Chapter - 4 UiPath Basics

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CHAPTER THREE UiPath essentials. So far, we have discussed what an RPA bot can do, what are the different capabilities, how we can probably you know develop a bot in a project and the different activities that we are what exactly activities are that we will be using to interact with any XML application. Right. In this chapter, we will be going through an overview of UiPath suite of applications. We will be deep diving into UiPath studio, and we'll be discussing other essential components UiPath suite overview UiPath suite is the compilation of three refined RPA tools, which come together as a package UiPath studio UiPath studio is the programming application, where diagramming of the robot logic is implemented. As you can see right here, it is a modeling to where predefined functions called activities.

Dragged and dropped onto the main panel, adhering to the business logic. The simplicity of use, and enormous built in library of activities, adds up to a great learning experience, and enhances overall user interaction. So, to add any packages in your UiPath studio, which you're later gonna use in your robots to create the robot, you have the Manage packages within the activities panel itself. And here you can see all the installed packages that you have. And all the available ones. You can look for Excel specific packages, it's already installed.

So there's already a tick mark in here. So if not, I would ask you to install Excel word PDF because those are the major, you know, packages that we use in most of the bot creations. Okay, next UiPath robot I want to show you first how a UiPath robot looks like. It gets automatically installed. Once we download the whole download, install the whole UiPath suite of application. And here's the UiPath robot.

Once you click on it, it automatically gets started in the back end and will be available in the taskbar. Under these lists of activities here, and the UI, you can see the UiPath robot. That's how it looks like. You can check out its settings, you can open the logs and basically UiPath robot is the software application where processes model in UiPath studio are executed. The programs within UiPath studio are published to make them available in UiPath robot, and these robots are further categorized into two categories, unattended, robot and attended robot. unattended robots are the ones that don't require any human intervention to perform their processes.

These robots provide maximum throughput and efficiency. As the performance is expanded through variety of back office activities. They have the ability to self start, and usually leverage a virtual machine workstation, or a private dedicated server over company's intranet. identic robots attended robots are the bots that share same resources as any human would. They don't usually run on a VM or dedicated server, but rather reside on an employee's workstation. when needed, the end user prompts the bot and commands to action for assistance, these bots run in the background without disrupting the usual work of the end user collaborating and achieving higher efficiency.

And the final piece in the UiPath suite of applications is the UiPath orchestrator. So you have an orchestrator is the server based software application that manages the robots and its underlying processes. The robots from UiPath robot are provisioned on the UiPath orchestrator where they are scheduled to start, deploy or terminate. We can manage the workload, we can do a lot of stuff for auditing purposes, we can create reports we can monitor their execution and a lot of other stuff. Unlike UiPath studio orchestrator is not developer focused, but is rather targeted by business management to administer the work. It acts as the dashboard to maintain the optimal performance of deployed robots, or we call it the virtual workforce.

And here is the application where is the website where you can download the UiPath studio and the whole suite of application you can just start the trial and fill in your details and you should be all set All right UiPath studio deep dive. As discussed UiPath studio is the module within the UiPath RP package where bots are conceptualized underlying activities are connected logically and bots are published. UiPath studio is the focus area for RPA developers, as it includes a thorough business process knowledge, in addition to some level of software programming experience, which always comes handy. It offers activities specific to external applications such as MS Word, MS Excel, database operations, PDF, then x, the email based operations, etc, etc. Right. All these are available as packages, which is a feature embedded within the tool itself for easy import and usage of activities in the bot program, right.

A typical UiPath studio application window consists of these different panels. First, which we have sort of touched upon is the activities panel. It is the area pane where all activities reside. The activities are dragged and dropped into the main programming area from this panel. Right and activities are nothing but predefined functions with an associated input, output and some property parameters that we use to solve a given problem. actions, such as typing into which we have used here, or clicking of a mouse or reading a text file or any data processing operation, a part of this activity panel.

These activities provide us the medium to interact with any enterprise application and automate the processes. Within activity panel itself. We have the capability to browse and install UiPath packages, which are later leveraged while creating the workflow. We have shown that in a quick example here next work Your designer, the one that I was telling calling as the main panel. workflow designer or simply designer panel is the canvas, where we add activities from activity pane panel or sometimes it is automatically generated by the UI path recorder as well, which again we are going to discuss later in the chapters and we connect them logically to create our workflow. It is same as any diagramming and vector graphics application available in market today, like Ms. Visio, gliffy, lucid chart etc.

And along with the placement of activities, it keeps a basic check on the workflow to make sure that no activity comprises of compiling errors or misses any mandatory parameters etc. This auto debug functionality provides a lucrative way of ensuring compatibility of activities within the logical boundary of program. As you can see in here, a view warning sign has been developed that says that the value for the required activity or the When text is not supplied yet, so the type into activity is going to select a particular UI element from the screen. And it needs to enter some input into that UI element. But if we haven't provided it yet, it's it's an error. So that's what the compiler error is being shown already by the system.

And this capability comes very handy because, you know, from a logical standpoint, you should be able to create a bot that has, you know, a chance to at least work and which has all the mandatory parameters filled in. Okay, next is Properties panel. This area is generally available on the right side within the UiPath studio that displays all parameters and the associated properties of the activity, you know, which has been selected in the workflow designer. Each activity is going to have certain attributes associated with it. You can see them right here and it allows us to add or modify values to these attributes to get some peculiar behavior of these activities, right? one quick example is gonna be like, you know, if this type into activity is not of, let's say high priority, or if it is not mandatory to go for it.

If it works, it's better. If it doesn't, you would still want to, let's say, continue with your workflow, which is going to have a few other activities in here, then you can simply select this continue on error attribute within the property, and you can mark it as true. So that means if there's an error, you still want to continue it. So there are going to be like a lot of other properties as well, which we'll be discussing in our subsequent chapters. But this is where the properties are changed for any selected activity within the workflow designer. Next, we're going to discuss the other essential components of UiPath.

Studio UI Explorer. For a software robot to work efficiently, it needs to identify external application windows, and its related UI elements. These UI elements have certain attributes associated with them. Something like this. Ui explorer provides an interface to select these attributes, and make sure that our program is always able to uniquely identify the correct element. We can add or remove elements from here, like in this one, we have only one element.

So you know, something like this, you can remove those elements. Or you can modify them, you can add a few wildcard characters like an asterisk or question mark is to have but again, we will be discussing that in later chapters. And once the attributes are selected in a way that they're always going to uniquely identify the UI element of a target application. Then together this cluster of these XML strings parameters that we have used, is in a cluster or in a group They're called selectors, we must always, always choose the best selector for optimal identification of elements in our workflow, and to be able to identify the correct element at the target application side. Okay, next is the recording. It is one of those features which makes UI paths down and out of its contemporaries.

This UI path platform provides the functionality of recording the user inputs and actions in the same sequence as performed and, you know, that's performed by a person and creates a workflow out of it. This program can further be modified to make it more robust and efficient, but certainly takes off the hassle of creating a bot from scratch to a very large extent. UiPath provides this functionality based on four different domains as you can see, based on Recording, desktop recording, web recording for web web applications and Citrix recording for virtual environments automation. Next is the data scraping wizard. The capability of extracting data within UiPath from a browser application or a document is achieved through data scraping wizard is another crucial feature used in automation, where we navigate to the data area and simply click on the data item. The tool itself recognizes whether the data is being extracted from a data table.

And if so, it asks to import the whole data table itself or just the particular element alongside the feature also confirms whether the data is available across multiple pages. And if so, it embeds the complete data set for programmers use into the program. All this is done at the GUI level and corresponding workflow is generated within UiPath studio right here. The data scraped can then be written to an Excel, CSV or any document file or all could be further processed within the workflow itself. OCR. Okay, so data scraping is facilitated with OCR.

I want to show something in here, just to give a quick example. So this is probably not a good example, what we're gonna do is, let's say we want to extract data from a website, say And just a second. We taken you know, a very quick example that you want To get the prices or the data for, you want to get all the data that you can write. And as you can see, we can configure these columns. And we're going to go with this as this.

This is how the data has been previewed right? So we can extract the whole correlated data. From here we can select how many data elements Do we want in this particular arrangement, and so on. We can also decide whether we want data in multiple pages or something, as you can see in here, so that's how the data is extracted. And we can also use this functionality called OCR. OCR stands for optical character recognition.

There are three separate engines provided by UiPath for optical character recognition and Google tests. Engine, Microsoft mody engine and an Abbe OCR. As the name itself suggests, Google and Microsoft OCR are available as out of the box features embedded within the tool. While Abby's provided as a plugin. For each of these, we can select some type of application where the data needs to be extracted, let's say if the data is in Chinese or in Japanese. And OCR is mostly used for extracting data from images.

Right? If there is an image with some texture information, then the UI elements it's the robot will not be able to take it as an element and get the data out of it. We have to extract the data through OCR technology. And as I was saying, these technologies took years to mature. Okay, we'll be discussing on the OCR later in the subsequent chapters again, next is the output panel which usually is about Like this, there is a possibility guys that you know, you might see all these different panels at different locations because these are movable. So you can, you know, put this as float or you know, put it as a complete screen.

But usually the arrangement that I'm following here is the actual arrangement in which UiPath studio also recommends and puts it as a default. So, output console or panel is the area where results from a log message or a right line activity is displayed. So, suppose you have some data that you just want to display in the output console of this UiPath studio. This is where it will be displayed. Right. So this is like something which is embedded within the tool itself and gets you you know, just a quick check and as a checkpoint, you can see if the program is running correctly or not.

And during the development, you know of the bot itself. You can use this panel to Get an overall overall view of how the program is working. Right. And we can activate the logs by selecting the option under the execute tab. You can see right here, we can open all the logs that we have been you know, if you're executing any programs, we can do that and we can add some error information we can add some data item information to pinpoint the errors, we can use timestamps and to denote the time of the error and output panel also provides a clear all button to erase all the content from it. Right.

So, you can simply you know, just get down to the last time the program was executed even that information has been taken out. Next is the outline panel, which is right here. This is the outline panel. And this is what I was wondering. So, output panel is the area usually available, you know, below the Properties panel and it displays a hierarchy of workflow, including activities, variables and nodes and any other you know, external packages that may have been used. It also provides a search box to navigate through it, you know, that if you want to see what all is there in this, then you can look me embedded again you can directly you know, search all the data right from here and you can navigate through the program hierarchy.

You can see that the type into activities here data scraping activity, they automatically get selected in the workflow designer itself, and it gives if a proper naming convention has been used, you can always send direct Do your pointer or your cursor to the corresponding location and start working on it right away. Library panel, which is right here. Library panel is the area that provides sample programs and their snippets, which shall be reusing our current program. We can add a full or a partial workflow into this panel and simply drag and drop them in our workflow designer if we use it if we need to use it. The Project panel Project panel is similar to outline panel, it shows contents of our current workflow. However, it doesn't drill down to the Associated sequences or underlying activities level.

Instead, it displays a high level overview of the program at directory level and provides capability to open the folder location of the bot program on local machine. So currently in the Lw see Oracle SRS, I have a few different sub projects rounds that I have. And I can use them directly in the workflow or I can just open them and probably start working on them right away. Next is the variable panel. Variable panels, the panel usually available at the bottom of the UiPath studio as you can see, and by default, it is hidden. So you have to click on the variables option in here and it displays the list of all variables that are available in our workflow.

And remember, when it is clicked after selecting a sequence, only the variables that are visible to that particular sequence will be displayed in this panel. We can create new variables here, right here, you know, like this variable one has been created. We can modify the existing ones as assigned some default values to those variables and selected select their associated variable type or we call it the data type. And we can also change their scope as well. And a note that we need to remember in here is that a sophisticated feature within UiPath includes the case when you change the name of the variable in the variable panel, and all the instances of that variable automatically get changed. So you don't have to go to each and every activity or any sub activities and go and make the changes yourself, but automatically takes care of it.

Awesome. And the last thing is workflows. So, workflows, the actual program or the bar that has been created within the workflow designer panel, it is mainly of two types, flowchart and sequences. So you can see in here, right, these are the two different or the major categories in which a workflow is divided into. And these workflow representations control the movement of operations during their execution. In flowcharts, the execution starts with the I'll show you in here.

Let's add it. So, yes, it starts with the start node. Right, the connecting arrow points to the next activity within the workflow. So you can see there's a message box something like this. So, it gets connected via an arrow similarly, like in the way that all other workflow applications work, right. If you've seen those that you know in the MS visual, we use a lot of workflows.

And these correcting arrow points to the next activity within the workflow in many cases, you know, decisions are also made and you can check that out that you know, something like this, you have to decide whether something is true or false and correspondingly the flow of your program will be directed to that particular direction. Right and The other way of creating a workflow the other way of implementing a workflow is the sequence diagram. So, I have already shown the examples the sequence diagram. These are usually like the representation linear representation of steps that are told to the bot to perform operations. It is the recommended workflow design for straightforward business logic implementations, or, in many cases, fragments of large and complex programs. In my opinion, usually a workflow may contain any number of, you know, flowcharts or sequences, but in most of the cases, it's an amalgamation of both because both have their own capabilities.

If you want to use just one decision box, of course, you can go with the flow chart because it becomes very representable when you're presenting it to a client or to a project rather than, you know, making a big linear sequence out of a program and Probably looking if you need to debug or if you need to make it comprehensible to any other person who would be looking at your workflow, you would rather want to put it in a workflow in a flowchart sequence so that it becomes more user friendly. All right.

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