With a modular system, the web service provider Slack wants to help users integrate external message channels and automate work processes. A brand new command line interface and a software development kit are designed to make the Slack Workflow Builder, introduced two years ago, simpler and more versatile.
Like Senior Vice President of Product Management Steve Wood on the Slack-Frontiers-Konferenz explained, developers create in a command line program through the command
slack create a new app ID and the framework of the code with which they can manage events and reactions to them. With
slack run the code can be tested locally and in different environments, and with
slack deploy you put it ready for use.
App manifests make it easy to configure and manage apps. The new SDK created with TypeScript supports some platform functions and makes work easier with the help of autocompletion and code hinting.
Slack sees functions, workflows and triggers as ingredients for effective automation. A trigger defines the call of a workflow and can contain links or events. Workflow code can also include database queries and API calls for external applications. A new table API helps to save the necessary data in the Slack infrastructure and covers the CRUD operations (Create, Read, Update and Delete).
By combining built-in and user-defined functions, according to Slack, access to other programs can be quickly integrated. Wrapper functions call the APIs involved. For example, if a person in a company wants to apply for leave, this message could activate a trigger. The associated information would then be stored in a data table and passed on to another API. A vacation request would then be created automatically and sent to the person responsible in the company. At the same time, the software informed the applicant and updated the systems with each new step.
In the future, users should be able to log into external work apps with one click of their Slack account. A function is also planned that will allow users to receive notifications about other programs integrated in the Slack workspace. If, for example, there are innovations to a project, users in Slack are informed by message – also from external partners – or in the Slack channel. Up to now, up to 20 partners could be addressed in one channel, the latest version has up to 250.