07 December 2014

Start Slackin

The infrastructure supporting the flow of communication has become an iteration zero concern. For software developers, a team chat application is becoming as fundamental as a GitHub repository.

Slack is a San Francisco based chat startup with a well-executed product that's rocketing in popularity. Slack's marketing pitch is
We’re on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.
Slack Chat Client
After a few months having used it with a few product teams, I'm convinced Slack is delivering on their pitch.

At the moment I'm using Slack with two product teams for different customers. In the past I have used other chat applications like:
Slack fills a niche by being less geek-centric than Colloquy and by being spiffier and more feature-rich than HipChat. Colloquy and HipChat remain fine products, but I've a growing preference for Slack.

Wildly Imagined Vintage Slack Poster

Using Slack, I like that:
  • One can easily configure different client gigs and then switch between them on the handy left nav;
  • One can easily create new team channels;
  • One can easily toggle between team and private channels;
  • Individual teammates may chat privately in the private channels; and
  • GitHub Commit Stream
  • Developers reap the benefits from the information stream via GitHub, Heroku, and Jira integration.

Chat is a forum for knowledge sharing. It has the potential to build team camaraderie even when your teammates work from a remote location.
"Contextual conversation is likely to become the dominant social motif of the next generation of work-technology apps."
— Stowe Boyd, tweet @stoweboyd