Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

WebSMS and 'Email to SMS' services
raymond
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Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by raymond » Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:48 am

Exetel is currently developing a new Destop SMS Program. Below is our proposal. Your valuable comment is welcome.

1. Introduction

The proposed solution is a standalone application that acts as an interface and transport layer for the Exetel "SMS via DSL" Application Programming Interface (API).
Basically the software can be used send messages to recipients via the Exetel SMS gateway.

Users can login into the system using their username and password after which they could send text messages and image messages to recipients’ mobile phones. The software will have provisions for maintaining an address book of required contacts and use a comparatively inexpensive method to send SMS.

The proposed solution will have a large number of features to facilitate this process and this documentation covers the basic requirements of the proposed system and also compares the existing system with the proposed solution.

2. Scope of the system

The proposed solution aims to cover several vital areas of SMS and the scope of the project includes
• Simple text message sending
• Bulk messages sending
• Group SMS sending
• Virtual Number management
• Image SMS sending




3. Analysis of Current System and its problems

An existing similar solution is the exeSMS software which also uses the Exetel gateway to send messages. It is a working solution but several enhancements could be made to the features of this existing to improve the proposed solution. Several problems that exist in this existing system are:

3.1 Portability

It is a system that has been developed in Microsoft technologies hence is platform dependant being operable only in the Windows platform. This platform dependency is one of the main shortcomings in the existing system since this results in portability, maintainability and accessibility constraints.

3.2 User friendliness of the software interface

The software graphical user interface has several shortcomings and the proposed system aims to introduce more competent solution which is more user friendly than the existing system. For example, when entering the mobile number characters can also be entered and when sending group SMS the available groups are not displayed ina n effective manner.

3.3 Image Short Message Service

The Text Message service is working effectively in the existing system but the Image Short Message Service appears to have some problems. The Image sending feature of the current is not in an operable state. However, it is a feature which is used widely globally today therefore the proposed solution attempts to address this shortcoming by providing an effective Image SMS functionality.


3.4 Address book problem

Each user is given an address book to store contacts and the address book is an important functionality offered by the existing system. However, the system has a few problems that should be addressed.
There is no search facility available in the existing system for the address book which is a major shortcoming of the existing system.
Furthermore, in the existing system the same contact can be saved two or more times in the address book without any warning. This is highly impractical since especially there is not point of storing the same contact number in two locations. This makes searching of the address book rather inefficient.
Editing of an existing contact in the address book is also not a facility provided by the existing system. An address book contact cannot be edited and when deleting existing contacts, each contact should be deleted individually. There is no option to delete all the contacts or to reset the address book.
Furthermore, no description can be provided for a contact. For instance, specifying the type of number (ex: Home, mobile, office) as the description which will be useful when traversing the address book.

3.5 Group SMS and problems

The existing system has an option of sending SMS to groups of contacts. Groups can be created by adding several contacts under one group. However, there are problems with group management in the existing system. For instance, a group containing contacts cannot be deleted without removing the contacts from the group.





4 Proposed System and improvements

Then implementing the proposed system the objective is to implement all functionalities available in the existing system and also eliminate any problems existing in the current system. Therefore there are several areas that could be subjected to improvements and they are as follows.

4.1 Address book improvements

The address book implementation is very ineffective in the current system as explained in detail in the previous section. Therefore several modifications have been anticipated for the proposed solution and they are as follows:

• An effective search mechanism:
The address book is implemented in a way which supports very efficient search mechanism of the address book. The address book could be traversed using the name and the contact number of the contact. This is essential in an address book of any nature but not provided in the current existing solution.

• A description of the contact
An important feature introduced in the proposed solution is distinguishing between the types of contact type entered by a user to the address book. Similar to an ordinary mobile phone the user can specify whether it is a mobile number, home number or an office number.

• Editing and deleting of entries
The entries in the address book could be edited or removed with ease in the proposed solution. This is a very basic feature but not included in the current system effectively.


• Removal of all existing problems
The problems have been identified and all such problems will be eliminated from the proposed system and any positives from the current system will be enhanced.

4.2 Message history

In a similar way to the address book there are a few shortcomings identified in the current system concerning the message history. In order to eliminate these problems a fully featured message history maintaining functionality will be introduced which will include viewing, editing, deleting and flagging entries in the sent message history. The total cost of the sent messages in history will also displayed to the suer.

4.3 Image Short Message Service

The Image SMS service in the current system is not in an operable state and the proposed system will make an attempt to implement an image message service facility. However, it has a few problems including the support provided by the SMS functionality and how the image is to be encoded in a format accessible from the gateway server.

4.4 Portability issue

The proposed solution however has a distinctive advantage being developed in java technologies, Due to this reason it offers greater portability, flexibility and maintainability in contrast to the existing system. The existing also has limited functionality and the existing solution aims provide more functionality bettering the quality of the software when compared to the existing solution.




4.5 Group SMS and improvements

The proposed solution will provide a group SMS functionality and the management of groups will include options such as editing groups, deleting and sending messages to several groups.

5. Proposed system functional requirements

Functional Requirements

Providing user information

Each user will be provided a username and password when registering into the system. The system will offer an interface for new registration of members. Once a user has registered with Exetel Communication, the user can login to the system when the services of the system are required.




Once a user logs into a system, the user will be able to utilize the facilities provided by the software and can be mainly categorized into three main areas:
• Text SMS functionality
• Image SMS functionality
• Receiving SMS functionality
• General functionalities

6. Text SMS Functionality

Single SMS

The basic functionality offered by the proposed solution is the sending of a single Text message. Each user can send a message to any mobile phone he/she desires. Simply the user has to enter the recipient phone number and then the text message content, and then click on a button to send the message to the recipient.

Bulk SMS

An address book will be maintained for each user, and the user will have the facility to send the same message to several recipients in the address book at the same time. The user also will be able to send the message to recipients not in the address book by providing the number explicitly.

Group SMS

Very similar to Bulk SMS, the Group SMS also is a functionality where a message could be sent to several recipients. The difference in this functionality is that the groups should be created prior to sending the messages and contact information of each recipient could be entered to the desired group. Then the sender could send the message to the all the recipients in a particular group.

Scheduling message sending

This is a functionality offered by the proposed solution according to which the users can schedule message sending. Basically, with this functionality messages can be sent on the given date and time specified by the user.
The scheduling message functionality is available for Bulk SMS, Group SMS and also for Simple Single SMS. The schedule message will be sent to the recipient on time.



7. Image SMS Functionality

Another sophisticated and classy functionality to be embedded in the proposed solution is the Image SMS functionality. This functionality in the current system has a few problems since it has several incompatibilities with the Exetel SMS gateway and the proposed system aims to eliminate these problems and aim to provide a solution for the image SMS functionality.











8. Receiving SMS Functionality

Virtual Number availability

A user can receive messages via the proposed system. The mechanism for receiving SMS is based on a virtual number provided by Exetel Communication. That is, basically after a number is provided when the server receives messages from sources they will be stored on the server until the user retrieves it from server.
This functionality is also embedded in the current system but is not in working order and the proposed system aims to provide an effective solution for this problem. Therefore, the proposed system not only aims to meet the user requirements of sending SMS to recipients but also receiving SMS via the virtual number.


9. General Functionalities








9.1 Checking Credit balance

Another feature to be embedded to the proposed solution is the viewing of credit balance. This feature is only available for prepaid user account and the credit balance will be displayed to the user via the user interface. If the account is postpaid an error message will be displayed to the user.


9.2 Checking Message Status

When message is send to one or more recipients, the sender will receive the status of the sent message. This simply means that the sender will be given a feedback on the message sent and this includes whether the message was delivered successfully and the exact time which the message was delivered.

9.3 Checking Message History

The user will be provided a functionality to check sent messages history. Basically this means the ability of the user to check information about the messages that have to be sent to recipients in the past. The user can retrieve information about the sent messages such as:
• The number to which the message was sent
• The recipient details
• The message content
This is a very useful feature for the users which enables them to keep track of messages sent and their details.





10. Proposed system non-functional requirements

10.1 System Requirements
The system is operable on any platform since it is developed in java. To run the solution the Java Runtime Environment 1.6 is required since java 1.6 is to be used for development. Operating systems below could be used to run the solution:
• Windows XP Professional (SP1)
• Windows XP Home
• Windows 2000 Professional (SP3+)
• Windows Vista
• Red Hat 9.0
• Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0, 4.0
Basically, the program could be executed in any environment supporting the Java 1.6 runtime environment.

10.2 Accessibility
The accessibility of the proposed system compared to the current system and other systems implemented using Microsoft technologies is at a higher level since the solution is to be developed using java technologies and XML to be used as data storage.

10.3 A valid account
For every functionality offered by the proposed solution the user should be a valid user and should have a valid username and password provided by Exetel communication. Otherwise, access to the software will not be provided.

10.4 Timely operation
The proposed solution has a feature for scheduling text messages and therefore the scheduled messages should be sent on time. However, the program should be in operation for the scheduled messages to be sent. If not, the messages will be only sent at program startup.

11. System Models

11.1 Use Case Model


The use case diagram is an excellent way of depicting the system functionalities. It is a behavioral diagram and it presents an overview of the system by a system in terms of actors, their goals and their dependencies.
In the proposed solution the main actor is the User who is the only external entity with direct contact with the system. The diagram shows all activities that can be carried out by the actor in the system.



11.2 Class Diagram

A class diagram consists of a group of classes and interfaces reflecting important entities of the business domain of the system being modeled and the class diagram of the proposed system gives an overview of the entities and components of the system.
11.2 Sequence Diagrams

The sequence diagrams below show the flow of logic within the proposed solution and is an essential way of pictorially representing the activities of the system. The important or the critical activities of the system are identified depicted using sequence diagrams which will assist us to understand the system better.

11.2.1 Providing user information/User Logging in to system

11.2.2 Sending a Text Message

11.2.3 Add contact to address book

11.2.4 Scheduling messages

Dazzled
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by Dazzled » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:04 pm

Thank you Raymond for making your app portable. On that score, Java 1.6 is much more widely used than your list may hint at, eg Ubuntu and Slackware derivative users with Java 1.6 installed would outnumber Red Hat users by a large margin. Are there any problems on the Mac?

jokiin
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by jokiin » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:23 pm

things I would like to see in a desktop SMS app

monthly tally of how many messages have been sent, I have 30 included so just a running total of the number of messages would be fine

ability to send a multi part message, eg send a 300 character SMS and have it go as one message and just be billed as 2 messages just like what happens on the phone

have an option to have a direct login to my account portal from the app

support for unicode characters, we have good rates to international destinations but there are times when you need to send a message in another language, currently if I need to send a message in Chinese I have to use a mobile and pay 5 times the rate to send the message

not sure if any of this could be done but would be nice to have, I've been quite happy with the exesms application as it is so any improvement offered over and above that I would consider a bonus

peterh_oz
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by peterh_oz » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:39 pm

Will the contact list be able to be imported from a csv file? Eg for a business situation, where a business may want to send a bulk message to hundreds or even thousands.

Possibly also allow import from the major phone handset address books in whatever format their software exports the contacts (nokia, palm, blackberry, motorola, iphone etc).

doggy
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by doggy » Sun May 17, 2009 5:08 pm

I would like to see a new SMS application ASAP.

Recently, I had a group SMS list on exeSMS which grew to 41 phone numbers. It fails every time but works if you split the list in half.

So, this is a seriously limiting bug in exeSMS and I can understand if Exetel would prefer to sideline exeSMS and come up with the replacement which sounds great. Particularly removing the Windoze dependency.

So, roll on the new system. Java or WEB would be fine with me.

On mobiles, most people are now happy with the ColbySMS solution, so Unix/Linux/Mac/Windoze compatibility should suffice.

Regds,
Dave

gavin
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by gavin » Tue May 19, 2009 1:42 pm

I'd like to see Mac support. I'm now forced to use a Mac at work and hence have lost access to the current Windows-only app.

Dazzled
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by Dazzled » Tue May 19, 2009 1:51 pm

It is to be developed in Java, in order to be supported by all common operating systems, Mac included.

vk3xem
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by vk3xem » Tue May 19, 2009 3:25 pm

peterh_oz wrote:Possibly also allow import from the major phone handset address books in whatever format their software exports the contacts (nokia, palm, blackberry, motorola, iphone etc).
Great idea, maybe even able to import contact details from Gmail would help also.
The views I present are that of my own and NOT of any organisation I may belong to.

73 de Simon, VK3XEM

gavin
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by gavin » Wed May 20, 2009 9:41 am

Any indication of the timeline for devloping this?

William M
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by William M » Wed May 20, 2009 5:45 pm

Hi Gavin,

At this stage we're looking at a release within 1-2 months so there's plenty of time for feedback to provided.

Cheers Will

raymond
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by raymond » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:20 pm

We made some progress on this project. It is now under testing and package phase.

Would you please test our demo and provide your feedback

Demo can be downloaded here http://www.exetel.com.au/files/eXeSMS.zip

LordS
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by LordS » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:06 pm

raymond wrote:We made some progress on this project. It is now under testing and package phase.

Would you please test our demo and provide your feedback

Demo can be downloaded here http://www.exetel.com.au/files/eXeSMS.zip
Doing so right now :)

Edit: Invalid Username/Password?

Is it the same details as I'd use to login to the members facilities?

JamesR
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by JamesR » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:48 pm

LordS wrote:
raymond wrote:We made some progress on this project. It is now under testing and package phase.

Would you please test our demo and provide your feedback

Demo can be downloaded here http://www.exetel.com.au/files/eXeSMS.zip
Doing so right now :)

Edit: Invalid Username/Password?

Is it the same details as I'd use to login to the members facilities?
Mine works with the username and password to the user facilities.
Regards,

JamesR
Customer since 2005

LordS
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by LordS » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:28 pm

What OS do u use JamesR?

JamesR
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Re: Development Proposal for New Exetel Desktop SMS

Post by JamesR » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:01 am

LordS wrote:What OS do u use JamesR?
I'm running and using the applet with ease on Windows 7 RC. No issues at all!

Nice work William.
Regards,

JamesR
Customer since 2005

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