Atlassian launches Stride, its Slack competitor

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This photo shows flags adorning the head office of Australian tech start-up Atlassian.
Image Credits: William West (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Atlassian, the company behind popular tools like Jira, Trello and Bitbucket, has also long offered a team communications service in the form of HipChat. Over the last few years, Slack has had an outsize influence on this space, though, and the Atlassian team decided to go back to the drawing board and see what its take on a Slack-like team workplace communication service would look like. The result is Stride, which is launching today.

As the team told me, the idea behind Stride (which will be available on all major platforms) is to take what Atlassian learned from HipChat and competing products and distill that into what it obviously believes is a superior product. The general idea here is that current communication solutions don’t necessarily make their users more productive. It’s too hard to keep up with all of the different channels, it’s too hard to make decisions and follow-up and it’s too difficult to move from chats to video meetings to make final decisions, for example.

So the Stride team set out to build a single tool that includes both a smart text-based messaging service and a fully featured video and audio conferencing service (based in part on Atlassian’s acquisition of Jitsi) that enables frictionless meetings without the need to install any plug-ins.

Like all Atlassian products, Stride is “aggressively freemium,” and even the free version supports an unlimited amount of users, group audio and video, as well as support for bots and third-party integrations. The main limit here is that the free version only stores the last 25,000 messages and you only get 5GB of file storage. For $3 per user/month, those limits completely disappear and you also get support for guest access, screen sharing and advanced user management.

All of this sounds like we’re basically talking about a straight-up Slack clone — and even the layout of Stride would support this idea (though the team did point out that Slack also looked a lot like HipChat when it launched). And you’re not wrong, but the Atlassian team built a number of really smart features into the service, too.

The most interesting ones of these are Actions and Decisions. The idea here is to overcome the usual problem in Slack where you come back from vacation (or even just a long weekend away) and don’t know what has happened while you were gone. Actions and Decisions live in the Stride sidebar and allow anybody in a group conversation to pin both action items for specific users and a note about a group decision to the room (and clicking on those brings you into the chat history where that decision was made). Thanks to this, you don’t have to look through a mountain of messages and GIFs when you’re trying to catch up on a conversation.

The team also added its take on snoozed notifications with the Stride Focus Mode, which allows you to set yourself as “away” when you need to get some actual work done. That will simply mute all notifications, and, when you come back an hour or two later, it’ll present you with all new important messages, actions and decisions that got made while you got some real work done.

The service offers all of the usual communications features you’d expect, too, including support for collaborating on documents and even code, as well as the ability to use Markdown for writing messages. There also is emoji and Giphy support, of course.

Unsurprisingly, Stride also offers deep integrations with the rest of Atlassian’s tools (as well as third-party integrations) and that will surely be among the service’s main selling points.

With Stride, Atlassian now offers its customers an easy alternative to Slack (which many probably already use) that’s nicely integrated with their existing tools, offers a number of smart new features and that their users can sign in to with their existing Atlassian accounts. It surely won’t hurt Stride that it’s significantly cheaper than Slack and its competitors, too.

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