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Flock Launches FlockOS Chat Operating System

December 22, 2016

Flock, the team messenger with users across 25,000 global organizations, has released its application development platform (AP!) -- FlockOS, the world's first chat operating system. Developers can now build customized apps, bots and integrations on Flock, and either use them within their organization, or publish it in the Flock Appstore, making them available for all Flock users.

FlockOS is unique, as it provides a first-of-its-kind widgets feature that allows users to have a seamless experience with any Flock app -- an experience matching that of any fully interactive website. With the kind of powerful apps that can be built, a user could get all their work done from within Flock, enabling massive productivity benefits.

FlockOS allows developers to build apps that:

•Provide a tightly integrated experience by using widgets. These include the attachment widget, sidebar widget, and modal widget -- all capable of displaying rich HTML.

•Send messages and rich attachments to Flock users and groups. For example, the Poll app in Flock creates an opinion poll in a rich attachment format and immediately broadcasts it to all in a group. It also shows real time updates on the poll results.

•Add buttons to attachments, chat tab bar, attachment picker bar or app launcher bar. The meticulously designed app-specific buttons embedded in the interface ensure higher app discoverability, and in turn, boost app usage.
•Setup slash commands providing an additional option for users to interact with the app.

•Configure a Bot to send directed messages to users, carry on conversations and complete tasks from within Flock.

•Customize URL previews for specific URLs, so the app can display information relevant for the user.

•Deliver a consistent experience across platforms including web, desktop, and mobile without having to rework a single line of code.

With these capabilities, development teams can create apps to meet the specific needs of their teams and organizations, through functionalities that employees demand from their current messaging and collaboration tools.

"Messaging and collaboration platforms have become the systems by which teams become more productive. Currently, most of our activities are collaborative in nature, and increasingly there will be the need for simple apps that are built on top of the messaging framework," said Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and founder of Flock. "Apps built on FlockOS empower teams to have more choices in the functionalities and capabilities of the collaboration platforms they use every day. Instead of being 'stuck' with using a particular service and its limited capabilities, teams can now create a custom environment within Flock that is designed for their unique needs."

Apps and integrations are considered "first-class citizens" in the FlockOS ecosystem. Flock provides users with a seamless experience with all integrations. The Flock UI, built from the ground-up with simplicity, usability, and apps in mind, ensures maximum app discoverability to boost utilization. Users can expect massive productivity gains with the expansion of Flock's app network.

"Other similar solutions limit the user's interactions with apps to simple notifications and slash commands, which results in a substandard experience for the user and low app discoverability and usage from a developer's perspective. With FlockOS, we have thrown open our platform to the global developer community. Our UI is a canvas for developers, allowing them to create truly intuitive apps and integrations which seamlessly blend with the core product," added Turakhia.

Developers can currently build custom apps on FlockOS using Java and node.js SDKs with additional SDKs (Python, Ruby, etc.) to roll out soon.

Examples of apps built on the FlockOS:

The To-do app allows a user to simultaneously have a conversation with the team, as well as assign them to-dos -- all within Flock. It is easy to track the status of these to-dos as all updates are sent as message notifications on the respective Flock group.

The Notes app allows the user to quickly make shareable rich notes. All users in a Flock group can view or edit it, thus making it a resourceful collaboration tool.

The soon to be released Meeting Scheduler app will help users schedule meetings, invite other participants, get participant feedback on meeting slots, and even view their entire calendar at a glance -- all from within Flock.

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