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For your eyes only

Keeping it all in the team with Stack Overflow Channels

Jane Elizabeth
Stack Overflow Channels
© Shutterstock / JohnKwan

Ask a dev, get an answer. It’s the basic premise for Stack Overflow. As long as the problematic code in question wasn’t proprietary, devs were sorted. Now, they can ask a team member and get a company-specific response.

Stack Overflow is probably one of the most useful tools for devs out there. It’s a valuable resource, crowd-sourcing programming Q&As to the entire internet. But sometimes, the code you’re working on is a little too sensitive for the whole world, or you have to follow a company specific style guide. What then? Do you bug the one or two senior devs, hoping they have the spare time to answer your question?

Stack Overflow is here to help with their newest offering, Stack Overflow Channels. Still in beta, this feature offers a private forum for companies or teams to collaborate on their latest project without having to go public.

How do Stack Overflow Channels work?

Stack Overflow Channels are a dedicated, private space to share knowledge and reduce the information bottleneck. Designed specifically for teams, they make it easier to share answers without having to support an entire community of their own like in the Stack Overflow Enterprise.

According to the folks at Stack Overflow, the Channels feature will:

  • Create a secure space for your engineering team to ask and answer questions about anything that needs to stay private.
  • Reduce single-source-of-information bottlenecks by sharing any dev’s technical knowledge with every dev on your team.
  • Make it easy to find solutions to technical problems on a searchable platform where knowledge is always discoverable.
  • Put institutional knowledge in a familiar place that you and your team are already visiting.

Something like 95% of the world’s developers visit Stack Overflow and use it to help improve their tech skills. It’s not exactly unfamiliar terrain here. So, making dedicated team-specific channels at a site they’re all visiting anyways seems like a good idea.

SEE MORE: Codota: Using AI to make our code better

Information security is an important part of the design for Stack Overflow Channels. No one wants proprietary information to leak. So, every channel has their own private and secure container. This keeps your data isolated from all other channels and all public sites. Plus, each channel also has dedicated backend security.

Since the project is still in beta, Stack Overflow is looking for teams willing to test it. It’s free to use right now, but that may change in the future. So, get in now while the getting is good! Head on over to Stack Overflow Channels and drop them a line if you’re interested.

Author
Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com.

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