Sorry, couldn't resist making the joke.
If the new design was clearly superior, fine, but then if it was clearly superior, they wouldn't do it again a few months down the road.
Maybe then Slack could also put resources into creating native apps. Electron supposedly streamlines development and allows teams to move quickly—but I'd rather they move slowly and make performant software.
I sometimes use lower-end machines to test stuff, like a 2011 Macbook Air with 4GB of memory. There, I have all manner of problems—the fans spin up, and the whole Slack interface becomes extremely slow to respond. Simple things like changing channels and loading threads take seconds at a time.
These computers are inherently slower by modern standards, but there’s simply no reason Slack should require so many system resources!
I've made multiple support complaints to slack about their memory usage, there's been times where it's been using Gigabytes of memory on my workstation, and I've actually had to kill slack to compile on more than one occasion.
So not an electron issue, an engineering issue. That's I think at the root of all these "electron is bad" comments... poorly engineered code is slow. It will be slow if it's C++ or JS or Perl. But well engineered code is fast. And it can be fast in C++ or JS or Perl.
As an example, I've been playing with web frameworks recently. Asp.net running on dotnet core is roughly 10 times faster than node running express. While well engineered js might not get much slower, you'll never close that gap.
It's still a hog of course, but it's broadly better.
How is a multi-billion dollar company incapable of implementing a web chat in a competent way?
No it’s a centralized SaaS IM/chat platform with a very slow web client and no native clients, because it’s not a standardised internet protocol surrounded by a healthy ecosystem.
Any app in which I can type faster than the characters appear has deeper issues than scaling.
All of that and they don't have Enterprise contracts with SLAs!
(I'm talking about Discord)
Here's some data to back it up:
Slack's uptime is 99.95% from August to October
Discord's uptime is 99.85% from August to October
In the last 3 months our team has had to (against company policy) fall back to Discord to be able to do our daily meetings about 6 or 7 times.
I wouldn't run Discord on a large company either, but not for stability's sake, but because their (free) screen sharing is possibly the worst if you want to share a desktop rather than a game (it is very much optimized for low delay, and the downscaling makes text unreadable).
That's entirely possible, but this problem has persisted throughout multiple versions of Firefox and Fedora. For all I know, it could be due to the VPN connection, but even then, the VPN connection isn't that slow. Zoom video conferences still work reasonably well over it.
its one saving grace for us is the amount of legacy comments and history of discussions we have built up over years across conversations that is useful for reference.
We as a tech world need to just revert back to the simple format most IRC clients use.
I'm sure I could figure it out if I spent 15 minutes, but it's a damn chat app. Why is this so hard?
I cannot fault them on the meeting functionality and sharepoint integrations though, they are excellent.
My coworkers use Windows PCs and they all have a ton of fun problems with things as well.
I'm not so sure switching to Teams is a better move than Slack.
Flip it around and ask, what is the benefit of more effective communication worth to your company? You're already paying at least $10k a month for each person on your team. Making each person just 1% more efficient should be worth $100 a month.
It's not unbelievable that a communcation app would make that happen. Reaching out to a coworker saves a couple of hours of digging around. A high quality FYI channel means someone can read a proposal and spot a critical issue.
Slack is far from perfect, but choosing Teams instead to save a little cash seems like madness.
To the degree that teams fall into the habit of just searching slack history for info, I think those are the two key factors:
- we remember bits of conversation, and who said something, or in which channel, can be a good way to rediscover the full details; note-taking and aggregating stuff into a knowledge base or docs repository can strip out that info making it harder to rediscover. (The obvious caveat here is that there can be sharp difference between re-finding a conversation you participated in e.g. in your team, vs finding information about a system you depend on from a conversation you didn't participate in.)
- the process of getting stuff shared in slack into a longer-term knowledge base can be slow and tedious, and may require someone to spend time deciding which pieces are potentially valuable, generalizing from the specific case discussed to a form that makes sense out of context, condensing what was said over many messages, arbitrating between views which are valuable but conflicting, etc.
I would like to see an NLP tool for summarizing threads and extracting the information which is most likely to be reusable.
I get it from the perspective of slack is a disorganized mess in terms of long term history, but moving sensitive data from one system to another with similar security doesnt seem like a win (or loss) for security to me.
Note I didn’t call out sensitive information specifically. Just that you wished you deleted messages. You shouldn’t store secrets in a ticket system either.
I’m saying it’s ok for quick cursory discussions but those who retain Slack messages for tribal knowledge tend to have larger organizational issues. This knowledge should be in tickets where it’s expected to write well written responses with the intention of documenting knowledge.
If you'd used Teams, you'd know why. It is hilariously bad, gratuitously slow, ludicrously weird. I have periodically had to use Microsoft's team chat tools over the years, dating back to Yammer or perhaps even further, and for whatever reason it seems they just do not get chat.
Better question: why not just switch to Mattermost?
I use both all day, every day. I don't find Teams to be any worse, slower, or weirder than Slack.
Teams also does a lot that Slack can't do. As one small examples, it seems amazing that I can't add tabs to a Slack channel like I can in Teams.
You might not even be able to, Teams API is quite badly convoluted and limited. You simply won't be able to f.e. recreate Slackbot experience in group conversations(chats).
Having taking the route of going from Slack to Teams, where Teams is better at, IMHO, is the following:
- Within channels, all conversations are, by default, organized into threads. This gives you to the feeling that there are lots of chat boxes, but once we spend a few days with it, our team started noticing that our conversations have become more structured. However starting a new "thread" off the main channel discussion in slack takes significant conscious effort and its very easy for multiple conversations to get interleaved and become a mess.
- Integrated video/audio calls, along with call built-in note taking, makes for a very seamless jump from text to voice/video. With Slack, we needed to maintain separate Zoom account, as it's built-in voice/video chat was pretty bad.
- If your IT has already sold its soul to Microsoft Enterprise infra, Teams just fits in really really well, with its Active Directory/Azure AD/O365 integrations. It's no wonder that Teams is doing well in the Enterprise space. We still use GSuite for our emails, but given how less our team emails these days, if I were given an option to start from scratch, I'd probably choose to host our email on O365 outlook (even though I feel Gmail's UI is superior).
Of course, nothing is without its problems - you're dealing with Microsoft products, so except to hassle around a little bit with licensing, bad markdown abilities and a few other quirks. I've seen complaints of the client being really slow at times, but my team hasn't seen this issue in the recent past, since we switched in, except once or twice, where a restart of the client solves it.
One part of our team (~12 people) used Hangouts Chat for a few months, which has been around for more than a few years, and every six months. It sucks. They just released a new update to how their buttons looked every 6 months. I don't know why Google even bothers putting up this product.
The criticism for Teams is disproportionate in Hacker News, I don't understand why. I encourage you to try it out for a few days with a select group of people and make up your own mind.
The problem is that it's just so damn slow and unstable. It is an order of magnitude worse than Slack which is also an Electron app, so Electron alone isn't to blame here.
The notification system is a mess. They use their own notification system instead of integrating with the system one which is terrible because those notifications take up way more space than the default system ones and established UX behaviors (like dismissing them by swiping right on the trackpad) don't apply. There's also a bug where the notification is its own window which remains (in an invisible state) even when no notification is displayed (which means you can Cmd+Tab into it).
The tiny video window while you're on a call will bring up the main Teams UI when you try to minimize it. So if you're in a call with the participants in the main window and switch away from it, the little window will pop up in the bottom right corner of the screen. If you minimize that one, the main Teams window will come back into foreground and you now need to minimize it too.
The text editing experience is awful. It's wysiwyg-based with some minor Markdown-like formatting supported, but the problem is that copy/pasting most content from other apps will paste as "rich text" so not only is the formatting of that pasted text screwed up, but the screwed up formatting continues as you type beyond it. The button to copy a meeting invite link will copy HTML which means it'll work if pasted into a rich-text field (although the formatting will still be screwed up and differ from whatever was there before), but it will just spew out several long lines of HTML if you paste it into a plain text field like a code editor or another messenger. When you make a button called "copy meeting link", it should copy a plain-text link and that's it.
The slowness of it all is just the icing on the cake and makes dealing with those (relatively minor if in isolation) issues painful.
Teams is a pile of shit and its only objective is to win marketshare by appealing to bean-counters who will never seriously use it or people who've spent their entire life in a bullshit Microsoft environment and never tried real tools. I guess if your only experience of enterprise chat is Skype for Business (ex-Lync) then maybe it's better, but that's a pretty low bar and is definitely a trip back to the dark ages once you've used a real messenger like Slack or even the consumer-grade ones such as Discord, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.
My experience using it for the past 3 months was so bad that it's now on my "stuff I don't work with" list and any potential client that insists on it gets an instant decline on my part.
Sound simply doesn't work in the app, full stop. You need to use the web version, in Chrome, because nothing else works... Well Edge maybe, who knows. There is apparently no way to get sound working in the Mac client, meaning that it might as well not exist.
FWIW, it works fine for a team in our company who regularly posts audio content for review. Many of us use macOS.
There's a 49 on-screen participant limit, with a 250 participant limit overall.
That's odd. We have lots of macOS-using employees (myself included) doing this every day.
Not sure about Azure AD.
This is probably the key, as they're happy to keep using simple, proven tools that worked for decades and will keep working.
They're not worried about "scaling", "microservices", creating problems so they can solve them and brag about it at conferences & on the (seemingly mandatory now) engineering blog, etc.
It's just a bunch of people running the thing in their spare time and their incentive is to make it so that it requires as little time investment as possible, instead of over-complicating the stack on purpose so they can fill up their resume with buzzwords.
Whenever I have difficulty using a piece of corporate infrastructure, the Gary Owens voice from Space Quest IV says in my head: "Oh, by the way, you're about to be fired." So the first thing I do is check to see if it's just me. If others, or in this case the whole freakin' world, experience the same outage issues I breathe a bit easier.
I just want to say, this is much better than when people say "we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
It's really inconvenient, thanks for just acknowledging that up front.
I fear the day Im forced to start using MS products. Nothing but troubles with them - from ms servers, to cloud, to apps and “windows phone OS”.
Everything low quality and buggy.
Perhaps if you actually used MS products, you would have a better idea of how they run.
All 3 major clouds have their own idiosyncrasies. They're all good and bad at different things and I don't find any single one to be definitely better or worse than the rest.
I honestly don’t know what’s in Slack which requires pushing code to production several times every day. I completely understand having that capability is required for any serious engineering org but what kind of churn is that? Maybe someone knowledgeable can help me understand.
edit: to be clear, this is what Slack brings to the table.
In my case, it's suboptimal. There's a multi-second delay between when I type and when the characters show up on the screen. If I were able to use an OS specific client that didn't have these performance issues, then it would be a far better experience.
However, it seems better in their "native" electron client. Still no excuse, performance is terrible in the web client, in my experience, and I'd prefer to use that if I could.
5 frames / 160ms for the key to appear at the start of a chat line.
3 frames / 100ms for the next key to appear
Firefox in a plain text box takes 2 frames / 65ms
What OS you using? I haven't noticed an issue on the rare occasions I use my (7 year old) mac
Slack desktop application best case: 325ms with spell check disabled.
Telegram desktop application worst case: 25ms with spell check enabled
I am sure I wasn't precise in my key press detection. Nonetheless it's still a really sad difference.