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“dialectic” & Other URI Schemes

In a Web browser, you can click a hyperlink as a way of telling Dialectic to dial the phone. This magic works through a URI scheme. A URI scheme (or just “scheme”) is simply the prefix at the start of a URL. In a normal Web hyperlink, to jump to another Web page, the link is marked with the http:// prefix; clicking it opens a Web page. But if a URL starts with the dialectic:// prefix, clicking it tells Dialectic to do something (e.g., dial the phone).

To see an example of this feature in action, export the Call Log or the Quick Dial list as HTML. The names and phone numbers in the resulting page, when viewed in a Web browser, are links that you can click to make Dialectic dial the number.

You can also take advantage of this feature in any way you like. For instance, a company might create and maintain an internal Web page containing contact phone numbers. If these phone numbers are hyperlinks using the dialectic:// prefix, any employee whose computer is running Dialectic can dial a number just by clicking a phone number link.

Here is an example of a dialectic:// URL link:

<a href="dialectic://dial?number=212-555-1212">John Smith</a>

Here, John Smith’s name appears in a Web page as a clickable link. The href for the <a> tag uses the dialectic:// prefix. The form is invariable:

dialectic://dial?number=x

Simply replace “x” with the desired phone number, and you’ve got a working link for telling Dialectic to dial the phone.

The dialectic:// URI scheme supports these commands:

dial

The dial command, of course, dials the phone. It takes the following parameters:

Examples:

prep

The prep command will take a number and place it in the number to dial field in the main window. This allows you to modify the number or choose the Location to use before dialing the number. It takes a single required parameter:

Example:

add

The add command allows you to add contacts to your Quick Dial list. For example, if you have a corporate directory in an HTML document, you could use this command to allow employees to add contacts to their Quick Dial lists ensuring names and numbers are entered properly. It takes the following parameters:

Example:

callDetected

The callDetected command alerts Dialectic to an incoming call from source not monitored by Dialectic itself. It takes the following parameters:

Examples:

Other URI Schemes

There are a number of other phone-dialing URI schemes in common use, such as callto://, phone://, & tel://. These employ a different syntax; the number appears directly in the “body” of the URL, like this:

callto://1234567

Dialectic understands these URI schemes as well, and will respond to clicking on a link using one of these prefixes, if no other application on your computer is set to respond to it. The advantage of the dialectic:// scheme, however, is that it is not in common use. It isn’t a standard; it is unique to Dialectic. This means that:

Here’s some additional technical information about how your computer decides which application should respond when you click on a link that uses a given prefix.

When you’re in a Web browser and you click on an http:// link, the same Web browser responds by opening the target Web page. But when you’re in, say, an email program and you click on an http:// link, the email program can’t open the Web page; similarly, when you’re in a Web browser and you click on a dialectic:// link, the Web browser can’t dial the phone. In cases like that, one particular application must be designated to respond to the given scheme. In the case of the http:// link, it’s your default browser. (In fact, that is what it means for a browser to be your default browser.) In the case of dialectic://, it’s Dialectic.

The way this works behind the scenes that some single application must be registered with your computer as the one that will respond to a given scheme. This registration can take place in one of two ways.

An application can declare itself willing to respond to a given scheme. If it is the only application that does this, then naturally when you click on a link with that prefix, that application will respond. This is the situation with Dialectic. No application other than Dialectic implements the dialectic:// scheme, no application other than Dialectic registers itself as responding to the dialectic:// scheme, so when you click on a link that uses the dialectic:// prefix, Dialectic responds.

You, the user, can specify what application should respond to a given scheme. To do so, you need a third-party utility (Apple provides no end-user tool for inspecting and setting URI scheme registrations). We recommend RCDefaultApp by rubicode.

Using RCDefaultApp, if you look in the URLs pane and click on the “dialectic” listing in the column on the left side, you will see that Dialectic is indeed the default application registered to respond to this scheme. Similarly, if you look in the Apps pane and click on the “Dialectic” listing in the column on the left side, you will see that Dialectic may also be registered for the callto, phone, & tel URI schemes.

Related Topics

Call Log

Quick Dial

Ways to Dial

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