Regexbot – Slack chat bot and Jira integration

See the code on Github

Slack is a great tool with loads of plugins and integrations. There’s already an integration with Jira that allows you to create and update issues from Slack; but I wanted a bot that would listen out for Jira case numbers, and produce a link to the case along with the case summary/title. The goal was something like this:


There are a few solutions for building bots, in particular Github’s hubot is a sensible choice – not only does it come with loads of stuff built in; but also abstracts the connection to the chat system. This means that one piece of code can connect to Slack and many other chat systems.

However; being in this for the lulz I rejected the sensible option and went for the slack-client npm package; while browsing around the Slack API docs to try and figure out what to call. In particular we’re interested in the real time messaging (RTM) api. slack-client makes it remarkably easy to create a self-hosted bot; or “bot user integration” in Slack parlance. The steps are roughly:

  1. Create a bot user to get a secret token that can be used to authenticate to Slack
  2. Open a connection to the RTM api
  3. Listen for when someone posts a message; and write a function to reply back

However, it still seemed worth abstracting away the capture and detection of Jira case numbers. Thus Regexbot was born – it will sit on any Slack channel its invited too; and listen out for messages matching a regex. When it finds one it’ll reply with either a bit of text or call the specified callback. This is just a tiny improvement over the existing slackbot functionality; but it makes quite a difference as replies can now substitute in bits of the original message using the regex matches.

Having sorted out the link – just substituting any matches of /[A-Z]+-[0-9]+/g into an URL – we can now think about retrieving some info from Jira’s JSON API. In my regexbot installation i’ve got a function that just uses node’s https module to do this; but there already exists a jira npm package that would probably be a better choice.

It’s a pretty useful tool and being able to just type out a case number and get a link and description back just makes life that little bit easier. I guess I should also emit the assignee for hassling purposes…

The next step would be to package this up and deploy it as either a Slack App (a SaaS system) – although this would naturally only be able to connect to a publicly exposed Jira – or perhaps a Jira plugin. Could be interesting; and would make it so much easier to use.

2 thoughts on “Regexbot – Slack chat bot and Jira integration”

  1. Hi there,

    I found your great regexbot and tried to install it for kicks on our slack team channel, but can’t seem to get it to work (im quite new to npm and such) would you mind to help out a brother ? 😉

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