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Slack-push collections

Introduction

Slack is a team-focused instant messaging platform. Funnelback can index messages posted within Slack channels to ensure past discussions remain discoverable.

Slack content is gathered by a Slackpush collection, which will insert records into an associated push collection.

Creating a Slackpush collection

Slackpush collections store their data in a Push collection, so a Push collection must first be created.

The Slackpush collection itself can then be created, using the new Push collection as a target. The following configuration options can be configured during creation of the collection.

Configuration options

Slackpush collections support the following settings:

  • slack.hostname: The hostname of the Slack instance - e.g your-team.slack.com

  • slack.target-collection: The push collection messages should go into (as created above)

  • slack.channel-names-to-exclude: List (comma separated) of channel names to exclude from search

  • slack.user-names-to-exclude: List (comma separated) of user names to exclude from search

    Note that the expected values are usernames (e.g. spengler), not "real names" (e.g. Egon Spengler), and not slack user IDs (e.g. W012A3CDE). See https://api.slack.com/types/user for details of the various slack user identifiers.

Updating Slackpush Collections

When updating a Slackpush collection from the admin UI, only the 'Advanced Update' option is available. To perform this update, an export of content from Slack, in the form of a zip file, must be uploaded to Funnelback. Slack provide's documentation on exporting Slack messages which details the required steps to export from Slack.

Once the export is uploaded through Funnelback's update screen, the Slackpush collection will insert each message into the target push collection, and will also fetch any files which were uploaded to Slack and insert them into the push collection after filtering. Note, however, that since files uploaded to Slack are never expected to change, they will only be fetched if they are not already present within the target push collection.

Slack message result presentation

Slack messages inserted into the push collection may benefit from some presentation customisation. Please note that the customisations described below must be applied to the target push collection, not to the Slackpush collection, since it is the push collection will be the one users search.

Slack messages as inserted will have a number of metadata properties which may be beneficial to map within the target push collection. In particular, the following metadata header items may be of use:

Metadata headerExplanation
message_onelineA single-line representation of the message
channelNameThe name of the channel to which the message was posted
userThe name of the user who posted the message
sortDateTimeA timestamp value suitable for sorting messages in the order they were posted
previousMessageUrlThe URL of the message preceeding the current one, which can be used with related item support described below

Since messages often make sense only in the context of the preceeding messages, Funnelback's related document fetching support may be useful to present each matching message with some context. As a simple example, setting the following on the push collection will cause the complete mapped metadata of the previous message to be included with each Slack message.

ui.modern.related-document-fetch.previousMessage=metadata:previousMessageUrl

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