Chapter 3. Basic use of Ring KDE Client

Jérémy Quentin

Emmanuel Lepage Vallee

Although Ring is enterprise oriented, its interface is very easy to use and you can use the basic features without any particular skills or knowings.

Presentation of the main window

The main window is composed of four main parts: the current call list, the history list, the bookmark list and the contact list. By default, they are stacked, but it is possible to separate them by using the drag and drop handle on top of each "tab" of the application. Note that this handle is disabled in the current call list.

The call page

To switch between those windows, click on the History, Bookmark and Address Book tabs on the bottom of the screen. Each tab page can be docked on the left or right of the call page and tabbed in various configurations.

The default call list

The current call list is composed on the list itself, hosting call and conferences. There is also an optional dial pad, instant message box and volume controls. They can be enabled or disabled from the View menu.

The view menu

The History page

The history list host the previous calls. It is possible to sort it in multiple ways. By default, it ordered from the most recent to the most ancient call with "smart" categories. A filter text box is available for quick searches.

The History tab

By default, each call display if the call is incoming, outgoing or missed as emblems in the bottom right of the widget. It also display the peer name using the contact information or the name provided by the phone server. If a call has a recording, the play and remove buttons will be displayed.

The Contact page

The contact list provide an easy access to KDE address book contacts. By default, it is sorted by alphabetical order, but can also be displayed in various other orders. A quick search text field is also provided. Contacts with multiple phone numbers are collapsed by default. To display all numbers it is possible to double click on the collapsed item in the list or activate the option in the Display page of the configuration dialog. The information being displayed are also configurable from that same page. Users with many contacts might want to display minimal details to reduce the size of the contacts.

The Contact tab

Contact presence

SIP accounts support a feature called "presence". This allow softphone users to track other users current status ("on the phone", "ready", "busy" and so on). It can be compared to an usual instant messaging online buddy list, but is more restricted. Each "buddy" have to be tracked individually and using this feature alongside IP2IP or DNS based phone number can consume extra energy, reducing notebook battery life. As of 2014, it also prove to be unreliable and multiple PBX such as Asterisk only support a subset of the protocol.

Ring KDE Client will only track phone numbers if "Enable presence support" is checked for an account, that the phone number have already been called and if it is either bookmarked or is part of an explicitly tracked contact collection.

Presence publishing allow some accounts to publish a presence message and status (either online or offline) to other softphones. If an account support it (and have presence enabled), Ring KDE Client will display a widget in the status bar to set the presence message. Some predefined messages can be configured in the configuration dialog, but a custom one can also be used. The default is "Online". An online presence status doesn't imply that you can make a call or that and account is online or not. As Ring also support calls over ssh tunnels and localhost addresses, Ring is, in theory, always online. Again, empirical testing show this feature does not work very well on the vast majority of PBX and registrar. Freeswitch based registrar seem to have the best support. This information can also be lost when calls are routed though proxies and intermediary PBX.

When the presence subscription work as expected, contacts, history calls and bookmarked numbers will have either a red or green tint or halo around them. This information will also be used to the auto completion engine to give better results.

The Bookmark page

The Bookmark page allow to save some phone numbers to be more accessible. This is done by clicking with the right mouse button on a contact or a history item and pressing the Bookmark option. It also displays the 10 most used numbers.