Posting to Slack, Publishing in Drupal
How Zoomdata employees share insights into company life
Xeno Media is pleased to announce our latest Drupal 7 contrib module, Slack to Drupal. This module imports pictures uploaded to Slack to Drupal 7 systems--thereby allowing a community of users to add content to a site while managing their daily business collaboration through the Slack app.
Zoomdata--who makes visual analytics software for big data--tasked us with coming up with a solution that allows their employees to submit images for the public website to share the company’s unique, engaging culture to aid in marketing and recruiting.
Various source platforms, including Instagram, Flickr, and Twitter, were originally considered. As we surveyed Zoomdata employees, though, we realized that Slack was the ideal source. Slack is fundamental to Zoomdata’s work culture; Its 200 employees and contractors throughout North America and Europe actively collaborating on Slack on an ongoing basis. Leveraging Slack as the source platform would allow employees to submit images in real-time without breaking their typical work/collaboration workflows and methods.
With that settled, we started researching how to integrate. Our developers researched Slack’s API and proposed two approaches: 1) Create a Slack “bot”--a virtual user that our human users could interface with. Or: 2) Integrate with a specific Slack channel. We elected the later as we could more efficiently access the files in a specific channel and Zoomdata appreciated having a single destination channel for users to come to rather than clogging other channels with off-topic bot chatter.
With the Slack-side figured out, we worked on the Drupal development. We are supporters of the Drupal Media initiative, and decided to integrate the the Drupal Media 7.x-2.0 File Entity as we do on many of our client sites. The File Entity module creates an entity like a node for each file in the system. This allows us to add fields, like Caption, Approval, Date, and Uploader. It also allows us to use, and reuse the entities in the site on other pieces of content and create views of the entities. We called this new entity Slack Image.
We also created an administration screen where an administrator can approve or disapprove images. If images are disapproved, they are removed from the system and not imported again. If approved, they are available where all the other File Entities are available.
For the Zoomdata public site, we created a view of the new Slack images that appears on their Careers page in a beautiful, modern, and responsive layout using Masonry Views, Colorbox, and GD infinite scroll plugin modules.
Our employees are always posting photos in Slack. I really wanted to share those photos with our customers, partners, prospective employees and vendors so they could get a view inside Zoomdata and know what a great team of people they’re partnering with. Jim, and the team at Xeno Media, made it possible by creating a fantastic Drupal website for us, and by developing Slack to Drupal.
Robyn Forman, Zoomdata’s VP of Digital Marketing.
Results so far have been very positive--with more than half of the company joining the channel and submissions coming from every office and department. Through Slack to Drupal, employees from throughout the organization have shown what an engaged, fun, and cutting edge culture Zoomdata really is.