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Slack developers get another small tool to fill out their bot functionality


Slack developers have been able to add a few buttons to the bottom of their responses in their in-line commands, but it seems like that was starting to get a little out of hand.

It’s pretty common for developers to start bending platform functionality to the point of breaking, and in this case some developers were even adding small buttons that would essentially page through options on the Slackbot response. So Slack, which at times can sometimes seem allergic to product changes, is making an alteration and giving developers the ability to add a drop-down menu to give additional responses and actions to Slackbot messages.

“We basically looked at the suite of things that enterprise software products do and distilled them down into basic functions,” platform marketing head Ceci Stallsmith said. “Step one is clicking, step two is dropdown, and in the future there will be a couple interactive [features]. We’re trying to knock off the most basic capabilities that most software has and embed into messages.”

Slack revealed at the end of January that it passed 5 million daily active users with 1.5 million paying customers after it added bots from SAP and launched a flagship enterprise app with Enterprise Grid. So it’s clearly trying to figure out how to create the best full suite of products for enterprise apps for larger companies, even if it means it’s leaning on developers to do that.

The drop-down menus can be static, or developers can make them more dynamic based on the response that a channel is getting from the call. The messages can also list other members of a Slack team or conversation lists. This seems like an incremental step — and, really, it is — but Slack has to keep up with developers are looking for within its service if it’s going to woo the best ones onto the platform. Slack has to itself envision what the best tools are going to be, but looking at where developers are stretching the limits of the app is often a good start.

Developers could easily point their businesses toward other platforms, but it seems Slack is hoping that they’ll bring in the best ones to fill the holes that Slack doesn’t already fill. It’s even launched an $80 million fund in order to finance startups looking to build functionality in Slack. The company has quickly become a darling in Silicon Valley, but it has to prove it can be attractive to larger enterprises that might shift their enterprise spend toward more established companies like Atlassian.


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