20 May Tools we love: Slack
Communication is essential for all teams, big or small. Currently, we use Google Hangouts to quickly send links, code snippets, memes, and videos to each other on a daily basis. Today, we discovered Slack.
What is Slack?
Put simply, Slack is a chatroom for work. It allows you to quickly send messages to individual, and groups of, colleagues with ease. Slack is primarily a web application, however it does offer desktop applications for Mac OS X and Windows, as well as native mobile apps for iOS and Android.
What’s wrong with Google Hangouts?
Nothing really. Slack just seems like a better alternative for our purposes. The only major downsides to Hangouts are:
- Lack of a native Mac app. The majority of our developers use Apple Mac computers for work (we’re still trying to convince Scott and Duncan to make the switch!). Without a native app, we can’t receive notifications, and are therefore constantly refreshing Google to make sure nobody is trying to reach us.
- Doesn’t support group chats. If we want to send a link to three people, we have to send three separate messages. This makes team discussions impossible on Hangouts.
What do we love about Slack?
There are countless awesome features that we love about Slack. Here’s our top three:
- Integrations. We’ll talk about this later…
- Channels. A channel is a designated chatroom in which you can set a purpose, and a topic. We’re currently talking about how we can use channels productively. We’re toying with the idea of having a designated channel for each project we take on. Until then, here’s what our channel list looks like:
- File Sharing. Slack allows us to upload and share files with teammates with ease, for free! Previously, we’d be emailing across attachments. Not any more!
What are “Integrations”?
Integrations allow you to integrate external services into your Slack chatroom. For example, we utilise Trello to track project statuses with ease, and it works great. With Slack’s integrations, we managed to hook up our Trello board to the #trello channel, so whenever a card is created, moved, edited, or deleted, the Slackbot will broadcast a message to the channel notifying everyone. Slack also offers integrations for: Github, Google Drive, Dropbox, Mailchimp, and much, much more. To view a full list, click here.
It doesn’t end there. You can also build integrations yourself! In fact, Slack has a curated list of community-built integrations available here. We’re already considering writing an integration to connect Slack to our client portal.
Interested in giving it a go?
Slack is free forever, unless you decide to upgrade to a paid plan. If you like what you’re seeing and would like to give it a go, please click here to sign up through our referral link.