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Overview of How PageGate Accepts Messages Video Tutorial

How PageGate Accepts Messages


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Overview of PageGate Accepts Messages Transcript for Video:
Welcome to the overview of how PageGate accepts messages. In this tutorial, we’ll be going over the APIs and modules PageGate has available to receive messages and message notifications.

PageGate has the ability to read data and accept messaging commands in many different formats and from a variety of sources. You can integrate the program with a network performance monitor, like Solarwinds’ Orion platform or Paessler’s PRTG, just as easily as you can integrate it with a computer automated dispatch system, like those made by Superion, Tritech, Southern Software and many others. You can even integrate multiple things simultaneously, so you could have the program monitor a CAD system, network monitoring system, security system and card access notification system for messages and alerts all at the same time.

In total, PageGate has 9 total methods of input and an optional filter scripting system:

  • GUI Client
  • GetASCII
  • GetMail
  • GetWeb
  • GetSerial
  • GetTAP
  • SNPP Server (requires GetASCII)
  • TouchTone Receiver (requires GetASCII)
  • Direct Database Integration
  • Filter Pack (requires GetASCII)

First, let’s start with the PageGate GUI Client. The GUI Client is a Windows based application that can be installed on any workstation that has network/UNC access to the PageGate server’s database. This client provides a messaging interface that allows users to select recipients and groups and deliver messages. The client also has the ability to schedule messages, schedule repeating messages and maintain a list of pre-configured message templates.

PageGate’s robust security system also allows administrators to completely control which workstations and/or users are allowed to see which recipients and groups. For example, any given workstation can be locked to only display a specific set of recipients and groups. You could also say that any given user’s Windows logon name is locked to a specific set of recipients or groups. That way, the user will only ever be allowed to access the recipients and groups they’ve been permitted to see regardless of what workstation they log in to.

Now let’s talk about the GetAscii module. Also known as the Command Line/ASCII interface, this API is capable of monitoring a directory or series of directories on the local hard drive or across the network for ASCII file output and also provides a command line interface for other applications to use. This module allows many 'off the shelf' and custom applications, such as SolarWinds' Orion platform and Paessler's PRTG and CAD systems, like those made by Superion, Tritech, Southern Software and many others, to easily integrate with PageGate.
GetAscii can accept messages from other applications in the following ways:

  • Command Line

GetASCII provides a 16-bit and 32-bit command line executable for other applications to use. This is typically how network monitoring programs integrate with PageGate.
 

  • ASCII Text/XML/HTML/JSON File

GetASCII can monitor a directory or series of directories on the local hard drive(s) or by UNC path for ASCII file output. The contents of the file just need to be in ASCII, so you could have the program read in XML, HTML or JSON formatted content as easily as you could have it read the custom text files output by a CAD, security or card access monitoring system.

  • Registry Polling

GetASCII has the ability to monitor a very specific location in the Windows registry for specific keys. If those keys appear, they trigger the module to deliver the message specified to the recipient or groups specified.

Next, let’s go over the GetMail module. The GetMail API allows you to receive SMTP/Email traffic and translate it into outbound messages in a different format. For example, you could email a message to PageGate to deliver as a message to cell phones, other email addresses, pagers, web APIs, etc.

Also, GetMail enables a feature in PageGate that allows you to have a copy of all traffic sent to a recipient or group forwarded to a specified email address. GetMail also allows PageGate to host POP accessible mailboxes for your recipients and groups.

With the ubiquity of email, more and more modern applications are integrating the ability to send email.  If your application has the ability to send email, it can easily be integrated with PageGate by using PageGate's email interface.  It’s also worth noting that this interface can be used to integrate applications running on different platforms (Unix, Mac, etc.).

 

Now let’s go over GetWeb. This module provides a CGI executable that can be hosted on a web server and a series of pre-formatted templates to publish a messaging website or series of messaging websites. Web Developers can use this web server interface to send messages to PageGate from their webpages (HTML, ASP, JavaScript, etc.).  This means that you can host messaging websites on your local intranet or, if GetWeb is interfaced with an outward facing web server, on the internet. It’s also important to note that anything capable of using GET/POST HTTP methods can make use of GetWeb's CGI executable.
 
The POST method can be used by creating a form on your webpage and pointing to the webgate.exe program in the FORM ACTION statement.

The GET method is more popular with scripting languages such as JavaScript and Java.  It allows the GetWeb CGI to be called with a command similar to one that could be entered into a browser's URL field.

Next we have GetSerial. This API allows PageGate to monitor a serial/RS232 port, virtual or physical, for raw data text strings to be parsed in to outbound messages. When a data string is sent to a monitored a serial port, GetSerial pattern matches sections of the data string to parse information for messaging. This is useful for monitoring arduinos, raspberry pi’s, alarm panels, nurse call stations and anything else that can be connected via serial/RS232 cable to transmit alarm and alerting data. We also offer the ability to monitor an array of serial ports with additional Serial2ASCII modules, so you can monitor as many inputs as you may need.

Next, let’s go over the GetTAP module. This API allows PageGate to function like a TAP terminal, to receive the TAP protocol by either modem or connected serial line. Typically speaking, this is used when you want PageGate to replace a paging terminal or to copy traffic sent to a paging terminal to deliver as SMS. We also offer the ability to monitor an array of modems and serial ports with additional TAP2ASCII modules, so you can monitor as many inputs as you may need. It’s also important to note that PageGate offers an IP based TAP receiver, allowing it to receive the TAP protocol by TCP connection as well.

Now let’s go over the SNPP Server. This module allows PageGate to receive SNPP formatted messages. This is most often used with certain CAD systems and monitoring utilities capable of communicating with SNPP. This module requires GetASCII to function.

Next we have the TouchTone receiver. The TouchTone receiver gives PageGate the ability to receive touch-tones by phone line. This is most often used with relatively antiquated voicemail systems and anything that still relies on touch-tones to operate. The TouchTone receiver monitors a modem with attached phone line for incoming calls, then answers the call and records the touch tones. The touch tones are then submitted to PageGate for translation and processing. This module requires GetASCII to function.

As an additional method of integration, PageGate does support direct database integration with its native database. PageGate’s database is in the MSJet format, which supports the use of ODBC expressions to link to a variety of formats, including SQL databases. If you have an SQL environment, you could create a series of linked table expressions between PageGate’s native database and your SQL database to tie the systems together.

And last we have the Filter Pack. The filter pack is a series of scripts that allow you to conditionally modify nearly anything about a message once it's in the system. So, before you can have the filter script handle the data, you first need to get it in to PageGate.

This can be accomplished in a number of different ways. You could pull information from a web API using an HTTPPOST carrier. You could check the memory of a cellular modem for replies to your text messages. You could use any of PageGate's stock APIs, like the GetASCII module to receive alerts from network monitoring and CAD systems, and the GetMail module to receive email to translate in to SMS or pages.

Regardless of how you do it, once you get the data in to PageGate, that's when the filter pack comes in to play.

As mentioned earlier, the filter pack is a series of scripts that allow you to conditionally modify nearly anything but let's break that concept down a little. When I say 'conditionally modify', what I really mean is that you can tell the script to look for certain key phrases or characters, then do something special when it finds them. As for what 'something special' does? That's up to you when you configure the script. You could have it search and replace any instance of a specific word or phrase, you could change who the message is meant to be delivered to based on the body of the message, you could change the sender's name, you could execute a batch file or script, among literally thousands of possible options.

This concludes the overview of how PageGate accepts messages.

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