August 4th 2020
By Emina Dolamic, Solution Architect at Klika
Let's see who can Slack the most :)
Don't get fooled by the title - there was no slacking this week. Instead, we gave ourselves a challenge to think of and build a Slack app. There was only one rule - the app needs to be useful and/or fun.
Slack is the communication platform we use the most in our company. It is used for everything: company-wide communication and announcements, team and group communication, file sharing, direct messaging... It is used A LOT. And you can see how since we are all working from home right now the tools like this can be important and beneficial.
Where this usefulness can be taken to the next level is by creating workflows and integrating new apps in your workspace - elevating your Slack from chat tool to a workspace platform. These can range from having a simple apps that can track keywords being used in chat and replying to them, to having integrations with project management tools and providing shortcuts for more advanced tools - ticket creation and tracking, dashboard monitoring... Or you could use it to always add that perfect meme or gif to the chat.
We wanted to see what we could add to it to make our lives easier. So we ran a Slackbot Hackathon for a week with free choice of tecnology being used and size of team. You could create something that is useful for your team or an entire organization (or just yourself), or something that provides additional value to already existing integrations and inhome projects.
You can read more about how to create a Slack app on the official documentation pages: Slack API - start building apps
There are a couple of ways users can interact with a Slack app:
Apart from these interactive methods your app could also be used to provide some improvements or analytics based on analysis of workspace and users. These would be the advanced apps where AI methods could be used.
But without further tutorial into how Slack apps are made (possibly another blog post), let's see what we actually made :)
A way to get to know new coleagues - and existing ones as well. New members to the team will get a list of personal questions (favourite book, movie, hobbies... where do they work from home...). They can answer those questions however they want and the answers will be posted in a public channel - for everyone to see. This way everyone can get to know their new coleague a little bit better, and they can also find what they have in common and recommend other slack channels to join. Everyone else can choose to answer a couple of questions too - there is a special group of just-for-fun questions.
Spend your Leprechaun coins to add songs to a daily playlist. You can pick some motivating songs to help concentrate, or you can just decide to torture your colleagues a little bit. A Youtube playlist is created and you can just let it play and see what comes next. If you have a perfect song for the occasion, or just want to educate everyone else on their music choices you can just put money where your mouth is and add it to the playlist.
Pepe is our Slack app that is used for various helpful things - it is Klika's little helper. Well it got some new and improved features. Pepe can now check if the person you are chatting with (who is most likely not responding) is on vacation right now. If they are away it will let you know when they wil be back - so you can message them right away.
Pepe can also help you know more about others - and yourself. It will let you know their 'About me' text they entered for our company directory. And we are sure Pepe will keep learning new tricks. :)
Now you can easily check how many vacation days you have left - without messaging Amila. It will also tell you how many WFH (work from home) days you have left, as well as religious holidays days. Neat shortcut that integrates with out internal tools.
You want to find people in company that are familiar with some technologies? Well you can do that right from the Slack. For next hackathon if you want to work on a project in Perl just try searching for that. It would probably return 0 results in this particular case, but hey - you could be a pioneer. The app checks the about me and other fields from user profile in Slack and matches them with provided keywords.
It's official! There is no use for Leprechaun mobile app after this featrue is added to Slack. Using your email and full name you can register to Leprechaun (if you haven't already) and start spending those coins.
A popular 'Would you rather' game done in Slack. You get a question with two choices and need to pick one answer. You can then see what was the split between those two chooice accross company.
Overall it was an interesting process and the apps showcase various possibilites when building Slack apps. We are looking forward to using these apps in our workspace, and thinking of new ways to improve our digital workspace! Thank you all fo taking part!