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CLI for alerts via Slack

I finally got a chance to scratch an itch today.


When working with bigger ETL jobs, I frequently run into jobs that take hours to run. I usually either step away from the computer or work on something less important while the job runs. I don't have a good way to get an alert when the job completes. So instead of going back to my important work, I keep toying with whatever task I picked up to fill the dead time. I only get back to my primary task after I remember to check on it.

This is easier to fix when you're developing locally, but I'm frequently developing jobs on EC2 instances via ATMO. There's no good way to forward alerts to my local system.

Even then, I frequently step away from the computer to take a break while the job runs. Sometimes the job stops after 10m instead of the usual execution of ~120m. That usually means I had a command line flag set wrong or that I fat-fingered a file name. It would be great to be able to see this alert immediately, even if I'm not at my computer, instead of waiting an hour until I check on my machine again.

The fix was crazy simple. I created a little slack bot, installed a slack-cli, and added a bash command. Now I can just issue a command like: sleep 10; slack Your task just completed. and in 10 seconds, I'll get a ping from harterbot on slack. Setting this up on a remote cluster would be trivially easy as well. You just need to be confident in storing a Slack API token.


Here's how I did this:

  1. Create a new bot, I called mine harterbot. Save the API token for later.
  2. Install slack-cli with pip install slack-cli
  3. Instantiate your slack-cli installation by issuing a test command: slack-cli -d {{YOUR USERNAME}} "Test message". This will ask for the API token from step 2. You should see a new message from your bot.
  4. (Optional) Add the following helper function to your .bashrc:
# Ping me with an alert on Slack
slack () {
    slack-cli -d {{YOUR SLACK HANDLE}} -- "$*";

Boom, you should be good to go!

Now I'm thinking we can generate an ATMO bot with shared credentials, then there's no need to instantiate a new machine with your credentials.

For reference, Slack's bot documentation is here: here,

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