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How can a web user phone/skype someone with details in my database?

Posted on 2008-10-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-05
How can a web user phone/skype someone with details in my database - the web user must not be able to access these details. The same question applies to messenger service and webcam.

Let me clarify. John, a member of the public, sees the picture of a lovely lady on my website and wants to speak to her. Obviously, I don't want him to know her number - unless she chooses to tell it to him. Is there a way to do it without spending an arm and a leg on hardware and suchlike. Also, I would need to keep track of usage for billing purposes.

For what it is worth, my favourite programming language is Delphi.
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Question by:Alfred9847
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by:developmentguru
ID: 22812428
Here is a link to the Skype API reference.  

http://share.skype.com/sites/devzone/2006/01/api_reference_for_skype_20_bet.html

I do not have time to look into it much, but this would allow you to use your Delphi programming to place a Skype call.  I do not know if it is possible to prevent the user from seeing the number on the Skype display though.  You would need to test this once you had a call working from your code.  There is normally a developer forum for this type of thing where other developers who have used this functionality prior to yourself could let you know.

Let me know if you need more.
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by:developmentguru
ID: 22812452
I just realized that the caveat there is that you are using it through a web page.  I would assume that the end user would need to have Skype installed.  You would also need to do an ActiveX Form in the web page.  This would allow you to embed your Delphi win32 code inside the web page.  There are ways of using a link to bring up a skype conversation, but I believe the HTML would need to include the number so it would be too easy to find.  I think the ActiveX form will be your best bet.
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by:Alfred9847
ID: 22813819
Thank you for giving it a try :=)

I checked out the API and as I understand it, the Skype.exe needs to be running - there is no DLL and no API in the normal sense of the term. This means that there is no control over the privacy and thus the billing.

In fact, I am beginning to believe that Skype is not the way to go. I have done some further research and I am currently leaning towards believing that http://www.influxis.com may have a solution to my problem. If anyone has a better approach, I would gladly give them the credit.
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by:developmentguru
ID: 22821408
I found a link to use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and have it embedded in your web site.  Any form of VOIP will cost money to a land line as it has to go through some companies servers.  You would need to sign up with a provider, then use the code to access the VOIP programmatically.  Here is the link.

http://www.voipfone.co.uk/PB_Call_Me_Back.php
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by:Alfred9847
ID: 22823385
<i>If you have access to the internet, you can use any telephone anywhere to make a call and have the call charged to your own account, not the account of the phone owner.</i>

I am afraid this is not what I am looking for.
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by:developmentguru
ID: 22827762
 You would need to run your own VOIP server.  When they use the web page and click to connect to the person your voip service could connect the call on both ends and disconnect itself.  This would place the call as phone to phone and both ends should show you as the caller.  You would likely need to have your VOIP server programmed to talk to a real VOIP provider to handle most of the work.  All the bills for it would go to you.

  The phone company may be able to tell you how to do it without VOIP although I imagine the owner of the number would have to give the phone company permission to allow that type of calling to take place.  Any way you go about it it will be a project in itself.

  I doubt there is any magic component that does it for you.  I wish you good luck on it, sounds like a good idea.
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by:Alfred9847
ID: 22829065
Hi developmentguru,

Here is a typical site with what I am trying to achieve:

http://www.dream-marriage.com

I am sure there are lots of others out there
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by:developmentguru
ID: 22832660
 The solutions I gave above will handle what you want, but they do involve writing the code yourself.  I suppose you could pay a contractor to do that part for you, but that gets expensive fast.  I think you will need to spend money on hardware (or rent it from a VOIP style company).  You will also need to spend a fair amount of time coding to make it happen.  This project alone could be larger than the rest of the web page put together.  You just need to decide if it is worth the time, cost, and effort it will take.  I have given you some starting point that can be made to work.  I'm afraid I don't have the time (or personal need) to put it together myself.

  If I were in your shoes I would leave the question open a while and see if you get any other ideas.  If nothing suits your needs (and is easier than what I mentioned) then request the question be closed with no points awarded.  If you decide to try what I have said... I would gladly accept the points for pointing you in the right direction.

Either way I wish you well.
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by:Alfred9847
ID: 22833050
Hi developmentguru,

I think I will follow your suggestion as to how to treat this question and wait a week.

Thank you
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by:Alfred9847
ID: 22860487
I contacted the support of http://www.influxis.com and asked them whether they had an API or one could modify their existing programs - so as to permit billing and suchlike.

Their response was "The source of our programs are available for you to use and modify as required."

Well, I guess that is the answer that I was looking for. If anyone can come up with a better solution within 7 days, I will gladly give them the points.
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Alfred9847 earned 0 total points
ID: 22915626
Here are the results of my research on this area. It is a lot better than the influxis solution that I mentioned previously.

I found cheaper (free for testing) game server software that will do what I am trying to do (plus a lot more) at http://www.electro-server.com. This server can be run on Windows, IS X, Linux or Unix. There are also hosting service providers which offer it.

The Client-side Development Environment is explained at http://es-wiki.com/index.php?title=Client-side_Development_Environment and requires Flex (free) and FlashDevelop (free)

I have already installed the test server on my Windows XP and it seems to be working fine.
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