Create a Template

Every robotic process serves a distinct purpose within a business or department. If you find that many of your robotic processes are built in similar ways, it could be useful to create a template. A template can be configured to use your chosen set of methods, actions, variables, and more to save time and avoid any of these details being overlooked during setup. Essentially, templates give developers a head start when creating new robotic processes.

This page outlines the advantages of using templates to create a robotic process in Appian RPA, the steps to do so, and how to share a template with other Appian RPA developers through the Appian App Market.

Benefits of robotic process templates

If your team has built a tried and true robotic process that others may find valuable, you can create a template to share with them. Other teams won't need to start from scratch and spend time configuring the robotic process to be the same. Instead, they can start from that same point and modify the template as needed, either building on its capabilities or changing the existing ones. In this way, templates can reduce errors and accelerate robotic process development.

What's included in an Appian RPA template?

Before you get started, it's important to understand what's included in a robotic process template. Some configuration options can't be added to your template to protect security.

Included:

  • Java code used by the robotic process
  • Workflow definition
  • Instructions
  • Robotic process variables
  • Environmental variables

Not included:

  • Credentials: Developers will see a warning when saving a template from a robotic process that uses credentials.
  • Permissions: To make templates widely available and usable in your Appian RPA environment, templates aren't secured by permissions.
  • Global support files: You won't be able to save a robotic process as a template if it uses global support files.

Create a template

You'll create a template using a new or existing robotic process configuration. Keep in mind some best practices for creating robotic process templates as you get started.

  1. Find an existing robotic process you want to use as the basis for your template. Or, create a new one.
  2. Go to the Robotic process configuration.
  3. Verify that the configuration uses all of the components you want in a template.
  4. Click Save as Template at the top of the page.

    rpa-create-template-toolbar.png

  5. Type a Name, Version, and Description (optional).
  6. Click OK.
  7. On the Template Detail page, click Export Template (rpa-export-template-icon.png) to download the template ZIP file. It also appears in the List of Templates within the Appian RPA Console.
  8. On this page, you can also create a robotic process using the template (rpa-create-process-icon.png) or delete the template (rpa-delete-template-icon.png).

Import a template

You can use templates created in other environments. Import the template to begin using it in your own environment.

  1. Go to the List of Templates page.
  2. Click Import template (rpa-import-template-icon.png).
  3. Browse for the ZIP file and select it for upload.
  4. You're done!

You can also use the import option to update a template in the Appian RPA Console. After you select a file to upload, Appian RPA lets you know that a template with the same identifier exists. Click Continue to replace it.

Update a template

After a template is put to use in an RPA environment, you might find areas for improvement. Templates may also need routine maintenance to work with updated or new technology. You can update a robotic process template to keep it useful and efficient.

If you previously created a template from a robotic process and use the same template name, the new template will overwrite the existing one. You'll need to manually update the version number, however.

  1. Go to the robotic process you originally used to create the template.
  2. Open the Robotic process configuration.
  3. Make the updates you want in the new template.
  4. Click Save as Template.
  5. Type the same Name you used for the template previously, indicate a new Version, and add a Description (optional).
  6. Click OK.
  7. On the Template Detail page, the updated details are listed.

To update a template, you need to use the robotic process you used to create the template originally. You can't use a different robotic process to update a template. If that original robotic process no longer exists, you can use the current version of the template to start over, giving the process and template new names.

You can also update a template by importing a new version of the same robotic process template.

List of templates

Whenever a robotic process is saved as a template in the Appian RPA Console, it's saved to the List of Templates page. To find this page, go to the Robotic Processes tab and click Templates from the toolbar.

rpa-template-list.png

You'll see the list of available templates. Sort the list by the Name, Description, or Version columns. Each template also shows when it was last updated, as well as available actions. You can use the Filter field to search for robotic process templates whose names or descriptions match your search terms.

You can't download or delete Appian RPA's default templates.

Administrators and developers have the option to import a template from this page. After you import a template, it's available to use across the Appian RPA environment. Administrators can delete any template in the RPA Console, but developers can only delete the templates they imported or created.

To create a robotic process based on a template, click Create a robot in the Actions column. You'll see the same options available when you create a robotic process from scratch, including Name and Permissions fields.

rpa-create-from-template.png

Share templates on the AppMarket

You can share your robotic process templates with other Appian RPA customers in the Appian AppMarket. The AppMarket provides a collaborative environment for you to share your work and to leverage the experience of others. Feedback from your community members can help improve your template and grow your Appian RPA skills.

rpa-app-market.png

Submit your robotic process template

Best practices for creating templates

As you get started, here are a few guidelines to help you build valuable RPA templates:

  • Use variables: Variables are a useful and scalable way to pass data into your robotic process. Set up your template to use variables instead of a specific values so others can easily use their own values.
  • Make the process granular: To allow for easy configuration, you'll want to make each step of the workflow clear and distinct. Each action should be a single task for the robotic process to complete. It's tempting to think that accomplishing multiple steps in one action is efficient, but it could make it more difficult for others to read or modify your template in the future.
  • Provide documentation: If there's any piece of your template that might need explanation, it could be helpful to provide a written description as a guide.
  • Don't be too specific: Robotic process templates are like any other template: you'll want to design them to be used by other people and in other situations.
  • Keep your use case in mind: While you want to avoid being too specific, you should also make sure that the robotic process achieves some key foundational goals. If you make the process too general, it might not be much more useful than starting robotic process development from scratch.
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