1. Concepts

TAPI is a Microsoft Windows specific technology that enables computer/telephony integration. Promptar TAPI Connector builds on top of TAPI to integrate Promptar with any phone system that supports it.

1.1. Overview

The full TAPI documentation is available at MSDN [1] which you may want to browse and use as reference. The key components and concepts to understand Promptar TAPI Connector setup, though, are outlined below:

setup-guide-01-concepts/images/tapi-overview.png

  • Promptar TAPI Connector:

    • Uses the included Promptar TAPI Adapter to support TAPI integration.
    • Promptar TAPI Adapter uses TAPI 2.x, via tapi32.dll, to communicate with tapisrv.
    • The connector and adapter use TAPI lines to monitor events and control calls.
  • tapisrv - Windows service:

    • Started automatically whenever a program, like the Promptar TAPI Adapter, uses TAPI.
    • Mediates the communication between the Promptar TAPI Adapter and one or more TAPI Service Providers.
  • TAPI Service Providers (TSPs):

    • Software components normally provided by PBX manufacturers which translate TAPI requests into requests the associated PBX understsands [2].
    • Expose various aspects of underlying PBXs capabilities, depending, of course, on the TSP itself and the associated PBX.

General TAPI notes:

  • It is a common misconception that TAPI 3.x supersedes TAPI 2.x but that is not the case. They support different integration technologies between a program and tapisrv. Most TSPs support both TAPI 2.x and TAPI 3.x. Some may support TAPI 2.x only.
  • TAPI lines are normally associated with physical devices like phones. Some TSPs / PBXs may also present TAPI lines for other components like trunk lines, ACDs, route points and more.

1.2. First-party vs. Third-party

Computer telephony integration architectures are generally classified as one of:

  • First-party call control One computer or program monitors and controls a single phone device. In these scenarios, each user’s computer will be running integration software supporting that user’s phone independently of any other.
  • Third-party call control One computer or program monitors and controls multiple phone devices. In these scenarios, a centralized system is responsible for the integration supporting all user’s phones. User’s computers may, in turn, run client software that communicates with the central system over the network.

Promptar is architected in a third-party call control model where Promptar Server monitors and controls all user’s extensions on their behalf and collects, delivers and/or stores any information from external applications.

Many TSPs support third-party call control. However, some only support first-party call control. In other words, what this means is that first-party TSPs only support monitoring/controlling a single TAPI line while third-party TSPs support monitoring/controlling multiple TAPI lines.

Given that Promptar Server expects a single Promptar TAPI Connector installation to centrally support as many extensions as needed, when dealing with a phone system that only provides first-party TSPs there are two possible solutions:

  • Multiple first-party TSP instances on a single system Multiple TSP instances are configured, each associated to a different TAPI line; tapisrv manages all TSPs and Promptar TAPI Adapter (and thus, Promptar TAPI Connector) will be able to access multiple TAPI lines. Unfortunatelly, most first-part TSPs do not support being configured and instantiated more than once on any given system.
  • Single first-party TSP instance and Promptar TAPI Adapter on multiple systems A single TSP instance is configured on a different client computer, each associated to a different TAPI line. Additionally, the Promptar TAPI Connector is installed on each client computer as well; there, the Promptar TAPI Adapter is configured to run and integratie with the centralized TAPI Connector running along with Promptar Server.

Please keep these things in mind when planning this installation.

The Configuration chapter describes the steps in setting up Promptar TAPI Connector along with a third-party TSP. The subsequent chapter, Advanced Configuration, details the differences when dealing with multiple, distributed first-party TSP instances along with the associated Promptar TAPI Adapters, among other possibilites.



[2] TSP / PBX communications use varying technologies: newer systems tend to use TCP/IP, while older ones may use RS-232 or USB, for example.