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Slack Canvas

·526 words·3 mins
Hot Take:

Newly released (at some point anyway) is Slack Canvas, what looks to be a little bit of on demand wiki, collaboration space, and possibly (based on marketing materials) workflow organizer. This came to light as a “pop up” when I went into a Slack window on my mobile. Being a curious person and someone that is willing to try out new things I jumped right in.

The Take #

Without reading any marketing pages or anything else, I just started to do a few things with it. The first look at the canvas I immediately attempted to write with Markdown. I instinctively tried making some headings, and it actually worked, I was very surprised as I would have thought that the canvas would remain a very Slack flavor of Markdown, which hasn’t really worked in the past. But the headings came right in and it even provides a collapsible menu for the headings.

Next up was to try to make bold, italic, and strikethrough formatting. It followed the Slack flavor Markdown here. So that will continue to be a switch up from the standard GitHub flavored Markdown that so many are accustomed to.

One of the features that I’m liking is the ability to have quick access to comments within the Canvas for any section, paragraph, item added. This seems very natural.

I then went and checked out the marketing material around the feature, take a look for yourself here. I then wrote the majority of this blog post and looked at the getting started. The following quote kind of concerns me a small bit:

All existing posts will eventually be converted to canvases, and all of your content will be saved. On free teams, your posts will be converted to read-only canvases. You can continue to edit your existing posts until they are converted.

If I’m reading the block quote there properly, all posts are going to move to a Canvas for each message? I guess time will tell here.

Confluence? #

This is all giving a bit of feel to having Confluence pages. Where you are able to collaborate in real time with others, leave comments, and make for good pages that can be consumed in a Wiki format. The difficult thing with Confluence is that it is a bit clunky to go between pages. You are relying on the web page loading, which has some overhead. The speed at which Canvas pages are able to load and then render text is pretty smooth within the Slack application itself.

Down Sides? #

  • Yet another place to store wiki like content
  • Escape Key does not close out the Canvas window.

Am I Going to Use It? #

I’m going to give it a try. I like having it in the messaging app, almost the new universal user interface. I believe in this concept of having work within collaboration/messaging apps. ChatOps is another example within Slack that is providing network automation to users. Everyone is in messaging apps all day, every day. So this is a good feel to have.

Thoughts on Slack changes; maybe thoughts on having my hot takes on these? Let me know.