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Browser Dialer with Node.js and React

This application allows you to make a phone call from your browser using Twilio Client.

It also includes a couple other standard features you would expect a browser phone to have:

  1. Mute and unmute microphone input
  2. Send DTMF touch tones using the HTML key pad

This tutorial highlights the key bits of code that make this application work. Check out the project README on GitHub to see how to run the code yourself.

Let's get started!

Creating a Twilio Application

This application requires a TwiML application to make a phone call, in this step we'll show you how to create it.

To create a TwiML App open your Console and click the button "Create new TwiML App".

Every TwiML application needs a friendly name (we called ours “Browser Dialer”) and either a Voice URL or a Messaging URL. Since we want our users to make phone calls, we used a URL to our application’s “/voice” route.

Note: When running the app locally, you can use a tool like ngrok to get a publicly accessible URL for your development environment.


        The Main Application File


        You've seen how to create the TwiML application. Next, let's learn how to generate a capability token so that our clients can make outbound calls.

        Generate a capability token

        Generate a Capability Token

        Before our users can make any calls in their browsers, we need to create a capability token for them.

        Capability tokens are your way to control exactly what your users can and can't do with Twilio Client. In this case, our server will provide all users with tokens that allow them to make outbound phone calls.

        We use the Twilio Node Helper Library to generate and configure a capability token with the SID of our Twilio Application to allow outgoing calls.


              Token Generation Route


              The Twilio.js client needs credentials to be able to initiate calls as well as send messages, among other cool features. The Twilio.js client requests the token from the /token route, at which point the client is initialized and ready to start using Twilio API's. Next, let's set up the Twilio Device in the browser.

              Learn how to set up a twilio device

              Set Up the Twilio Device

              In our client-side code, we start by including the Twilio.js library.

              We then retrieve the capability token from the route /token with a POST request using jQuery.

              Lastly, we pass our token to Twilio.Device.setup() to finish the setup.

              The Twilio.Device.ready() callback is used to notify us when the device is ready to make calls.


                    Set Up the Twilio Device


                    Setting up the Twilio Device was easy since the /token route simplifies authorization. Now that the Twilio Client is initialized, let's see how to start an outbound call.

                    Learn how to make a call

                    Make a Call

                    Now that Twilio Client is ready, our users can start making phone calls. They'll start by inputting the phone number they wish to call.

                    We massage that input before passing the number on to Twilio, adding a + sign, then a country code, and the actual number. This is called the E.164 format and is required by most parts of Twilio's API.

                    We then use Twilio.Device.connect to start the call. Twilio will send a request to the URL you specified in your Twilio Application configuration, looking for instructions on how to handle the call.

                    In this case, we include the phone number the user wishes to dial in our connect() call, and we then access it in our server-side code here.


                          Call Toggle


                          As you have seen, connecting and disconnecting from a call is quite simple. Next, we'll enable the client to mute and unmute active calls.

                          Mute or unmute an active call

                          Mute and Unmute an Active Call

                          Sometimes you want to mute or unmute the current call, halting input from the user's microphone.

                          We can useTwilio.Device.activeConnection() to get the active call, and then call its mute() method to mute or unmute the user's microphone.


                                The Mute Toggle


                                Now you have an idea of how simple it is to use the Twilio Client in the browser. There are much more features to explore. Next, let's allow the user to send DTMF tones, in case they are calling an automated phone system.

                                See how to work with DTMF tones

                                Send DTMF Tones

                                If our user calls an automated phone system, they might need to navigate a menu system using our phone's keypad and DTMF tones.

                                DTMF stands for "Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling" and are the familiar sounds you hear when dialing a phone. DTMF have been standardized so they can be understood and decoded by machines.

                                To play DTMF tones with the Twilio.js client library we use the sendDigits method, passing which digit the user pressed as our sole argument.


                                      Digit Input Handler


                                      As you have seen, sending DTMF tones in response to button clicks is straightforward. Lastly our clients may want to hang up a call. Let's see how we can do that next.

                                      Learn how we hang up the call

                                      Hang up the Call

                                      Lastly, our users should be able to end a call.

                                      To achieve this we use Twilio.Device.disconnectAll(), which terminates the current call.


                                            Hang up Call


                                            That's it! We crafted an application that allows our users to make browser-to-phone calls using Twilio.js.

                                            Where to next?

                                            Where to Next?

                                            If you're a node developer working with Twilio, you might also enjoy these tutorials:

                                            IVR: Phone Tree with Node.js and Express

                                            Easily route callers to the right people and information with an IVR (interactive voice response) system.

                                            Click to Call with Node.js and Express

                                            Click-to-call enables your company to convert web traffic into phone calls with the click of a button.

                                            Did this help?

                                            Thanks for checking this tutorial out! If you have any feedback to share with us please contact us on Twitter, we'd love to hear it.

                                            Hector Ortega David Prothero Kat King Jose Oliveros Brianna DelValle
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                                            Need some help?

                                            We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd by visiting Twilio's Stack Overflow Collective or browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.


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