Two bots one Slack

April 27, 2015

We started evaluating Slack at BigPanda, and it is truly great.

The signup process was super simple, adding integrations is really fast, and all the apps, web and native feels fresh and fast.

Needless to say, one of the first things I did was to hook up on of our Hubot instances that controls our door (see previous post).

With our previous not so hip chat, we did a quick hack, creating an Android Widget that calls our Hubot instance (called Bellboy), opening the door. Yes, a tad bit cumbersome, but this way we used the existing stack on our Raspberry Pi.

Anyhuze, when jumping aboard to Slack, that was the only thing that was not smooth, it appears that Slack’s Hubot adapter does not support Bot to Bot communication.

Sad Robot

That esentially means that all the things Hubot can hear are ignored if they’re not originated from a real user.

A quick Google search said that it might be implemented within a year.

It really bugged me that there wasn’t any hack around this, I really didn’t want to wait for a full year to use our shiny Android Widget to open our door.

Then I found out about SlackBot, which is Slacks native (and somewhat limited) bot.

SlackBot

It appears that this Bot has somehow entered userland (Oh how Tron!), and anything SlackBot says is picked up by Hubot as opposed to by other Bots.

And as making SlackBot talk is a simple matter of a POST request, our Android Widget is back in business!

On another small sidenote on the Slack Hubot Adapter, be sure to see this stackoverflow, you’ll need to change your Hubot’s init script to add the extra -l parameter to make sure that mention works as it should…

Cheerioz

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