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Slack and Deno

Slack releases platform open beta powered by Deno

  • Jim Ray

This is a guest blog written by Jim Ray, Director of Developer Advocacy at Slack.

Seven years ago, we launched the Slack Platform for the first time, inviting developers to bring their favorite tools into Slack, where they’re already working everyday. A lot has changed since then — we’re now in a serverless era, plus developers have more pressure than ever to build fast while also staying nimble in face of change.

One thing that’s remained the same is our developer community: the early adopters, tinkerers, and influencers of Slack who use our APIs to push the product forward and reimagine how work can get done. In order to champion more than one million developers who rely on Slack each day, our platform needed to evolve, empowering them with the best and latest technology.

That’s why we built our new Slack Platform powered by Deno, introducing a faster, flexible, and more secure way to build on top of Slack. Starting today, anyone can try it out in open beta:

  • A new modular architecture grounded in building blocks — functions, triggers, and workflows. This creates a foundation for reusability, helping developers get more out of their code and reduce maintenance costs and tech debt.
  • Secure, serverless deployment powered by Slack’s managed infrastructure and Deno’s secure-by-default runtime, ensuring apps are enterprise-grade from day one.
  • A faster, more intuitive developer experience, including new tools like the Slack CLI, SDK written in TypeScript, and data stores that simplify the most tedious parts of development.

Slack’s journey with Deno

In the early days of building our next generation platform, we knew that it was crucial to not only embrace where development is headed, but also focus on the first principles that reflect the values of our platform. Working with Deno was a natural choice since we’ve been able to address these needs head on:

  • Easy - providing a seamless experience to developers means enabling them to focus on functionality instead of setup and infrastructure management. With Slack’s CLI powered by Deno, users can dive right into the code and eliminate the need for installing dependencies.
  • Fast - speed is a key consideration for tools that power communication and decision-making. Choosing the fastest JavaScript runtime powered by Chrome’s V8 ensured that Slack’s new platform would always have industry-leading performance.
  • Secure - the nature of a platform is that you implicitly create a baseline for anything that spawns from it. We firmly believe it’s our responsibility to ensure whatever developers build on top of is set at a high bar and secure by design.

What stood out first and foremost to our team was their laser focus on security. Deno’s secure architecture means developers get built-in granular controls, like the ability to execute code with limited access to the file system or external domains. We know this definitely makes Slack admins happy — they can let developers do what they do best, while also relying on built-in guardrails to protect their data.

Working with Deno also meant infusing two experiences that developers already genuinely enjoy using. In the latest Stack Overflow developer survey, Slack was voted the top collaboration tool and Deno was voted one of the most loved web technologies. By working together, we’ve been able to improve developer ergonomics in a number of ways:

  • Quickly releasing a new SDK using Deno’s out-of-the-box support for TypeScript
  • Making it easy to install and integrate with the CLI through a single, self-executing binary
  • Supporting web standards over proprietary mechanisms for features like loading modules
  • Providing flexibility across the ecosystem with Deno plug-ins for IDEs like VS Code

Start building with our open beta

Our entire team can attest to the fact that the feedback we receive from a beta is a gift — it provides the opportunity to co-create something special with the input from the broader developer community. We’ve learned so much in our closed beta and encourage you to see for yourself how Deno helps power our new platform.

Here are a few ways you can get started:

  • Head over to our documentation to dive in right away
  • Sign up for an upcoming webinar if you prefer something more hands-on
  • Join our community, where you can connect with Slack experts and fellow developers

We can’t wait to see what you build!