All posts by Richy George

Google updates its speech tech for contact centers

Posted by on 23 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Last July, Google announced its Contact Center AI product for helping businesses get more value out of their contact centers. Contact Center AI uses a mix of Google’s machine learning-powered tools to help build virtual agents and help human agents as they do their job. Today, the company is launching several updates to this product that will, among other things, bring improved speech recognition features to the product.

As Google notes, its automated speech recognition service gets to very high accuracy rates, even on the kind of noisy phone lines that many customers use to complain about their latest unplanned online purchase. To improve these numbers, Google is now launching a feature called ‘Auto Speech Adaptation in Dialogflow,” (with Dialogflow being Google tool for building conversational experiences). With this, the speech recognition tools are able to take the context of the conversation into account and hence improve their accuracy by about 40 percent, according to Google.

Speech Recognition Accuracy

In addition, Google is also launching a new model phone model for understanding short utterances, which is now about 15 percent more accurate for U.S. English, as well as a number of other updates that improve transcription accuracy, make the training process easier and allow for endless audio streaming to the Cloud Speech-to-Text API, which previously had a 5-minute limit.

If you want to, you can also now natively download MP3s of the audio (and then burn them to CDs, I guess).

dialogflow virtual agent.max 1100x1100

Posted Under: Tech News
CircleCI closes $56M Series D investment as market for continuous delivery expands

Posted by on 23 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

CircleCI launched way back in 2011 when the notion of continuous delivery was just a twinkle in most developer’s eyes, but over the years with the rise of agile, containerization and DevOps, we’ve seen the idea of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) really begin to mainstream with developers. Today, CircleCI was rewarded with a $56 million Series D investment.

The round was led by Owl Rock Capital Partners and Next Equity. Existing investors Scale Venture Partners, Top Tier Capital, Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ), Baseline Ventures, Industry Ventures, Heavybit and Harrison Metal Capital also participated in the round. CircleCI’s most recent funding prior to this round was $31 million Series C last January. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $115.5 million, according to the company.

CircleCI CEO Jim Rose sees a market that’s increasingly ready for the product his company is offering. “As we’re putting more money to work, there are just more folks that are now moving away from aspiring about doing continuous delivery and really leaning into the idea of, ‘We’re a software company, we need to know how to do this well, and we need to be able to automate all the steps between the time our developers are making changes to the code until that application gets in front of the customer,’” Rose told TechCrunch.

Rose sees a market that’s getting ready to explode and he wants to use the runway this money provides his company to take advantage of that growth. “Now, what we’re finding is that FinTech companies, insurance companies, retailers — all of the more traditional brands — are now realizing they’re in a software business as well. And they’re really trying to build out the tool sets and the expertise to be effective at that. And so the real growth in our market is still right in front of us,” he said.

As CircleCI matures and the market follows suit, a natural question following a Series D investment is when the company might go public, but Rose was not ready to commit to anything yet. “We come at it from the perspective of keeping our heads down trying to build the best business and doing right by our customers. I’m sure at some point along the journey, our investors will be itching for liquidity, but as it stands right now, everyone is really [focussed]. I think what we have found is that the bulk of the market is just starting to arrive,” he said.

Posted Under: Tech News
Arrcus snags $30M Series B as it tries to disrupt networking biz

Posted by on 23 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Arrcus has a bold notion to try and take on the biggest names in networking by building a better networking management system. Today it was rewarded with a $30 million Series B investment led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Existing investors General Catalyst and Clear Ventures also participated. The company previously raised a seed and Series A totaling $19 million, bringing the total raised to date to $49 million, according to numbers provided by the company.

Founder and CEO Devesh Garg says the company wanted to create a product that would transform the networking industry, which has traditionally been controlled by a few companies. “The idea basically is to give you the best-in-class [networking] software with the most flexible consumption model at the lowest overall total cost of ownership. So you really as an end customer have the choice to choose best-in-class solutions,” Garg told TechCrunch.

This involves building a networking operating system called ArcOS to run the networking environment. For now, that means working with manufacturers of white box solutions and offering some combination of hardware and software, depending on what the customer requires. Garg says that players at the top of the market like Cisco, Arista and Juniper tend to keep their technical specifications to themselves, making it impossible to integrate ArcOS with those companies at this time, but he sees room for a company like Arrcus.

“Fundamentally, this is a very large marketplace that’s controlled by two or three incumbents, And when you have lack of competition you get all of the traditional bad behavior that comes along with that including muted innovation, rigidity in terms of the solutions that are provided, and these legacy procurement models, where there’s not much flexibility with artificially high pricing,” he explained.

The company hopes to fundamentally change the current system with its solutions, taking advantage of unbranded hardware which offers a similar experience, but can run the Arrcus software. “Think of them as white box manufacturers of switches and routers. Oftentimes, they come from Taiwan, where they’re unbranded, but it’s effectively the same components that are used in the same systems that are used by the [incumbents],” he said.

The approach seems to be working as the company has grown to 50 employees since it launched in 2016. Garg says that expects to double that number in the next 6-9 months with the new funding. Currently the company has double-digit paying customers and over 20 in various stages of proofs of concepts, he said.

Posted Under: Tech News
Analytics startup Heap raises $55M

Posted by on 23 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Since co-founding Heap, CEO Matin Movassate has been saying that he wants to take on the analytics incumbents. Today, he’s got more money to fund that challenge, with the announcement that Heap has raised $55 million in Series C funding.

Movassate (pictured above) previously worked as a product manager at Facebook, and I interviewed him after the startup’s Series B, he recalled the circuitous process normally required to collect and analyze user data. In contrast, Heap automatically collects data on user activity — the goal is to capture literally everything — and makes it available in a self-serve way, with no additional code required to answer new queries.

The company says it now has more than 6,000 customers, including Twilio, AppNexus, Harry’s, WeWork and Microsoft.

With this new funding, Heap has raised a total of $95.2 million. The plan is to fund international growth, as well to expand the product, engineering and go-to-market teams.

The Series C was led by NewView Capital, with participation from new DTCP, Maverick Ventures, Triangle Peak Partners, Alliance Bernstein Private Credit Investors and Sharespost) and existing investors (NEA, Menlo Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Pear VC). NewView founder and managing partner Ravi Viswanathan is joining the startup’s board of directors.

“Heap offers an innovative approach to automating a company’s analytics, enabling a variety of teams within an organization to obtain the data they need to make educated and, ultimately, smarter decisions,” Viswanathan said in a statement. “We are excited to team up with Heap, as they continue to develop their cutting edge software, expand their analytics automation offerings and help serve their growing numbers of customers.”

Posted Under: Tech News
TrustRadius, a customer-generated B2B software review platform, raises $12.5M

Posted by on 23 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Customer reviews play a key role in helping people decide what to buy on consumer-focused marketplaces like Amazon or app stores, and the same tendency exists in the B2B world, where nearly half a trillion dollars is spent annually on software and IT purchases. TrustRadius, one of the startups capitalising on the latter trend with total feedback sessions today standing at close to 190,000 reviews, has now picked up a Series C of $12.5 million led by Next Coast Ventures with existing investors Mayfield Fund and LiveOak Ventures also participating.

The funding, which brings the total raised by TrustRadius to $25 million (modest compared to some of its competitors) will be used to build more partnerships and use cases for its reviews, as well as continue expanding that total number of users providing feedback.

In addition to its main site — which goes up against a huge number of other online software comparison services like TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, Owler, and many others — TrustRadius is already working with vendors like LogMeIn, Tibco and more (including a number of huge IT companies that have asked not to be named).

TrustRadius mainly works with them on two tracks: to source a wider range of reviews from their existing customer bases to improve their profiles on the site; and then to help them use those reviews in their own marketing materials. Partnerships like these form the core of TrustRadius’s business model: people posting reviews or using the site to read them access it for free.

Vinay Bhagat, founder and CEO of TrustRadius, believes that his company’s mission — to help IT decision makers vet software by tapping into feedback from other IT buyers — has found particular relevance in the current market.

“I think that gravity is on our side,” he said in an interview. “If you think about how the tech industry is evolving and getting things done, IT decisions are getting decentralized and moving out of the CIO’s office. Millennials are ageing into positions of authority, and it means that the way people had previously bought software — by way of salespeople or on the basis of analyst reports — are changing. There is pent-up demand to hear the roar of peers and that’s where we come in.”

User-generated reviews have come under a lot of criticism in recent times. Regulators have been going after companies for not being vigilant enough about policing their platforms for “fake” reviews, either planted to big up a product, or by rivals to knock it down, or coming from people who are being paid to put in a good word. The argument has been that the marketplaces hosting those reviews are still bringing in eyeballs and product conversions based on that feedback, so they are less concerned with the corruption even if it longer term can likely sour consumers on the trustworthiness of the whole platform.

That belief is not wholly true, of course: Amazon for one has recently been making a huge effort to improve trust, by going after dodgy reviewers and setting up systems to halt the trafficking of counterfeit goods.

And Bhagat argued to me that it doesn’t hold for TrustRadius, either. The company has a focused enough mandate — B2B software purchasing — within a crowded enough field, that losing trust by posting blindly positive reviews would get it nowhere fast.

At the same time, he noted that the company has held a firm line with its customers on making sure that the “truth” about a product is made clear even if it’s not completely rosy, in the hopes that they can use that to work on improvements, and also provide more balanced feed back at the least from existing customers in order to give a more complete picture. (It also, like other reviews sites, makes people who provide feedback do so using professional credentials like work emails and LinkedIn profiles.)

That line has so far carried it into relationships with a number of software companies, which are using reviews as a complement to their own sales teams, and the papers and analysis published by analysts like Gartner and Ovum and Forester, to reach people who are weighing up different options for their IT solutions.

“TrustRadius has become an integral part of today’s economic cycle”, said Bill Wagner, CEO of LogMeIn, in a statement. “Software buyers today need detailed reviews to make sure that the product works for a business professional like themselves. TrustRadius provides that in a transparent way, so buyers can make confident decisions, even about enterprise-grade software.”

The recent swing in the digital world towards data protection and people getting increasingly aware of how their own personal details are used in ways they never intended, has presented an interesting challenge for the world of online services. Most of us don’t like getting marketing and will generally opt out of any “yes, I consent to getting updates from XYZ and its partners!” boxes — if we happen to spot them amid the dark patterning of the net.

TrustRadius and companies like it have an opportunity through that, though: by targeting IT buyers who have to make complicated purchasing decisions and most likely more than one, and in a way that ensures each purchase works with the rest of an existing tech stack, they represent one of the rare cases of where a user might actually want to hear more.

Indeed, one of the company’s plans longer term is to continue developing how it can work with its users through that IT lifecycle by providing suggestions of software based on previous software purchases and also what that user’s feedback has been around a past purchase.

“From day one we have been deal with complex purchasing decisions,” Bhagat said. “Buying technology that will be used to run your business is not the same as buying an app that you use casually. It can be make or break for your company.”

Posted Under: Tech News
In spite of slowing growth, Microsoft has been flexing its cloud muscles

Posted by on 22 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

When Microsoft reported its FY19, Q4 earnings last week, the numbers were mostly positive, but as we pointed out, Azure earnings growth has stalled. Productivity and business, which includes Office 365, has also mostly flattened out. But slowing growth is not always as bad as it may seem. In fact, it’s an inevitability that once you start to reach Microsoft’s market maturity, it gets harder to maintain large growth numbers.

That said, AWS launched the first cloud infrastructure service, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud in August, 2006. Microsoft came much later to the cloud, launching Azure in February, 2010, but so were other established companies in Microsoft’s market share rearview. What did it do differently to achieve this success that the companies chasing it — Google, IBM and Oracle — failed to do? It’s a key question.

Let’s look at some numbers

For starters, let’s look at the most numbers for Productivity & Business Processes this year. This category includes all of its commercial and consumer SaaS products including Office 365 commercial and consumer, Dynamics 365, LinkedIn and others. The percentage growth started FY19 at 19% but ended at 14%

Screenshot 2019 07 19 14.34.00

When you look at just Office365 commercial earnings growth, it started at 36% and dropped down to 31% by Q4.

Posted Under: Tech News
Google Cloud makes it easier to set up continuous delivery with Spinnaker

Posted by on 22 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Google Cloud today announced Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform, a new solution that makes it easier to install and run the Spinnaker continuous delivery (CD) service on Google’s cloud.

Spinnaker was created inside Netflix and is now jointly developed by Netflix and Google. Netflix open-sourced it back in 2015 and over the course of the last few years, it became the open-source CD platform of choice for many enterprises. Today, companies like Adobe, Box, Cisco, Daimler, Samsung and others use it to speed up their development process.

With Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform, which runs on the Google Kubernetes Engine, Google is making the install process for the service as easy as a few clicks. Once up and running, the Spinnaker install includes all of the core tools, as well as Deck, the user interface for the service. Users pay for the resources used by the Google Kubernetes Engine, as well as Cloud Memorystore for Redis, Google Cloud Load Balancing and potentially other resources they use in the Google Cloud.

could spinnker.max 1100x1100

The company has pre-configured Spinnaker for testing and deploying code on Google Kubernetes Engine, Compute Engine and App Engine, though it will also work with any other public or on-prem cloud. It’s also integrated with Cloud Build, Google’s recently launched continuous integration service and features support for automatic backups and integrated auditing and monitoring with Google’s Stackdriver.

“We want to make sure that the solution is great both for developers and DevOps or SRE teams,” says Matt Duftler, Tech Lead for Google’s Spinnaker effort, in today’s announcement. “Developers want to get moving fast with the minimum of overhead. Platform teams can allow them to do that safely by encoding their recommended practice into Spinnaker, using Spinnaker for GCP to get up and running quickly and start onboard development teams.”

 

Posted Under: Tech News
Announcing the agenda for TC Sessions: Enterprise | San Francisco, September 5

Posted by on 22 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

TechCrunch Sessions is back! On September 5, we’re taking on the ferociously competitive field of enterprise software, and thrilled to announce our packed agenda, overflowing with some of the biggest names and most exciting startups in the enterprise industry. And you’re in luck, because $249 early-bird tickets are still on sale — make sure you book yours so you can enjoy all the agenda has to offer.

Throughout the day, you can expect to hear from industry experts and partake in discussions about the potential of new technologies like quantum computing and AI, how to deal with the onslaught of security threats, investing in early-stage startups and plenty more

We’ll be joined by some of the biggest names and the smartest and most prescient people in the industry, including Bill McDermott at SAP, Scott Farquhar at Atlassian, Julie Larson-Green at Qualtrics, Wendy Nather at Duo Security, Aaron Levie at Box and Andrew Ng at Landing AI.

Our agenda showcases some of the powerhouses in the space, but also plenty of smaller teams that are building and debunking fundamental technologies in the industry. We still have a few tricks up our sleeves and will be adding some new names to the agenda over the next month, so keep your eyes open. In the meantime, check out these agenda highlights:

AGENDA

Investing with an Eye to the Future
Jason Green (Emergence Capital), Maha Ibrahim (Canaan Partners) and Rebecca Lynn (Canvas Ventures)
9:35 AM – 10:00 AM

In an ever-changing technological landscape, it’s not easy for VCs to know what’s coming next and how to place their bets. Yet, it’s the job of investors to peer around the corner and find the next big thing, whether that’s in AI, serverless, blockchain, edge computing or other emerging technologies. Our panel will look at the challenges of enterprise investing, what they look for in enterprise startups and how they decide where to put their money.


Talking Shop
Scott Farquhar (Atlassian)
10:00 AM – 10:20 AM

With tools like Jira, Bitbucket and Confluence, few companies influence how developers work as much as Atlassian. The company’s co-founder and co-CEO Scott Farquhar will join us to talk about growing his company, how it is bringing its tools to enterprises and what the future of software development in and for the enterprise will look like.


Q&A with Investors 
10:20 AM – 10:50 AM

Your chance to ask questions of some of the greatest investors in enterprise.


Innovation Break: Deliver Innovation to the Enterprise
DJ Paoni (
SAP), Sanjay Poonen (VMware) and Shruti Tournatory (Sapphire Ventures)
10:20 AM – 10:40 AM

For startups, the appeal of enterprise clients is not surprising — signing even one or two customers can make an entire business, and it can take just a few hundred to build a $1 billion unicorn company. But while corporate counterparts increasingly look to the startup community for partnership opportunities, making the jump to enterprise sales is far more complicated than scaling up the strategy startups already use to sell to SMBs or consumers. Hear from leaders who have experienced successes and pitfalls through the process as they address how startups can adapt their strategy with the needs of the enterprise in mind. Sponsored by SAP.


Coming Soon!
10:40 AM – 11:00 AM


Box’s Enterprise Journey
Aaron Levie (Box)
11:15 AM – 11:35 AM

Box started life as a consumer file-storage company and transformed early on into a successful enterprise SaaS company, focused on content management in the cloud. Levie will talk about what it’s like to travel the entire startup journey — and what the future holds for data platforms.


Bringing the Cloud to the Enterprise
George Brady (Capital One), Byron Deeter (Bessemer Venture Partners) and a speaker to be announced
11:35 AM – 12:00 PM

Cloud computing may now seem like the default, but that’s far from true for most enterprises, which often still have tons of legacy software that runs in their own data centers. What does it mean to be all-in on the cloud, which is what Capital One recently accomplished. We’ll talk about how companies can make the move to the cloud easier, what not to do and how to develop a cloud strategy with an eye to the future.


Keeping the Enterprise Secure
Martin Casado (Andreessen Horowitz), Wendy Nather (Duo Security) and a speaker to be announced
1:00 PM – 1:25 PM

Enterprises face a litany of threats from both inside and outside the firewall. Now more than ever, companies — especially startups — have to put security first. From preventing data from leaking to keeping bad actors out of your network, enterprises have it tough. How can you secure the enterprise without slowing growth? We’ll discuss the role of a modern CSO and how to move fast… without breaking things.


Keeping an Enterprise Behemoth on Course
Bill McDermott (SAP)

1:25 PM – 1:45 PM

With over $166 billion is market cap, Germany-based SAP is one of the most valuable tech companies in the world today. Bill McDermott took the leadership in 2014, becoming the first American to hold this position. Since then, he has quickly grown the company, in part thanks to a number of $1 billion-plus acquisitions. We’ll talk to him about his approach to these acquisitions, his strategy for growing the company in a quickly changing market and the state of enterprise software in general.


How Kubernetes Changed Everything
Brendan Burns (Microsoft), Tim Hockin (Google Cloud), Craig McLuckie (VMware)
and Aparna Sinha (Google)
1:45 PM – 2:15 PM

You can’t go to an enterprise conference and not talk about Kubernetes, the incredibly popular open-source container orchestration project that was incubated at Google. For this panel, we brought together three of the founding members of the Kubernetes team and the current director of product management for the project at Google to talk about the past, present and future of the project and how it has changed how enterprises think about moving to the cloud and developing software.


Innovation Break: Data: Who Owns It
(SAP)

2:15 PM – 2:35 PM

Enterprises have historically competed by being closed entities, keeping a closed architecture and innovating internally. When applying this closed approach to the hottest new commodity, data, it simply does not work anymore. But as enterprises, startups and public institutions open themselves up, how open is too open? Hear from leaders who explore data ownership and the questions that need to be answered before the data floodgates are opened. Sponsored by SAP.


AI Stakes its Place in the Enterprise
Bindu Reddy (Reality Engines), Jocelyn Goldfein (Zetta Venture Partners)
and a speaker to be announced
2:35 PM – 3:00 PM

AI is becoming table stakes for enterprise software as companies increasingly build AI into their tools to help process data faster or make more efficient use of resources. Our panel will talk about the growing role of AI in enterprise for companies big and small.


Q&A with Founders
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Your chance to ask questions of some of the greatest startup minds in enterprise technology.


The Trials and Tribulations of Experience Management
Julie Larson-Green (Qualtrics), Peter Reinhardt (Segment) and a speaker to be announced
3:15 PM – 3:40 PM

As companies gather more data about their customers, it should theoretically improve the customer experience, buy myriad challenges face companies as they try to pull together information from a variety of vendors across disparate systems, both in the cloud and on prem. How do you pull together a coherent picture of your customers, while respecting their privacy and overcoming the technical challenges? We’ll ask a team of experts to find out.


Innovation Break: Identifying Overhyped Technology Trends
James Allworth (
Cloudflare), George Mathew (Kespry) and Max Wessel (SAP)
3:40 PM – 4:00 PM

For innovation-focused businesses, deciding which technology trends are worth immediate investment, which trends are worth keeping on the radar and which are simply buzzworthy can be a challenging gray area to navigate and may ultimately make or break the future of a business. Hear from these innovation juggernauts as they provide their divergent perspectives on today’s hottest trends, including Blockchain, 5G, AI, VR and more. Sponsored by SAP.


Fireside Chat
Andrew Ng (Landing AI)
4:00 PM – 4:20 PM

Few technologists have been more central to the development of AI in the enterprise than Andrew Ng . With Landing AI and the backing of many top venture firms, Ng has the foundation to develop and launch the AI companies he thinks will be winners. We will talk about where Ng expects to see AI’s biggest impacts across the enterprise.


The Quantum Enterprise
Jim Clarke (Intel), Jay Gambetta (IBM)
and Krysta Svore (Microsoft)
4:20 PM – 4:45 PM

While we’re still a few years away from having quantum computers that will fulfill the full promise of this technology, many companies are already starting to experiment with what’s available today. We’ll talk about what startups and enterprises should know about quantum computing today to prepare for tomorrow.


Overcoming the Data Glut
Benoit Dageville (Snowflake), Ali Ghodsi (Databricks) and a speaker to be announced
4:45 PM – 5:10 PM

There is certainly no shortage of data in the enterprise these days. The question is how do you process it and put it in shape to understand it and make better decisions? Our panel will discuss the challenges of data management and visualization in a shifting technological landscape where the term “big data” doesn’t begin to do the growing volume justice.


Early-bird tickets are on sale now for just $249. That’s a $100 savings before prices go up — book yours today.

Students, save big with our super discounted $75 ticket when you book here.

Are you a startup? Book a demo table package for just $2,000 (includes 4 tickets) — book here.

Posted Under: Tech News
Serverless, Inc expands free Framework to include monitoring and security

Posted by on 22 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Serverless development has largely been a lonely pursuit until recently, but Serverless, Inc has been offering a free framework for intrepid programmers since 2015. At first, that involved development, deployment and testing, but today the company announced it is expanding into monitoring and security to make it an end-to-end tool — and it’s available for free.

Serverless computing isn’t actually server-free, but it’s a form of computing that provides a way to use only the computing resources you need to carry out a given function and no more. When the process is complete, the resources effectively go away. That has the potential to be more cost-effective than having a server that’s always on, regardless of whether you’re using it or not. That requires a new way of thinking about how developers write code.

While serverless offers a compelling value proposition, up until Serverless, Inc came along with some developer tooling, early adherents were pretty much stuck building their own tooling to develop, deploy and test their programs. Today’s announcement expands the earlier free Serverless, Inc Framework to provide a more complete set of serverless developer tools.

Company founder and CEO Austen Collins says that he has been thinking a lot about what developers need to develop and deploy serverless programs, and talking to customers. He says that they really craved a more integrated approach to serverless development than has been available until now.

“What we’re trying to do is build this perfectly integrated solution for developers and developer teams because we want to enable them to innovate as much as possible and be as autonomous as possible,” Collins told TechCrunch. He says at the same time, he recognizes that operations needs to connect to other tools and the Serverless Framework provides hooks into other systems as well.

Screenshot 2019 07 22 09.27.24

The new tooling includes an integrated environment, so that once you deploy, you can simply click an error or security event and drill down to a dashboard for more information about the issue. You can click for further detail to see the exact spot in the code where the issue occurred, which should make it easier to resolve more quickly.

While no tool is 100 percent comprehensive, and most large organizations, and even individual developers, will have a set of tools they prefer to use, this is an attempt to build a one-stop solution for serverless developers for the first time. That in itself is significant as serverless moves beyond early adopters and begins to become more of a mainstream kind of programming and deployment option. People starting now probably won’t want to cobble together their own toolkits and the Serverless, Inc. Framerwork gives them a good starting point.

Serverless, Inc. was founded by Collins in 2015 out of a need for serverless computing tooling. He has raised over $13.5 million since inception.

Posted Under: Tech News
Slack speeds up its web and desktop client

Posted by on 22 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Slack is launching a major update to its web and desktop today that doesn’t introduce any new features or a new user interface. Instead, it’s almost a complete rebuild of the underlying technology that makes these two experiences work. Over the course of the last year or so, Slack worked on shifting the web and desktop clients (which essentially use the same codebase) to a modern stack and away from jQuery and other technologies it used when it first introduced these tools in 2012.

“We want people to be able to run Slack alongside anything else they’re using to get their job done and have that be easy, uncumbersome, delightful even. So we took a look at the environment we’re in,” Jaime DeLanghe, Director of Product Management at Slack, told me. “I think the other thing to note is that the ecosystem for client-side development has just changed a lot in the past five years. There have been some major updates to JavaScript and new technologies like React and Redux to make it easier to build dynamic web applications. We also wanted to update our stack to fit in with the modern paradigm.”

02 Speed Slack desktop side by side

Over the course of the last few months, the team actually quietly rolled out a lot of the prep work for this move, though the full extent of the work is only going to become apparent once you update the client to the latest version as its the new Electron app that will bring it all together.

Slack promises that this new version will use up to 50 percent less memory than before and that Slack will load 33 percent faster. Joining an incoming call will also be ten times faster now.

A lot of these changes will be especially apparent to users who are part of multiple workspaces. That’s because, as DeLanghe stressed, the team designed the new architecture with the assumption that many users are now part of multiple workspaces. Those used to take up a lot of memory and CPU cycles when you switched between them, as each workspace used to get its own Electron process in the old app. 2019 07 21 1907

In the updated app, Slack went with React to build all of the UI components and instead of waiting for all the data to load before displaying the UI, the new app now lazily loads data as it becomes available.

The result of this is an experience that also now allows you to at least read previously opened channels and conversations when you are offline.

04 Low connectivity Slack desktop side by side

What’s maybe even more important, though, is that Slack now has a modern client to build on, which should speed up feature development going forward. “I’m not going to over-promise,” DeLanghe said. “This removes one of the barriers that any company that’s scaling and building features at the same time has to think about. […] This makes that tradeoff a little bit easier.”

The update will roll out to all users over the course of the next few weeks. That’s because this is a two-part change.  You’ll need both the new desktop application and become eligible for the new version. Some of this is out of Slack’s hands, as your IT department may decide how it rolls out updates, for example.

03 Memory Slack desktop side by side

Posted Under: Tech News
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