In the absence of a rapid telephony app development framework, web developers have found it hard to build applications that interact with phone callers. Twilio stepped in to solve this problem for many – merging the open-source Asterisk PBX with their proprietary cloud platform – thus exposing the telephony engine to developers through drop dead simple APIs. However, Twilio comes with a catch. App developers are locked in to their cloud and are left with no option when it comes to choosing their own carriers or their own hosting solution. This is prohibitive for some users who have since been scouting for an open source alternative. Therein lay the premise for Plivo – a 100% FOSS alternative to Twilio.
While the code base for Plivo is in no way related to Twilio, Plivo APIs are consistent with Twilio – a nod to Twilio’s simplicity. Plivo APIs make it possible to develop apps like IVRs, Voicemails, Auto Attendants in minutes. Also, developers who are familiar with the Twilio environment can port their existing applications to Plivo with minimal
Essentially, Plivo is a Communications Framework to rapidly build voice based apps, to make or receive calls, using your existing web development skills and your existing infrastructure. The Plivo Framework is written using Python, gevent and Flask. Plivo works out of the gate with the next generation carrier-grade telephony platform FreeSWITCH, which comes bundled with rock solid stability, extreme flexibility and scalability. Also FreeSWITCH’s native support for Skype, SIP, H.323, Google Talk and Google Voice means that applications developed using Plivo can ride on these
capabilities too. (Interestingly, Twilio doesn’t offer the ability to use any of these directly.)
“We hope to democratize telephony app development by releasing Plivo as an open source framework. Plivo is a fully-featured platform that can be run on your own servers or anywhere you choose to. You can also configure your own carriers to originate and terminate calls. In essence, what Plivo offers is control.” said Michael & Venky, Lead Developers at Plivo Team. “Whether you’re a seasoned telephony engineer or a web developer, we’d love to see you experiment with Plivo. The only limit is your imagination.”
The Plivo Team have put up full documentation on the framework; and installers & helpers are provided for developers (language no barrier) to get started. All of this is released under the same OSI-approved license (MPL 1.1) that FreeSWITCH uses.