While Slack is an excellent messaging platform, what sets it apart is its built-in assistant, Slackbot, and how easily Slack integrates with outside services. Slackbot welcomes new team members, alerts you when you’re mentioned in channels you don’t follow, and can remind you (or other people) of upcoming events. And integrations! Nearly any major Internet service you can name has some integration with Slack, including popular options like Dropbox, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts, IFTTT, Trello, and Twitter. Integrations make it possible for Slack to become your dashboard, with all your external services reporting their activities into Slack so you can keep track of everything in one place.
Naturally, these are some of the more sophisticated features of Slack, but Glenn Fleishman deftly walks you through them in Chapter 10, “Manage Bots and Integrations,” of his serialized “Take Control of Slack Basics” book. He explains how you can chat with Slackbot to make reminders, create private notes, and try out messages, plus how you can adjust Slackbot’s sassiness level. Then he pivots to integrations, providing profiles of some of the most popular ones and general installation instructions.
Want to try out an integration? Join our public SlackBITS group, currently 175 members strong, and feel free to experiment. We’ve tweaked the permissions so anyone can add an integration (ask us if the ten slots are full and you need one removed). Simple instructions on how to join SlackBITS are in Chapter 1, “Introducing Slack.”
Everyone can read the first two chapters of “Take Control of Slack Basics” in its current serialized form, but Chapter 3 and the rest are limited to TidBITS members. If you’re not currently a member, we hope that early access is an incentive to join! TidBITS members receive other benefits too (like a full-text version of our RSS feed), but what’s most important is that TidBITS members provide vital support for getting our work into your inbox every week. If you’re already a TidBITS member, to read these chapters, log in to the TidBITS site using the email address from which you joined.
The full ebook of “Take Control of Slack Basics” will be available for purchase by everyone in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) formats once it’s complete, along with the administrator-focused “Take Control of Slack Admin.” We’re also planning to make the final books available as discounted bulk buys for entire Slack teams, so if you’re interested in that, let us know.