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Slack vs Zulip: What are the differences?

Developers describe Slack as "Bring all your communication together in one place". Imagine all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. That’s Slack. All your messages. All your files. And everything from Twitter, Dropbox, Google Docs, Asana, Trello, GitHub and dozens of other services. All together. On the other hand, Zulip is detailed as "Powerful open source team chat". Zulip is powerful, open source team chat that combines the immediacy of real-time chat with the productivity benefits of threaded conversations Zulip allows busy managers and others in meetings all day to participate in their teams chats..

Slack and Zulip can be primarily classified as "Group Chat & Notifications" tools.

"Easy to integrate with" is the primary reason why developers consider Slack over the competitors, whereas "Open source" was stated as the key factor in picking Zulip.

Zulip is an open source tool with 10.1K GitHub stars and 3.11K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Zulip's open source repository on GitHub.

Airbnb, Dropbox, and Medium are some of the popular companies that use Slack, whereas Zulip is used by Solano Labs, Weight Measuring Company «Tenso-M», and Leonis Holding. Slack has a broader approval, being mentioned in 4795 company stacks & 3481 developers stacks; compared to Zulip, which is listed in 7 company stacks and 9 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Slack?

Imagine all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. That’s Slack. All your messages. All your files. And everything from Twitter, Dropbox, Google Docs, Asana, Trello, GitHub and dozens of other services. All together.

What is Zulip?

Zulip is powerful, open source team chat that combines the immediacy of real-time chat with the productivity benefits of threaded conversations. Zulip allows busy managers and others in meetings all day to participate in their teams chats.
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Why do developers choose Slack?
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    What are some alternatives to Slack and Zulip?
    Microsoft Teams
    See content and chat history anytime, including team chats with Skype that are visible to the whole team. Private group chats are available for smaller group conversations.
    Discord
    Discord is a modern free voice & text chat app for groups of gamers. Our resilient Erlang backend running on the cloud has built in DDoS protection with automatic server failover.
    Trello
    Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process.
    Skype
    Skype’s text, voice and video make it simple to share experiences with the people that matter to you, wherever they are.
    Asana
    Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their work. From tasks and projects to conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish--and get results. Available at asana.com and on iOS & Android.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about Slack and Zulip
    Zulip
    Zulip

    I use Zulip because of the threading model i.e. having topics inside a channel makes it easy to catch up to topics and keeps your organisation's chat well organised.

    1.) Having topics inside a channels ensures that you can have multiple conversations in the same channel at the same time. For e.g. Imagine a chat system with no topics and only channels. A real-time conversation about say an expensive migration is going in the #backend channel. But you have a question about how the push notifications work in the project. In that case you will either hesitate to post your question (which would be the mostly likely outcome if you're a new member especially) or you would interrupt/disturb the ongoing conversation and both of the conversations would go on in parallel in the same stream in a convoluted and incoherent manner.

    Having topics inside channels in Zulip in the above situation allows you to just create a new topic inside the #backend channel and initiate your conversation there without worrying about the other conversations happening in the same channel at the same time.

    2.) Having topics defined for each conversation makes you finding old conversations more convenient and faster. In a chat system with no topics inside channels, you would have to search the entire text content with the exact text that you typed say maybe 6 months ago which you may or may not remember exactly as is.

    While just having a look at the topic list in Zulip chat in the above case would return you the conversation about the topic you were looking for without searching the entire text. This makes searching easier and faster. Please do note that a search across the entire text is also much faster in Zulip than its competitors like slack.

    3.) Each conversation is linkable which is super convenient i.e. you can get a link to a conversation like https://chat.zulip.org/#narrow/stream/7-test-here/subject/My.20Test.20Topic/near/666741 and share it.

    4.) The topic list for a channel in Zulip also acts as a summary of the conversations that happened in the channel. For a person who has been inactive in an organization for a long time, the topic list make its easier to catch up to your messages missed in the past.

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    Vishnu KS
    Vishnu KS
    Software Engineer at Zulip · | 5 upvotes · 30.4K views
    atZulipZulip
    Zulip
    Zulip
    Slack
    Slack

    Zulip has easily the best threading model among all the chat applications and I prefer it over Slack, Mattermost, RocketChat, Hipchat, Discord etc. Each and every conversation is a seperate thread and has a topic. This model makes it extremely easier to catch up and participate in conversations. Once you get used to the threading model of Zulip its hard to tolerate threading model like Slack which is really inefficient and time wasting.

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    rishig
    rishig
    Head of Product at Zulip · | 5 upvotes · 51.4K views
    atZulipZulip
    Slack
    Slack
    Mattermost
    Mattermost
    RocketChat
    RocketChat

    I use Zulip instead of Slack, Mattermost, or RocketChat because of its first class threading. One week after switching to Gmail (in 2004) I realized I was never (willingly) going to use an unthreaded email product again. I had that same experience the first time I saw Zulip.

    Zulip is also fully open-source, with a well-maintained (e.g. 90+% test coverage, fully static python), easily extensible code-base. In many companies, your communication platform (chat or email) is the center of the workplace -- no one asks for a chat integration into their calendar, they ask for a calendar integration into their chat. A fully open-source codebase means you can customize Zulip to your needs, and are never at the whim of a corporate maintainer who can't or won't fix simple bugs, or who will charge you tens of thousands of dollars for making minor customizations.

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    Zulip
    Zulip
    Slack
    Slack

    I use Zulip because I love how it lets me focus on my work, and doesn't need me to be constantly online to be able to participate in conversations that matter to me. Zulip's topics make it super easy to get an overview of all the conversations that happened while I was away, and pick and choose the conversations that I want to catch-up with. Slack 's threads seem like an after-thought and aren't effective for catching-up at all!

    I also love the Zulip community, and the care and effort put in by the members to make it a friendly and welcoming community to new developers, and to make the contribution experience pleasant for all the contributors.

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    Zulip
    Zulip

    I use Zulip because it has let us build our community, and scaled with us. Our open community has 1000s of members and I cannot imagine what other IM software would begin to support us. In particular, the stream/topic model has let us scale further, along with seamless signup, multi-platform availability, and the right prices. Also, because the development team is so active and fixes issues in a timely fashion.

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    Francisco Quintero
    Francisco Quintero
    Tech Lead at Dev As Pros · | 7 upvotes · 231.8K views
    atDev As ProsDev As Pros
    Node.js
    Node.js
    Rails
    Rails
    Amazon EC2
    Amazon EC2
    Heroku
    Heroku
    RuboCop
    RuboCop
    JavaScript
    JavaScript
    ESLint
    ESLint
    Slack
    Slack
    Twist
    Twist

    For many(if not all) small and medium size business time and cost matter a lot.

    That's why languages, frameworks, tools, and services that are easy to use and provide 0 to productive in less time, it's best.

    Maybe Node.js frameworks might provide better features compared to Rails but in terms of MVPs, for us Rails is the leading alternative.

    Amazon EC2 might be cheaper and more customizable than Heroku but in the initial terms of a project, you need to complete configurationos and deploy early.

    Advanced configurations can be done down the road, when the project is running and making money, not before.

    But moving fast isn't the only thing we care about. We also take the job to leave a good codebase from the beginning and because of that we try to follow, as much as we can, style guides in Ruby with RuboCop and in JavaScript with ESLint and StandardJS.

    Finally, comunication and keeping a good history of conversations, decisions, and discussions is important so we use a mix of Slack and Twist

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    Aghmat Abrahams
    Aghmat Abrahams
    Junior Data Engineer at Impact Radius · | 5 upvotes · 26.6K views
    Mattermost
    Mattermost
    Jira
    Jira
    GitHub
    GitHub
    OpsGenie
    OpsGenie
    Slack
    Slack

    Slack is the industry standard for managed instant messaging (IM). A good alternative would be to self (or cloud) host an open source IM such as Mattermost but as always it would be a good idea to do a cost benefit analysis between the solutions.

    Some of the main things to consider:

    • Having a good SDK for plugin creation
    • Having good integrations with existing tools ( JIRA , GitHub , OpsGenie , etc.)
    • Cost
    • Maintenance and administration
    • Covers all your businesses use cases
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    Mark Nelissen
    Mark Nelissen
    CTO at Gemsotec bvba · | 5 upvotes · 71K views
    Slack
    Slack
    HipChat
    HipChat
    Stride
    Stride
    Skype
    Skype
    Mattermost
    Mattermost

    I use Slack because it offers the best experience, even on the free tier (which we're still using). As a comparison, I have had in depth experience with HipChat, Stride, Skype, Google Chat (the new service), Google Hangouts (the old service). For self hosted, Mattermost is open source and claims to support most Slack integrations, but I have not extensively investigated this claim.

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    Gitter
    Gitter
    Zulip
    Zulip
    Google Drive
    Google Drive
    GitHub
    GitHub
    #OpenSource
    #User-Friendly
    #Projects
    #Teams
    #Events

    We run a major community project named as @Donut which is an #OpenSource social platform which allows communities to set up their own social environment and @slack platform drives us through the best experience of community interaction. Though we have been using some Open Source Interacting platforms like Gitter and Zulip but the fact that Slack exists and is such an essential tool, it’s really helped us with scaling and still feeling connected to one another across remote places with various teams with appropriate features in it.

    The #User-Friendly Slack brings all the organised conversations