Using Teams and Azure DevOps? There's an app for that, says Microsoft

Cute, says rival Slack, polishing its library of 1,800 apps and an updated developer toolkit

Microsoft has released its Azure Repos app for Teams in a bid to entice developers to its collaboration platform a day after competitor Slack upgraded its app developer toolkit.

The Azure Repos app will drop helpful (or annoying) notifications in Teams channels when repos get fiddled with – for example, code being pushed or checked in, or Pull Requests created or updated. Devs can then have a chat in Teams about the content of the messages.

Thankfully, users can use subscription filters to customise what they want to be notified about.

The app supports both Git and Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) repos, but you'll naturally need to be a member of the Azure DevOps Project Administrators group to create a subscription because the app, handy though it may be, can only be linked to a project hosted on Azure DevOps Services at the moment.

On the other hand, arch-rival Slack has a library of 1,800 apps at its fingertips, with many aimed at developers. And it enjoys a highly engaged developer ecosystem, counting 600,000 daily active registered developers building on its platform.

Those apps are key as the company noted 500,000 custom apps used in a typical week during September and 95 per cent of users declaring apps in Slack make the platform "more valuable".

To keep those developers on board and fend off the challenge from Microsoft (which recently claimed a surpassing of Slack's userbase with 13 million users – a figure that left the hipsters spluttering into their lattes), the company is updating its toolkit.

As well as a new home tab for apps, Slack developers will also be able to use multistep modal windows to show as many screens as needed in order to gather information. The goal is to stop users having to switch windows or open additional apps.

And, of course, stay firmly in that Slack window.

Other tweaks for developers include easier discovery for their apps and an improved, more granular permissions model to allow admins to only grant the rights actually needed by an app.

Right now, Slack is ahead in terms of app integrations even as Microsoft continues to add its own to Teams, such as Azure Repos app, and court developers. However, that user count, regardless of measuring method, will be hard for developers to ignore as 2020 rolls around and the Windows giant continues to plug gaps in its collaboration platform.

Microsoft is showing no sign of slowing down in its strong-arming of Office 365 customers into its vision for chatty collaboration any time soon.

Tweaking the tooling may not be enough to keep Teams at bay. ®

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