What is Flowdock?
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Today the impossible happened, our beloved Slack crashed sending chaos into offices around the globe. “Wow, how am I now going to vote for the flavour of our new office candy???”, I thought. But even though it might not have felt like it, everything else around us was still working: the world was still spinning, South Korea was winning over Germany at the World Cup, and today’s quotas and goals had to be met. In these situations, people most often turn towards traditional messaging tools like messenger, WhatsApp or email and hope for the best — that Slack will be back up soon. However, these temporary remedies are not without their complications: undelivered messages that you thought were read, lost documents, mental breakdowns, wasted time, etc.… In general, for us it creates a problematic gap in our office chat history.
But what if I told you that these crashes could potentially never occur again?
Yes, this is real life, and it’s exactly what mesh technology is about so we are going to explain it. In this scenario, if Slack ran with mesh networks, its users would not have been affected by its current technology’s single point of failure, which in this case was the crash of the server.
Lol okay, how is this possible bc this is real life???
Mesh networks might not sound familiar to everyone so let’s compare it with other well-known networking topologies. Consider a Local Area Network (LAN), where devices are connected to a central access point (imagine it like a star with the central access point in the middle and the devices located at the ends). Be it LAN or wifi, the idea is the same, so when I send a message on Slack, it first arrives at the Slack server (the central access point) and from there it is sent to the recipient.
In mesh networks, devices are directly connected to each other. They form a local network using existing connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as “connectors”. Devices can act as “routers” and forward messages and files to others, enabling the content to hop between them until it reaches a destination. This eliminates the need for a central entity.
Let’s apply this concept to today’s crisis. If slack ran on top of mesh networks, their consumers would still be able to communicate and send files even though they were not connected to the crashed server. Once it was up and running again, all their group conversations which would have taken place during the outrage would be uploaded back to Slack’s server once they were back online.
Honestly, it’s that simple. To Slack, it would not only be convenient for its customers in situations like these (because we would never have Slack crashes), it would also considerably reduce their own infrastructure costs and prevent them from having moments that they might find embarrassing.
So slack, if you see that mesh networks could potentially help you, come talk to us.
Slack is gorgeous and runs on multiple platforms - that's benefit #1. You can easily talk on your iMac then switch to your Android device on the fly.
The one thing I don't really like about it is how it handles multiple organization accounts.
I am a software consultant so I typically work with multiple teams over the months and it's odd to 'log into the right account'. It's not intuitive at all.
I would like there to be a way for users to easily pick a 'Persona' and not accidentally post to the wrong company.
Slack filled a very complicated role and did it elegantly.
Its very well designed and easy to use. Adding integrations can be complicated but their documentation with images makes it very easy.
Also I contacted support and get a relevant answer quickly!
All this on the free plan, you better bet we will be upgrading soon.
Hall works great with services such as github, crashlytics, bitbucket etc to give your team real time information on activities going on in those sites without having to visit them individually. It gives our team some peace of mind knowing that all our information to coming directly to us when we need it!
We have been using flowdock for about two years. We brainstorm in there and store important links and notes. We've integrated github, trello, twitter, several rss feeds and have all of our support emails go straight into our flow.
Internal Communications made easy
I first heard about Slack from my friend Matt (shout out to Final!). He was helping me out with some Rails issues so we started using Slack and I liked it. Specifically, the chat interaction. But also all the integrations. I wasn’t thinking of it as a tool to end all tools at first, just a chat tool with some cool integrations. Then I created a Slack account for StackShare, and that’s when things got real.
Sentry got easier to stay on top of, Heroku was easier to see activity from, discussions were more fluid, and the mobile app was killer. Most of the tools I use either don’t have a mobile app or have shitty ones. Slack is like a replacement for all the mobile apps my tools should have.
I don’t find Slack particularly useful for focused discussions, so I doubt it will replace email anytime soon for us. Things like product discussions/debates are best via email. It forces you to think before you type and have a clear back and forth with someone.
Small gripe: I wish Slack would disable email notifications by default, I still haven’t figured out how to turn those off.
Slack is an instant messaging and collaboration system It unifies your entire team communications, making your workflow, well, flow a lot better. It is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services. Slack teams allow communities, groups, or teams to join through a specific URL or invitation sent by a team admin or owner.
Slack is our go-to communication tool and it's slowly replacing emails across all departments of the company. We built our own Slack Bot to help us with simple DevOps stuff; Honeybadger notifies us in real time of errors happening on production in our monitoring channel; CircleCI reports builds status and deployment info as well.
Team comms is essential. The R&D team is distributed over two offices, as well as the chance that people are working from home. Slack provides lots of options of keeping individuals and groups up to date. We also use it to integrate into services such as Github and Sentry.
Slack is a lifesaver, not only for our day to day team communications and it's direct links into our other tools, but for Beta testing as well, with our custom Slack bot in our beta group being an invaluable asset to avoid giving our testers direct JIRA access.