You must be familiar with the terms like Robotics or perhaps even Robotic process automation. As the name suggests, RPA is the process of automating human tasks. But, wait, are these physical tasks? Well, no! RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is the use of software with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities to handle high-volume, repeated tasks that previously required humans to perform. Some of these tasks include addressing queries, making calculations, maintaining records, or even making transactions.
Since RPA is a technology, it requires a medium/tool for the execution. There are several tools in the market today, some popular ones being UiPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism. This RPA UiPath tutorial article focuses on the most widely used tool, UiPath.
What is UiPath?
UiPath is an advanced RPA tool that enables you to design automation processes visually through diagrams. UiPath provides complete end-to-end automation, calling it “hyper-automation.”
UiPath was founded in 2005 and is majorly used for Windows process automation. One of the main reasons it is deployed is the fact that it is user-friendly and provides drag and drop options to make it enjoyable to learn and explore more features.
Advantages of UiPath
UiPath has an extensive activity library with pre-built drag and drop actions.
UiPath offers high-level security since we can store and encrypt the credentials on a centralized server.
UiPath has recorders for desktop apps and emulators for quick creation of automation.
You can plug in various technologies from IBM Watson & Google.
UiPath offers intuitive and flexible debugging options.
Products of UiPath
UiPath offers three products for its users viz., UiPath Studio, UiPath Robot, and UiPath Orchestrator. Now, let me give you a closer look at these -
It is a platform to create automation bots. It encompasses hundreds of activity templates and readymade components to drag and drop. Some of its features are mentioned below -
- GUI Dashboard – Offers a visual dashboard with activities like “Send email”, “Display message” and so on
- Types of Recorders – UiPath studio offers various types of recorders to record actions on multiple platforms
- Logging and exception handling - offers various options for debugging and exception handling such as Debug, Open Logs, Slow Step, etc
- Reusable components – The user can create reusable components to publish them together as Libraries
They run the automation that is created using UiPath studio. Now we have two different types of robots
- Attended Robots – They work with you to speed up the service desk and helpdesk. Used is activities where human involvement is key
- Unattended Robots – Operate without human touch, maximizing cost and performance benefits for any variety of back-office tasks
It is a centralized robot management dashboard where you can easily deploy, secure, and manage your UiPath Robots at scale.
The course of action of the uipath Orchestrator is
- The first step is to create the bots to execute the task
- Then, the user has to create a project which can be later used as a process
- Once a process is created, it is assigned to a specific robot to execute in an environment
- This collectively constitutes a job
The architecture primarily consists of the
The Client Layer consists of the UiPath Studio and the UiPath Robot. The user can create the automation workflows, and then, the UiPath Robot executes those tasks.
UiPath Robot has two components –
UiPath Agent Service
This service displays the available jobs in the system tray. It also handles all start /stop requests and changes
UiPath Executor Service
This service runs the given jobs under a Windows session
Once the robot is ready to execute the task, the project can be uploaded on the Orchestrator Server. With the help of Orchestrator, the projects are run of various PCs. The Orchestrator monitors the deploy, configures, queue management, and logging.
This layer consists of a database, which deals with queues and its items. It also holds the information about robot configuration and their assigned processes.
Understanding the UiPath Components
Now that you have a basic understanding of UiPath and its working, this section of the article acquaints you with the components of a typical UiPath interface.
It consists of –
You can start a new project from predefined templates or open a project you recently worked on. By default, the projects created are saved in C:\Users\<current_user>\Documents\UiPath
This feature allows you to add sequences, flowcharts and state machines to your project. It also allows you to install and manage activities packages, build interactions with UI elements, and then publish your work to Orchestrator.
You can debug your workflow using debugging tools such as breakpoints. You can monitor the execution of activities step by step, and adjust the debugging speed.
The Tools tab is used for installing extensions for various browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Java, Citrix, and Windows Remote Desktop, and for launching the UI Explorer and Project Dependencies Mass Update Tool.
The Settings tab has several options for changing the interface language, theme, setting global preferences, and managing activity feeds
- Language - It consists of the option to change the interface language for Studio and Robot
- Theme - The studio interface theme can be set to light or dark depending on the liking
- Telemetry - is used to enable or disable sending usage data.
- The Reset Settings button sets all General and Design settings in Studio to their default state
Contains a set of global settings that apply to all projects opened in the studio.
- Save and publish – Ensures timely back-up and restricts publishing of projects with errors.
- Execution - The Output console size sets up to 9,999 lines in a single session to be displayed in the Output panel.
- Activities design style - The Create docked annotations toggle allows you to create docked or floating annotations for activities
- Project path - To change the default location where projects are created
- Publish Library URL - Allows you to add a default location where all libraries are published when the custom feed option is selected
- Publish Process URL - It allows you to provide a default path where processes are published when the custom feed option is selected
Manage Sources - This feature manages feeds for activities packages from without having to open a project. This feature is similar to the one in the Manage Packages window, that lets you adjust feeds per project.
License and Profile
It is used to activate a community or enterprise license through the orchestrator.
The Help feature directs you to product documentation, release notes, online resources, the Community Forum and the RPA Academy. Information regarding product installation and version, license availability, update channel and device ID is also found in the Help page.
The recorder component in UiPath Studio allows the user to record UI mouse movements and keyboard activities to generate automation scripts.
These components allow screen scraping (programmatic collection of visual data) and data scraping (extraction of structured data from an application).
User events record events such as mouse clicks and keystrokes
Variables hold different types of data. These variables can change over time. UiPath makes an easy provision to create and remove unused variables.
The Project panel enables you to view the contents of the current project, open the file location, add folders, manage dependencies, and adjust project settings.
The Activities panel shows available activities that can be added to the current workflow. You can use the search box to find activities, navigate through them using navigation keys and press.
The Snippets panel enables you to reuse automation. By default, it includes multiple samples, and snippets.
The Properties panel enables you to view and change the properties of a selected activity.
The Outline panel displays the project hierarchy, all available variables, and nodes. Activities can be highlighted in this panel by selecting them in the designer panel.
The Output panel enables you to display the output of the Log Message. Any exceptions for packages are also displayed in this panel.
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Companies Using UiPath
Given the fact that RPA is the next big thing, many fortune 500 companies are deploying UiPath. Some of these companies are Cognizant, Accenture and Deloitte among others.
Learning about UiPath and not actually implementing anything just won’t help. So, in this RPA UiPath tutorial, I’ll help you understand the working of UiPath with the help of a demo. Here’s the use case -
- The user is prompted for their name with the help of a dialog box.
- A welcome message addressing them will be displayed.
Open UiPath Studio and click the new process in the top right corner.
Then click on Create.
The UI of the tool looks like this. Go ahead and click on the Open main workflow to begin your task.
Click on the Activities tab to drag and drop activities for your workflow.
Drag and drop the Sequence activity, to begin with. This activity executes all the inner activities sequentially.
Now, search for the Input Dialog activity and drag and drop the same in your workflow.
The dialog box has two fields. The message displayed on the dialog box constitutes the Title field and the message displayed as the prompt for the user input is the Label.
Drag another Input dialog box and enter the text in the appropriate fields.
In our case, we’re prompting the user for their name. So the title field says “Welcome message” and the label field says “Please enter your name”
Once the user provides their credentials, a message gets displayed saying they have successfully entered the session. To do that, the message box is used. From there drag and drop the Message Box in your workflow.
Now since the welcome message is displayed along with the user’s name. The input given by the user has to be stored in a variable. So, click on the Variables tab in the bottom and create a variable with a name of your choice.
The variable needs to be assigned to the Result. Click on the input dialog box and assign the variable to the output argument i.e., Result.
Once it is done, type in the text "Welcome to the Session" and use the "+" operator for appending the text. Then, add the variable i.e., name and run the program.
When the program runs, a dialog box prompting for your name appears. Go ahead and type in a name for the welcome message.
And if you’re interested in making a career as an automation engineer, then a certification will definitely come in handy. The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) using UiPath certification training will build your RPA expertise from the ground up using the advanced UiPath platform. This course enhances your credibility as an experienced RPA professional validating your ability to automate UiPath based projects.