well worth looking at if voice-capable applications is what you are after!

Nancy Gleaton
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