#auunconf slack users’ timezone locations

April 14, 2016
By

(This article was first published on R – Irregularly Scheduled Programming, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I had never used slack before, but had read a heap of tech articles extolling its virtues. Apparently this is what our current Prime Minister advocates within Cabinet. The upcoming #auunconf organising team set up a channel and invited the participants, so I checked it out. Slack is pretty awesome as far as a unified workspace/messaging protocol can go. What makes it even more awesome, is that someone (@hrbrmstr, no surprise) has made an R package that talks to it.

After installing/loading the slackr package, obtaining an API key (the usual drill; create an app, request key, save it somewhere and pray you don’t lose it or share it) and saving it in ~/.slackr (so I don’t have to remember to delete it from shared code) it was as simple as calling slackr_users() to get a data.frame of the users and their relevant data. Neat!

The only geographical information in there was the timezone, so I figured I would merge that with a shapefile of such and plot it. Here’s the code I ended up creating

Once I had plotted the map I wished the projection was more Pacific-centered, and looked into making that happen. It appears to be trickier than I wanted to bother with for such a small project, so I ended up abandoning it. I did find a stackoverflow answer that seemed to have all the right ingredients (again, @hrbrmstr at work) but I couldn’t get it to plot in any sort of reasonable time.

#auunconf slack users' timezones

#auunconf slack users’ timezones

The unique users so far claim to come from:

  • Australia/Brisbane
  • Australia/Canberra
  • Asia/Ulaanbaatar
  • America/Indiana/Indianapolis
  • Australia/Adelaide
  • Europe/Amsterdam
  • Pacific/Auckland

so quite the diverse crowd.

Once all was done and plotted, uploading the image to the slack team was as easy as dev_slackr("#general") which sends the current graphic to the #general channel of the slack team that slackr was configured for. Sure enough, it worked!

It works!

It works!

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll use this for, but it was certainly a fun exercise to get working. Perhaps I can generalise it enough to submit a pull-request to make it available in slackr?

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