Adam O'Grady

Why Slack Is Good

Slack is the latest trend in workplace communications software, but makes it so great?

Usability

Slack is based around the ancient IRC protocol, a system that has been around since just before the birth of the World Wide Web. At it’s peak it was used by millions around the world, but it’s arcane commands made it a bit complex for it to be adopted by all workplaces, especially during the formative years of the ‘net.

Slack takes the basic ideas of IRC, from chatrooms, direct messages, and file transfers and makes it easy for anyone to get into it.

Ease Of Configuration

Any company can have it’s own, private Slack room. By letting Slack handle all the gnarly parts of managing infrastructure and providing simple interfaces for adding users, channels, bots, and webhooks you take the burden off your sysadmins and can rely on Slack Technologies proven platform. The name even stands for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”, and Slack will happily let you search through the entire history of your company’s Slack without faltering.

Apps

Aside from the web client, Slack provides apps for all major operating systems and mobile platforms, meaning you can connect from any device, in any place. The apps are all easy to use and configure and the web client is great for users who don’t have the ability to install things on a work computer. A great feature it holds over IRC is that it allows for 2FA via mobile SMS or much more secure MFA apps like Google Authenticator, 1Password or Authy.

Extensibility

The last, and possibly most novel feature of Slack is the ability to add bots that can handle almost anything. From surveys to GIFs, from notifications about new sales, instigating deploys, to outage alerts, Slack can be integrated with almost anything. There’s even been a term coined, “ChatOps”, that refers to controlling infrastructure from your Slack channels. And the best part is, Slack welcomes these by creating easy APIs and webhooks for you to design and wire up bots.