Fortunes on Slack

Created: January 22, 2018

view the service homepage


Have always enjoyed the UNIX fortunes program, ever since I was a wee newbie. If you aren’t familiar with it (sad), yes, its like a fortune cookie.

It can be more technical in nature but not always. It also has poems, quotations, and if enabled - offensive content.

Often I would find a fortune I’d like to share and pipe it to a snippet from the terminal. There has to and must be a better way!

This time a Slack application has appeared on my radar as a target.

Man the Sonar

Cannot engage the target without some information.

The existing fortunes database will provide plenty of content. Fortunately (no pun intended), I’ve already extracted the legacy flat file storage system into SQL for another project.

TODO: add conversion to SQL details

Had to make a few changes, a link table here, few fields there, but the gist is I have a PostgreSQL initialization script of fortunes.

Cut me some Slack

Got the data (got the life), how does Slack care?

The user enters a slash command and Slack will send a torpedo to my server by means of an HTTP JSON post.

My server will then typically counter measure with what they call an “Ephemeral Message”.

The counter measure will have an attachment to give an option to make the message visible to the current channel (by means of another torpedo and counter measure).

TODO: detail more the key parts, json and oauth

Alright Captain, Tell me About Your Ship

First, say “I was born on a pirate ship” 5 times fast. OK, never mind.

This is a story about a gopher and a whale in a secure proxy.

In other words, I’m just running golang, in a docker container, behind NGINX with lets-encrypt.

fortunes architecture

OK, What if a Torpedo Hits?

Yeah, I don’t think the world will be falling over itself to use the fortunes service, but if they do, I will start charging to spin up more droplets and a load balancer.

As I’m using docker, switching to AWS Fargate is possible too with a Docker Compose file.

For the Code or Gopher Geeks

As most gophers already know, the beauty of go besides its concurrency is its simplicity and its awesome packages.

For HTTP is you really don’t need anything. The standard library is so simple yet so effective. Your endpoints become functions, your functions become routed to paths, and you serve. The standard template packages work great for layouts in the endpoint functions.

The server has two restful API’s - the standard API and the Slack API. Both use the same process of serializing from the database to JSON by typical means of attributed data models.

TODO: add some code architecture details


Random fortune cookies are fun. Slack is fun. Golang is awesome. Docker is pleasing.

Check out the final solution page.

TODO: implement mobile apps

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