Slack has become the defacto communication platform at work places, particularly tech firms. Designed for the work space, it provides so much more than basic messaging and file transfer. It helps teams stay connected and collaborate on projects more efficiently as compared to the old fashioned emails. The application was launched in 2013 and has already received a valuation of over $7.1 billion. It has millions of active users and is used by 500,000 companies worldwide – a quarter of which are subscribed to paid packages.

Slack vs. Email

Emails are definitely an important part of the infrastructure in many big and small organizations. However, it is just not practical to depend solely on this slightly outdated technology, if you wish to match the pace of front runners. The world is changing and a smart app like Slack will certainly help step up your game in the market. It is a modern way of communication at work that adds lighter elements of the our beloved social apps like Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat etc. It is considered as the #1 messenger among companies of all scales and sweeps a big lead among competitors like Twist, Microsoft teams, Chatwork and Mattermost.

Composing an email for everything is boring, time consuming and in many cases pointless. Slack accelerates the workflow by allowing multiple team integration, connection with third party apps/ repositories, quick and elaborated link sharing, setting up notifications/alerts, channeling and much more. Slack is available as a mobile app and a desktop app on all leading operating systems. Therefore, it is accessible from multiple devices and provides an utterly user-friendly interface on all fronts.

Slack & Software Development

Techies love Slack, owing to how seamlessly it integrates with several external programs or tools. Developers, testers and engineers working together on a project from different locations can co-ordinate at their convenience. Whether it’s group discussions, daily stand-ups, official announcement, feature updates, project reporting or anything else, this powerful workplace messenger will assist you at all times.

Slack lets programmers directly share code snippets in 30+ coding languages. Exchanging code is a routinely task among colleagues within an IT firm, so Slack allows you to do that in channels and private messages. By incorporating the messenger with a bug tracking tool (Jira, Usersnap etc.), you can get instant notifications when customers/users report errors or leave feedback. It’s no secret that every developing team needs ‘GitHub’; by connecting both platforms you’ll receive regular updates on your Slack app for pull requests, commits and issues.

Developers tend to use a variety of project management tools like Trello and Blossom for different web based projects. Slack will simply integrate with any of these and keep all team members in the loop when updates are available. It also supports CI/CD systems like Jenkins and Travis, so that stakeholders are always aware of everything going on in their virtual systems. Similarly, you can hook up Slack with many kinds of extensions, such as performance monitoring (eg. New Relic), customer support (eg. Zendesk) and even “Subversion”.

Slack works great with Google Drive and Dropbox, so file sharing is smoother among co-workers. Moreover, if you paste a link it will automatically add a page preview, saving you from the typical manual effort required. The messenger offers several keyboard shortcuts that developers will enjoy learning and implementing. All in all, it helps keep all tasks in one place and accelerates operations, which pretty much sums up what software engineers demand.

Slack can lighten up your day

Slack has the capabilities to transform dull work space discussions into more lively or interactive conversations. The use of emojis and gifs adds a hint of amusement in the air, which is often called for to counteract the distasteful dryness that engulfs a typical office environment. The messenger is actually a great place for conducting polls among the staff. Employees can react to (with emojis), like, or reply to posts; and sometimes animated gifs are the only acceptable way for describing certain sentiments. Also, you can customize the theme to your liking, given a magnificent collection of color palettes.

The designated Slackbot proves to be an awesome companion throughout the duration of your stay on this messenger app. At the beginning, it will guide through all the basic functionalities and is available 24/7 to answer any technical queries. You can customize and control the way Slackbot responds to different questions. Adding specific answers to requests is a nice way to score points with your workers and clients. Every time you sign into Slack, the Slackbot displays a message or compliment which is nice touch; sometimes it is a lot to make a person smile when he/she is having a bad day.

As the Slack app has both desktop and mobile versions, it is a great alternative to popular chat messengers like Whatsapp that are strictly made for smartphones. Many people have a hard time handling too many messages on mobile devices; Slack provides them the option to sit back and go through all the data on a laptop or PC. You can also set up reminders with Slack. Even though this is rather mainstream, it’s something handy (especially for people who set multiple alarms and snooze). You can also enable push notifications for your phone when you’re on the go. This will automatically disable the standard email notifications, which you can always turn back on if you prefer. In case you’re a paid user, the good news is that Slack automatically sizes your account based on active users.

Did I mention that Slack communication is way superior to traditional email chains? I’m sure you’ve felt frustrated at multiple points while circulating content within your company. There’s always the risk of missing a contact or unintentionally sending the thing to someone you’re not supposed to. Slack frees you of all these confusions because unlike email accounts, the account is only open to company-authorized users. Also there are designated groups or channels, so distinct messages can be distributed with ease.

Everything exchanged over Slack is archived; hence you can look up any old messages or files at any point of time. This is quite helpful when new members are added to a team or previous projects have to be revisited. Additional privileges of Slack include the choice of deleting, abandoning and muting channels. You can also indulge yourself into a “do not disturb” mode, while you’re not obliged to follow workplace alerts. Other than that you can connect the messenger with social apps like Skype to make voice or video calls. Another perk very few people know of is that Slack can act as an RSS reader, i.e you can set it up to show you articles from a chosen source. You can also use it to import all sorts of info into a team channel or thread.

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