Slack upgrades developer tools with new Block Kit toolset

The toolkit is aimed at improving the way apps perform across the Slack platform.

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Slack on Wednesday released a new toolset that aims to make it easier for developers to create or upgrade the Slack app experience for their end users. The Block Kit toolset includes a UI framework that provides new ways for developers to display information and build app interactivity, along with a prototyping tool that lets developers test app interactions as they'll appear in Slack.

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Slack -- which says it now has 10 million daily active users and 85,000 paying customers -- said more than 94 percent of its paid teams actively use apps. As such, the workplace collaboration software company said it's now investing in improving the way apps perform across the Slack platform.

According to Slack, Block Kit gives developers new ways to display dense information, as well as more flexibility and control over app message interactivity. The UI framework is comprised of blocks that function like stackable message components, making it easier to control and prioritize the order of information. 

The kit builder prototyping tool lets developers test app interactions and view the payload to understand and use the code. Block Kit Builder also offers customizable templates that give developers foundational examples for how to use the blocks and populated code.

Slack is marking the launch of Block Kit with a bevy of customer testimonials, releasing statements from Optimizely, Doodle and Guru. Overall the message is that Block Kit improves the developer workflow and general app experience for their customers. 

"Block Kit ... has eliminated an arduous developer workflow while providing a much better experience for our customers looking to track and view messages on their ideas and experiments across teams," said Byron Jones, Optimizely's director of product.

Earlier this month Slack confidentially submitted a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission related to its much anticipated debut on the public market. In a press release, Slack said its public listing "is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions".

Since April 2014 Slack has raised more than $1 billion in total funding. Its last round secured $427 million in venture financing and gave the company a post-money valuation of $7.1 billion.

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