Slack Frontend Architecture with Anuj Nair

Slack is a messaging application with millions of users. The desktop application is an Electron app, which is effectively a web browser dedicated to running Slack. This frontend is built with ReactJS and other JavaScript code, and the application is incredibly smooth and reliable, despite its complexity.

When a user boots up Slack, the application needs to figure out what data to fetch and where to fetch it from. Companies that use Slack heavily have thousands of messages in their history, and Slack needs to determine which of those should be pulled into the client. There are profile images, and logos, and custom emojis, all of which are used to define the user’s custom workspace experience.

Anuj Nair joined Slack in late 2017. In the years since he has been with the company, Anuj helped rewrite the Slack frontend client, including work on the bootup experience, the caching infrastructure, and the role of service workers. Anuj joins the show to discuss his work on the Slack frontend architecture and the canonical view layer problems that Slack faces.

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Transcript

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