Looking to be recognized as more than a messaging platform and shifting the focus to workflow, Slack is also putting new emphasis on its developers.
Slack was founded in 2009 and has become popular as a chatroom (text not voice) for message exchange between members of well defined groups - we've reported on Slack Channels for micro:bit aficionados and participants in Udacity Nanodegrees. Slack has given "channels" a special meaning and it is interesting to note that Stack Overflow's new facility for team to have a private and secure meeting place has been called "Channels".
Recently Slack reached the milestone of having more than 1,000 apps listed in its App Directory, with over 200 of those being used by thousands of companies, and gave the App Directory, more prominence on the site as part of push to reposition Slack as a place where you can get things done as well as just talking about them.
According to Slack product platform lead Buster Benson:
“Messaging alone has never been Slack’s whole mission . Whatever workflow you do daily that sucks away a little time, or distracts you from the real work, can be smoothed out and connected with your conversations."
One of the most popular of the apps in the App Directory, where users can go to download publicly available apps, is Google Drive and Benson explained how this contributes to improved workflow:
"when a Drive file is shared in a channel, the app will check that it is accessible to the group you’ve shared it with. If not, you will be prompted to update your sharing settings right where you shared the file, instead of having to pop into a new window or back into Drive to get the task done.”
Apps in the App Directory include ones specific to Slack as well as those, like Google Drive that are universally available. However most of the 155,000 apps used each week on the site are not included in the directory and instead have been built exclusively by companies for their internal use. According to Benson there are more than 155,000 developers actively building for Slack and their efforts are making a reality of its move toward becoming an effective platform for enhanced productivity.
Slack's director of developer relations, Amir Shevat, also emphasised the importance accorded to developers:
“We are doubling down on developers. Slack is a platform company. We see a direct correlation between our success and the success of our developers.”