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The Wayslack Machine: incrementally archive Slack messages and files using Slack's team export format

Project description

The Wayslack Machine

The Wayslack Machine: incrementally archive Slack teams and delete old files, using Slack’s “archive” export format.

Wayslack can also delete old files from Slack, freeing up storage space for users on the free tier. See the delete_old_files option.

Getting Started

  1. Install wayslack:

    $ pip install wayslack
  2. (optional) Export your team history and unzip it:

  3. Get a legacy token from:

  4. Run wayslack path/to/export/directory to create an archive if one doesn’t already exist, then download all messages and files:

    $ wayslack my-export/
    API token for my-export/ (see xoxp-1234-abcd
    Processing: my-export/
    Downloading https://.../image.jpg
    #general: 10 new messages in #general (saving to my-export/_channel-C049V24HY/2016-12-19.json)
    $ ls my-export/_files/
  5. Optionally, create a configuration file so multiple teams can be archived easily:

    $ cat ~/.wayslack/config.yaml
      - dir: path/to/slack/first-export # path is relative to this file
        # Get token from:
        token: xoxp-1234-abcd
        # Delete files from Slack if they're more than 60 days old (useful for
        # free Slack channels which have a file limit).
        # Files will only be deleted from Slack if:
        # - They exist in the archive (_files/storage/...)
        # - wayslack is run with --confirm-delete
        # Otherwise a message will be printed but files will not be deleted.
        delete_old_files: 60 days
      - dir: second-export
        token: xoxp-9876-wxyz
    $ wayslack
    Processing: first-export
    Processing: second-export

Deleting Old Files from Slack

The delete_old_files option (along with the --confirm-delete flag) can be used to delete old files from Slack, freeing up the team’s storage.

Files will only be deleted if the --confirm-delete flag is used, the files exist in the local archive, and their size matches the size reported in Slack’s API.

Note: due to a bug in Slack’s API, the file size reported by Slack’s API is sometimes incorrect. Because Wayslack will not delete files when the local size does not match the remote size, a few warnings will almost always be generated when deleting files (and, obviously, those files won’t be deleted).

Note 2: Slack appears to compress JPEGs, so this check is not applied to JPEGs. For all downloaded files, though, the etag is used to verify that the download was not corrupt (even if it isn’t identical to the file originally uploaded).

For example:

$ wayslack --confirm-delete ~/.wayslack/your-archive/

Exporting Slack Messages to SQL (PostgreSQL)

Also included in this repository (although not in the installer yet) is, which will export a Wayslack archive to a PostgreSQL database:

$ pip install sqlalchemy
$ createdb wayslack
$ ./ postgres://localhost/wayslack ~/.wayslack/your-team

(note: isn’t especially polished yet)

The schema is straightforward and closely matches Slack’s JSON format:

-- Channels (public, private, and IMs)
CREATE TABLE ws_channel (
    id VARCHAR(64) PRIMARY KEY NOT NULL, -- Slack channel ID
    kind VARCHAR(16), -- 'channel', 'im', or 'group'
    creator VARCHAR(64), -- Slack creator ID
    members VARCHAR(64)[],
    name VARCHAR,
    purpose JSON,
    topic JSON,
    ..., -- See schema in for all columns
    _original JSON,

-- Users
CREATE TABLE ws_user (
    name VARCHAR,
    real_name VARCHAR,
    ..., -- See schema in for all columns

-- Files
CREATE TABLE ws_file (
    "user" VARCHAR(64), -- Slack ID
    title VARCHAR,
    name VARCHAR,
    size INTEGER, -- note: can be wrong sometimes
    mimetype VARCHAR,
    url_private VARCHAR,
    url_private_download VARCHAR,
    ..., -- See schema in for all columns
    _wayslack_deleted BOOLEAN, -- If Wayslack has deleted this file from Slack
    _original JSON,

-- Messages
    id SERIAL PRIMARY KEY NOT NULL, -- autoincrement integer primary key
    "user" VARCHAR(64),
    type VARCHAR(16),
    subtype VARCHAR(32),
    text VARCHAR,
    reactions JSON,
    attachments JSON,
    ..., -- See schema in for all columns
    _original JSON,

For example, to see who sends the most messages, use:

with mc as (
        sum(length(to_tsvector(text))) as word_count,
        count(*) as msg_count
    from ws_msg
    group by "user"
report as (
        round((word_count / msg_count::numeric), 2) as words_per_msg
    from mc
    join ws_user as u on = mc."user"
    order by msg_count desc
select *
from report


wayslack=# ...;
     name      | word_count | msg_count | words_per_msg
 jane          |      34432 |      7489 |          4.60
 wolever       |      22871 |      4787 |          4.78
 alex          |      19977 |      4346 |          4.60
 smith         |      12090 |      2132 |          5.67
 luke          |      10099 |      1852 |          5.45

Hint: pg-histogram is especially useful for visualizing these data.


WARNING: wayslack is still somewhat immature and not completely tested. Right now it will archive:

  • Public messages

  • Private groups

  • Private messages

  • All uploaded files

  • All link previews

  • List of channels

  • List of users

  • Files

But it will likely be very slow for larger (100+ user or channel) teams, doesn’t have any configuration options, and likely has bugs which will only be found with time.

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