1.2.0 • Public • Published

Yalcs — Yet Another Live Chat for Slack

Message your website's visitors through Slack for support or sales. 100% free and open source.

Yalcs displays a configurable floating action button over your page that when activated opens a chat window connecting your visitors with an agent responding from your specified Slack channel.

Built and mantained by Ptorx and other Xyfir projects.


  • Communicate with visitors who are on your site or app through your Slack workspace
  • Configurable routes to display and hide Yalcs on certain pages
  • Configurable theme to match your app's design
  • Configurable text for titles, buttons, etc
  • Works well on desktop and mobile devices
  • Standalone server and web client that integrates into applications of any stack
  • No dependencies other than Node and what npm will install


As simple as Yalcs is, because it's entirely self-hosted, you'll still need to download, configure, build, and integrate it into your app. We've made it just about as easy as it could possibly be.

Note #1: If your system does not yet have Node installed, start with nvm (or nvm for Windows).

Note #2: You may alternatively download Yalcs through npm (see here), however this is not currently the recommended installation method. In the future we may offer a CLI tool available through npm to make configuring, running, and managing Yalcs instances easier.

Step 0: Clone the repo

git clone https://github.com/xyfir/yalcs.git
cd yalcs

From now on we'll assume commands are run from yalcs/.

Step 1: Download npm dependencies

Install npm depencies for each module:

cd loader
npm install
cd ../server
npm install
cd ../web
npm install
cd ../ # back to yalcs/ 

Step 2: Create Slack app and bot

  1. Go to the Create a Slack App form on the Slack API dashboard.
  2. Login to the Slack workspace you wish to add Yalcs to.
  3. Set the app name to Yalcs or whatever you like and select your workspace.
  4. Once viewing your new Slack app, go to Bot Users and click Add a bot user.
  5. Set the name to Yalcs or whatever you'd like then enable its always online status and click Add Bot User.
  6. Go to OAuth & Permissions.
  7. Click Install App and Authorize its installation to your workspace.
  8. Save your Bot User OAuth Access Token somewhere for later use.
  9. Go to Basic Information.
  10. Under App Credentials, save your Signing Secret somewhere for later use.
  11. In a new tab, navigate to your workspace: your-workspace.slack.com.
  12. Navigate to the channel or private group you wish to add Yalcs to.
  13. Save the channel's id from the url somewhere for later use. (For example, in https://your-workspace.slack.com/messages/GHG8G3WH2/, the id is GHG8G3WH2)
  14. Invite the Yalcs bot to your channel.

Keep the Slack API dashboard open, we'll return to it again later.

Step 3: Set environment variables

The Yalcs modules are configured via environment variables which are loaded into the applications via .env files located in each module's directory.

To understand the syntax of the .env files, know that they are first loaded via dotenv and then the string values provided by dotenv are parsed by enve.

Step 3a: Create .env files

First we'll create each file by copying the example .env files and then we'll work our way through populating them with values.

cp loader/example.env loader/.env
cp server/example.env server/.env
cp web/example.env web/.env

Step 3b: Edit .env files

Edit the files loader/.env, server/.env, and web/.env. Update the config keys with your own values. You can find descriptions for each one under the Yalcs -> Env namespaces in the type definitions. Use the appropriate interface for each corresponding file.

Step 4: Build from source

cd loader
npm run build
cd ../server
npm run build
cd ../web
npm run build
cd ../

Step 5: Start the server

Now you'll need to start the server and serve the built files. The simplest way to do this is:

cd server
npm run start
cd ../

If you're in production, you'll probably run the server with pm2 and proxy the server through Nginx or Apache while serving static files through them instead of Node. For you, know that files to be served to the client are located in web/dist with web/dist/index.html serving as the web client's entry file.

Step 6: Configure Slack event listener

Let's return to the Slack API dashboard again.

  1. Go to Event Subscriptions and toggle Enable Events.
  2. For the Request URL field, input the full URL to your instance of Yalcs server (the API), and then append to that URL /slack. It will should look something like this: https://example.com/yalcs/api/slack. It should verify.
  3. Under Subscribe to Bot Events, add message.channels if you're adding Yalcs to a public channel or message.groups if you're adding Yalcs to a private channel/group.

Step 7: Add Yalcs to your app

Now all that's left is to add the Yalcs loader to one of your page's HTML:

<script src="/yalcs/static/yalcs-loader.js" async></script>

Note that the source is fully dependent on where your app is serving the Yalcs web client files from and the URL of the page(s) where you're importing the loader. It should generally be a URL that combines YALCS_WEB_URL with STATIC_PATH and "yalcs-loader.js".


If you'd like to help work on Yalcs, the tutorial above will suffice to get you up and running. Certain things however will make your life easier:

  • Make sure your NODE_ENV variables in the .env files are set to "development".
  • Run the web client's dev server via npm run start when in web/. Connect to it via the PORT you set in web/.env.
  • Use ngrok so that Slack can contact your local machine: ngrok http 2040 where 2040 is the API server's port.
  • Use http://localhost:2041/loader.html to properly test the web app and loader. This assumes you're running the web client's dev server on port 2041.
  • Check the scripts in each module's package.json for helpful scripts.

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