6 apps that cut down on context switching

A roundup of new apps, many built on Slack’s Block Kit, that let you take action right inside your workspace

Image Credit: Kelsey Wroten

The latest news from the Slack App Directory comes in many small, block-shaped pieces. This month we released a new framework for developers designing apps called Block Kit.

We’ll spare you the technical details, but here’s what you need to know: Some of our most popular apps for Slack now include interactive features like calendars and polls that help you work quicker and easier inside Slack.

Here’s a look at some helpful apps that have already upgraded around Block Kit—along with a few other notable releases that bring new functionality to your Slack workspace.

1. Optimizely

Optimizely is an experimentation platform, designed for marketing and product teams to test, learn, and deploy changes to their websites in real time. In Slack, Optimizely can report on experiment updates and results, as well as track new ideas and allow people to collaborate on those ideas.

Optimizely’s app is built with Block Kit

Use Optimizely to:

  • Draft a new experiment and hypothesis to test
  • Collaborate on ideas with comments
  • Get status updates and reports on existing experiments
Get App

2. Doodle

Doodle is a service that aims to solve the thorny problem of finding a perfect meeting time for a group of busy people. Its app for Slack can help suggest a range of meeting times, invite participants to pick, then select the best option, all in a single message.

Doodle’s app uses the latest calendar and polling features of Block Kit

Use Doodle to:

  • Propose meeting times and dates
  • Invite participants to share their availability
  • Select the best dates/times that work for everyone
Get App

3. Guru

Guru is a knowledge sharing app similar to a wiki, where your team can create cards to save reference information under titles. Use it to capture a workplace glossary of terms, create new cards for workplace policies, or just make a card with your office address and contact information. Once in Slack, you can search for relevant words or phrases in Guru and post those cards in a channel. You can also use message actions to start new cards based on any existing messages in Slack.

Guru’s app has been updated to include Block Kit features that make editing easier

Use Guru to:

  • Share reference information with your entire team
  • Create new cards from messages in Slack
  • Post relevant Guru cards in Slack channels
Get App

4. Litmus

Litmus lets you build, test, optimize, and monitor emails—across more than 90 clients—before they go out to a single customer, and its new app helps your team manage notifications for all those tasks in Slack. You can get direct messages whenever you’re mentioned in Litmus, when approvals are complete, and when there are new proofs to review.

Use Litmus to:

  • Keep tabs on your mentions
  • Get notifications whenever it’s time to review new proofs
  • Keep an eye on comments without leaving Slack
Get App

5. Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an old Slack favorite, but the app has recently seen a revamp that includes a slew of new features. You’ll get daily and weekly summaries of your calendar as before, with the added ability to respond to calendar invites in Slack with a single click. Plus, you can now join calls directly from your calendar notifications.

Use Google Calendar to:

  • Receive a daily summary of your schedule
  • Respond to invites directly in Slack
  • Join Hangout or Zoom calls with a single click
Get App

Azure Pipelines

Azure Pipelines is a service to let software development teams build, test, and deploy to any platform or cloud. With the Azure Pipelines app for Slack, you can easily monitor activity for your pipelines. Set up and manage subscriptions for completed builds, releases, and pending approvals and get notifications for these events in your channels.

Use Azure Pipelines to:

  • Monitor activity for your pipelines
  • Get alerts on completed builds
  • Receive notifications on pending approvals
Get App

Each week the Slack App Directory adds another page of outside services that help bring more of your team’s work into Slack. Try searching for other apps your team already uses—chances are there’s an app designed to work in Slack. Once installed, it’s one less tab or outside app to open, saving a bit of time normally spent switching, giving you a little boost in productivity.

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Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.