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slack commands for communicating about pairing / coworking with your team

So you can find teammates to pair on the company website or a bite to eat, for example:

Slack-Pair example screenshot


Use "/pair" alone to list the status of all teammates:


Yes! Someone should come find me now. Let's pair:

  • Jeremia: "Want to work on design today! Open to other ideas."
  • Giselle: "Would love to do learn some JS today, or teach design"

OK. I'm working now but feel free to interrupt me:

  • Molly
  • Tom

Nope. Do Not Disturb:

  • Jason: travelling
  • Maksim
  • Peter: deadlines!

Use "/pair [yes/ok/no]" to set your status

/pair yes

Yes! You want to pair. Use "/pair yes [subject]" to specify the [subject] you want to pair on.


/pair ok

OK! You're working but are OK with occassional interruptions for brief pairing.


/pair no

Bummer! You're too busy for pairing.

Setup & Run

  1. get a copy of the source: git clone && cd slack-pair
  2. you can start it by just running npm start, but first:
  3. follow the instructions for configuring the Slack integration.
  4. If you want notifications sent to a channel (e.g. "Samantha says yes to pairing (kernel debugging)"), configure an incoming webhook (name=pair, description="pair with buddies", channel = whatever channel you want things sent to), then copy the channel & webhook url to your config file and uncomment the lines for SLACK_PAIR_CHANNEL and SLACK_WEBHOOK_URL. Make sure to $ source your-slack-domain.env after you've copied and edited the env.sample.
  5. By default, pair will run using an in-memory data store, which works for testing purposes but as soon as the app restarts (which could be more than once a day on Heroku), the list of users wanting to pair will be wiped. To prevent that, set up a MongoDB database, update MONGO_URL in your environment (see env.sample) and switch DB_PROVIDER from memory to mongo (again, see env.sample).

Deploying to Heroku

  1. Follow the setup instructions above. You should have pair up and running on your development machine, and connected to Slack through an ngrok-provided URL.
  2. Create a heroku app: heroku create your-app.
  3. Copy heroku-sample.env to your-app.heroku.env. Put your environment settings in that file.
  4. If you want to user MongoDB, create that addon: heroku addons:create mongolab:sandbox. You'll need to create a new user / password and update the MONGO_URL in your environment settings. If you don't do this, you'l just run in memory and the pair list will reset fairly often (ok for testing, a bummer for production).
  5. Push your confit to heroku: heroku config:push -e your-app.heroku.env.
  6. Deploy to Heroku: git push heroku master
  7. Update Slack's URL setting in the Custom Integration you set up in Setup & Run above. Your URL should look like
  8. Enjoy!


Pull requests are welcome and encouraged! You'll need

  1. A slack account and the ability to add slash commands
  2. ngrok or some other method of exposing a local port through a public URL

Once you pull down the project, simply run npm install to set up the dependencies. There is a required PAIRBOT_URL environment variable but you can source env.sample to set it. This is used so that the bot pings itself to keep the Heroku dynos up.

Then you should be able to just npm start (or node web.js) and be off to the races.

You'll be wanting a slack command integration and supply a publicly accessible URL along with a testing command. Slack uses these commands to trigger the integration. To test out your app you'll tell slack to /<your_testing_command> ok test all the things.

Of course, if you run into any problems you can always open an issue.


This is a collaborative project. We welcome your contributitions (see above). Ping @techieshark on twitter if you want to get involved.

Code originally by @jeremiak & @techieshark. Other collaborators listed here:

Special thanks to Ainsley (@ainsleywagon) for designing such a cool pair icon (

happy pairing :)


💬 Facilitating pairing via Slack.






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