Stride, the team communications solution Atlassian launched in September, today announced new features designed to make it "an even more powerful communications solution." These features include new API capabilities that enable developers to build custom apps and bots.
Apps can perform a variety of functions, such as sending messages to users, watching for messages and events, and extending the Slide UI. Apps can be built using any language or framework, and be hosted on any platform. The Stride API is a RESTful API and apps authenticate with it using OAuth2.
Webhooks are employed to notify apps of events, such as messages. Apps can implement custom actions, which present buttons to users that are added to messages or conversations. These can be used to initiate new workflows.
- Configuration pages allow users to configure apps in conversations they're installed in.
- Dialogs allow developers to open custom dialogs in Stride. These can contain custom forms.
- Glances offer the ability to display important app information, such as status indicators, within Stride's right sidebar.
- Sidebars enable the rendering of custom HTML in an app sidebar. Stride says these are ideal for displaying contextual information to all users in a conversation.
A number of these can be seen in action in a stand-up reporting app that Atlassian's Developer Relations team created.
Stride's API can also be used to implement bots, which are apps that offer conversational interfaces to Stride. Bots are mentioned in conversations as if they were other users and can monitor for specific events, such as messages, triggering Webhooks when those events occur. Bots can then take action, such as initiating a workflow or issuing responses back to a conversation.
A Slack killer?
Stride was launched as a successor to HipChat, Atlassian's team chat solution, with the goal of making it even easier for teams to communicate seamlessly between chat, phone meetings and videoconferencing. To date, the company says that over 10,000 teams have embraced it while nearly 1,000 developers have signed up to build on top of the platform.
The market for team communication platforms is a hot one and Stride competes head on with Slack. Atlassian believes that the new Stride API will help differentiate it from Slack and other competitors.
Specifically, apps are treated as "first class citizens" in Stride. The app marketplace is built into Stride, so users don't have to leave chat to discover and install them, and there are a number of ways that users can interact with the apps they choose to install.
Atlassian says that while other messaging tools force interactions to take place within the flow of conversation, which can be distracting, the ability of apps to use Stride's sidebar allows developers to create better experiences. Conversation cards, dialogs and sidebars enable developers to create what Atlassian believes are truly immersive workflows, while access to existing actions, decisions and meetings APIs give developers the ability to use functionality that competing platforms don't have.
Finally, Atlassian revealed that the Stride API was built from the ground up and believes it is "the strongest that Atlassian has ever created." As a result, the company says that the API will eventually be used for all of its products, giving developers an incentive to start working with it now.