Recently I had some questions from my team about things related to payroll, tracking hours, finding info about current clients, etc.
I thought to myself, a lot of these questions I can probably cobble together answers for by cobbling together data from the various services we use. Also it gave me an excuse to do some programming and try new things.
Since my entire team already uses Slack, I decided to see if I could make a small Slack application that would let me give automated, up to date answers to any payroll and time tracking questions the team might have.
The advantage of a Slack app is that my entire team is already authenticated there, so all I have to do is use some Lambda functions that only respond if the request is coming from Slack, which provides some handy tokens and username information whenever a request comes in.
The other tool that really helps with a small project like this is the Serverless framework. Serverless lets you spin up occasional use functions that don’t cost much to have deployed, and be able to develop them “live”. In develop mode, the functions are continuously deployed as files change. So I was able to test my changes in Slack as I was creating functions and thinking through the various features I wanted to offer.
If you have some workplace related data problems and some developer chops, worth taking a look at Slack apps. Or have us make it.