Setting Up Slack Webhook URL Simplified 101

on Automation, Data Automation, Data Driven Strategies, Data Integration, ETL Tutorials, SaaS, Slack, Webhook • October 22nd, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Most organizations these days use a number of independent Cloud-based applications to run their business. The problem with this situation is that data is scattered across multiple applications. To make better use of the data and to run the operations better, data from some applications may need to be synced with the other applications. In some cases, this may even need to be on a real-time basis. An example of such a situation is the case of the development lifecycle tools like Gitlab and messenger services like Slack, Teams, etc.

A typical requirement of development teams is to have a message posted to their preferred messaging application like Slack when an action like a pull request or an issue comment happens in the development lifecycle tool. Such requirements are best handled by using Slack Webhook URL.

In this article, you gain a basic understanding of Webhooks. You also understand the steps to set up Slack Webhook URL. At the end of this article, you will explore some of the challenges faced while working with the Slack Webhook URL. So, read along to gain insights and learn how Slack Webhook URL can be useful to you.

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

Before moving forward to create a Slack Webhook URL, you first need to meet the following requirements:

  • A Slack instance with admin privileges.
  • Basic understanding of Enterprise messaging platforms. 

Introduction to Webhooks

Webhooks are nothing but web services that can be called with a JSON payload. Their purpose is to accept data from other applications. In the context of Webhooks, the application that receives the data is called the subscribing application. The application that submits the data is the notifying application. 

Implementing Webhooks at the subscribing application is just like implementing any web service. The only catch is that the subscribing application must have the ability to generate URLs dynamically for the web services for different purposes. For example, an application like Slack must have a user interface to generate URLs based on the channel to which the user wants to post. Since Webhooks are publicly hosted, it is imperative to have sufficient security measures built into them. At least basic authentication using username and password is recommended. Authentication based on request signing is also a popular practice.

On the other hand, the notifying application must have a process for registering Webhooks and trigger them when specific conditions are met. For example, in the case of an application like Gitlab, Webhooks are supported for a variety of events like issue comments, code push, etc. It provides a user interface for entering the Webhook URLs that need to be invoked when each of these events happens. 

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Steps to Set Up Slack Webhook URL

Incoming Webhooks in Slack is meant to accept data from third-party applications. The most common requirement is to post messages to specific channels when something happens in an external application. Slack provides an easy-to-use interface to set up Webhooks. Follow the steps below to generate a Slack Webhook URL.

Step 1: The first step is to head to https://api.slack.com/ and log in. Then click on “Create an App“. 

Slack Webhook URL - Create App
Image Source: Self

Step 2: Select “From Scratch” and give the App a name.

Slack Webhook URL - From Scratch Option
Image Source: Self

Step 3: Choose the Workspace which needs to be connected to the App.

Slack Webhook URL - Name App
Image Source: Self

Step 4: On the next screen, you will see the option for “Incoming Webhooks“.

Slack Webhook URL - Incoming Webhooks
Image Source: Self

Step 5: Toggle the activate button and head to the bottom part of the page.

Slack Webhook URL -Activate Incoming Webhooks
Image Source: Self

Step 6: Click “Add New Webhook to Workspace” to configure a new Webhook.

Slack Webhook URL - Add Webhook
Image Source: Self

Step 7: You will be asked to select the channel to which messages are to be posted.

Slack Webhook URL - Test
Image Source: Self

Step 8: You will be redirected to the page for your Slack App and the Webhook section will now list the new webhook that you created.

Slack Webhook URL - Copy Webhook URL
Image Source: Self

Step 9: You can copy the URL and use it in the notifying application’s ebook configuration. If you want to test it, you can simply fire a CURL request in the below format.

curl -X POST -H 'Content-type: application/json' --data '{"text":"Hello, World!"}' <your_webhook_url>

That completes the steps involved in setting up Webhooks in Slack.

Challenges Faced While Setting Up Slack Webhook URL

Webhooks in Slack provides an excellent method to send real-time data to Slack from other applications. That said, using Slack Webhook URL integration is not always easy because of the following reasons.

  • The most application does not have support for Webhooks and provides only APIs to access their data. In such cases, you will need a custom code to keep polling the API and then trigger the webhook when required.
  • Subscribing applications like Slack needs the Webhook data to be sent in a specific format. Unless Slack is supported specifically by your notifying application, the data format with which the notifying applications trigger Webhooks will be different.

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Conclusion

In this article, you learned about Webhooks and how you can set up a Slack Webhook URL. This article provided you with some easy steps to create your Slack Webhook URL. At the end of this article, you explored some of the challenges you might face while setting up a Slack Webhook URL.

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Share your experience with Slack Webhook URL in the comments section below!

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