Sunny Monday in Copenhagen! 😃 As seen from Founders office in Vesterbro

Slack ❤️ Copenhagen

At BotSupply we use Slack to communicate across teams and make sure bots are shipped on time. We use Slack so often, it almost feels like it has been developed by our dev team!

So when we discovered that Bear Douglas and Claudio Medina were in Copenhagen for a workshop on the Slack Platform, we decided we couldn’t miss the chance to meet them in person!

The workshop was hosted by our friends at Founders, the startup studio behind products like pleo.io 👍, Kontist and Duuoo.

Thanks for having us guys! 🙏🙏🙏

We’ve come to the right place!
NOTE:
You are still in time to catch the Slack API team in Paris, Stockholm and Tel Aviv.
Check all the upcoming events on the Slack Platform Blog or keep reading to learn more about the workshop in Copenhagen.

Where work happens*

*Whatever work means for you, Slack brings all the pieces and people you need together so you can actually get things done.

Born as a communication tool, Slack is becoming the hub where apps and people interact to get thing done. In the last 12 months, several features have been introduced to make messages more actionable and interactive.

The first feature of this kind is the option to send push notifications from third party apps like Google Calendar:

Notifications

Allowing third party apps to connect to Slack and send notifications eventually led to the introduction of Bot Users.

Bot users have many of the same qualities as their human counterparts: they have profile photos, names, and bios, they exist in the team directory, they can be direct messaged or mentioned, they can post messages and upload files, and they can be invited to and kicked out of channels and private groups.

The biggest difference between bot users and regular users is that instead of interacting with a team via one of Slack’s mobile or desktop apps, bot users are controlled programmatically via a bot user token that accesses one or more of Slack’s APIs.:

Statsbot in the example

Since their introduction, bots have become a great success and developers have been creating all sort of applications covering very different use cases.

In the example above, StatsBot, pulls data from Google Analytics and delivers useful graphs within Slack’ UI.

After you have added a new bot to your Slack team, there are 2 ways to interact with it to get things done:

  1. Sending Direct Messages to the bot
  2. Using bot specific /commands (as seen in the blurry image below)
/Foursquare business lunch in miami (sorry for the blurry pic)

Bots are great, and being able to automate processes by telling a bot what to do is awesome! But when dealing with multi-step workflows, sending DMs and /commands to get things done is not efficient.

For example, ordering lunch is a classic case of multi-step workflow where conversational inputs fail miserably:

Bot: what would you like to order for lunch?
Me: I would like to have a pizza
Bot: great! which size? S, M or L?
Me: Medium
Bot: Nice, what toppings would you like to have on your pizza?
Me: tomato, mozzarella, rucola and ham
Bot: Which kind of ham would you like? Italian or Spanish?
Me: 🙄

You get my point!

To overcome this limitation and enable more complex workflows within channels, Slack has introduced Message Buttons.

Welcome to the team!

Message Buttons allow developers to embed actions inside Slack messages. In the example above, a new hire is approved with a single click.

But what happens when developers want to add multiple functionalities in one message?

Message Menus to the rescue!

Survey Monkey uses Message Menus to smooth in message surveys

Message Menus give developers more room to add commands inside messages. In the example above, Survey Monkey uses Message Menus to add multiple choice questions in a single message.


Advice from the Slack Team

How to build awesome experiences on Slack

When thinking how to build actionable notifications, LOCATION is king!

  • When a notification requires action from a single user, it’s best to send it as DM
  • When a notification requires action from multiple users, it’s best to send it in the relevant #channel
  • Try to avoid creating custom channels for notifications, people tend to ignore these channels and your notifications will become irrelevant
Polly survey example

When choosing a layout for your messages, make sure your bot is not taking over the whole channel by sending an automated chain of messages. Instead, break the content into pieces and only show the content relevant to the next action the user is supposed to take.

In the example above (Polly, a survey bot), the comment section is hidden by default, becoming visible only after a user has completed the poll.

When building bot workflows in Slack, it’s good practice to program the bot to delete as much clutter as possible once it has completed a task.

In the example above, team members are given a time window to express their preferences for lunch. After the deadline, Message Menus and Message Buttons are replaced by a one line sum up of the team decision.


What holds you back from ridiculous success?

AKA…what’s next for the Slack Platform?

Slack is committed to expand the functionalities of its platform in a continuous effort to make it ever more attractive for developers to build great tools.

For bot developers, the best news is the upcoming introduction of an App Store within the Slack client UI. The goal is to make it as simple as possible for teams to discover new bots and integrate them in their daily work.

Another good news is the authorization process for apps will soon be simplified.

For example, adding Google Drive to Slack now requires approval from every team member before the app can work for the whole team. In the future, adding Google Drive for a team will make that app available by default for everyone in the team.

If you want to learn about Slack Product Roadmap, check this Trello Board and leave comments directly to the Slack Team.

Hacking the Slack platform

At BotSupply we have been working primarily on the Facebook Messenger Platform but after today’s event will start hacking on the Slack Platform too.

In the upcoming months will be testing different functionalities of the Slack Platform and how we can bridge interactions between Messenger Bots and Slack Bots.

We’re a team of bot creatives and AI scientists with one common goal:

blowing business objectives out of the water with bots and cognitive solutions
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