|This content applies solely to Appian RPA, which must be purchased separately from the Appian base platform.|
Robotic processes follow a workflow, or a sequence of tasks. The workflow is the guide that leads the robotic process's operation, determining its starting point and driving it through a series of tasks and actions.
The workflow of an Appian RPA robotic process can be compared to a sequence of tasks performed by a human. Visually, the workflow makes it easy to monitor a robotic process's operation. It enables a global view of all execution phases and allows you to analyze what action the robot is on, when it began, its duration, and its result. The console draws the workflow as the corresponding robotic process operates.
For example, let's suppose one person should perform a task that involves gathering names and contact information from people who have sent their résumés through the company's website. This data then needs to be documented and saved on Notepad, using one line for each name.
Assuming that the data source will always contain at least one résumé, the workflow could look like:
The workflow mimics how a human would go through the process: The person would open Notepad first, then read a résumé, then write the candidate's name and contact information in Notepad. If there are more résumés, the cycle would go back and the person would read the next résumé. If there are no résumés left, the Notepad document would be be saved and closed, reaching the end of the whole process.
Defining the workflow is the first and one of the most important steps for building Appian RPA robotic processes. A good design will make the robot easier to develop.
Looking to speed up your low-code robotic process development? Use the task recorder to capture your interactions in a web browser and automatically create actions in the workflow.
At the top of the workflow, you'll find options to help you find what you're looking for:
Similar to the Interface Designer, the Actions Palette shows you the actions that are available to add to the robotic process. Use the search bar to quickly find an action by name, or browse the list of actions within each low-code module.
To add an action to the workflow:
That's it! You can configure the action in the Configuration Pane.
Action groups help you organize actions that work together to achieve a desired outcome. For example, you may want to organize your workflow so that login actions are contained in an action group.
To add an action group to the workflow, click and drag Action Group from the Actions Palette to a section.
Loops repeat actions until a condition is satisfied. Use the Loop action to process items in a list such as files in a directory or line items on an invoice. RPA supports the following loop types:
Loops can't repeat more than 1000 times.
In the following example, the loop will execute the Create a folder and Copy a file or folder actions until the Loop Expression returns
To add and configure a Loop action:
Action expressions in loops can reference function variables. Supported function variables in loops include:
|Function Variable||Description||While||Repeat||For Each|
||The current iteration of the loop, starting at 1.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
||The total number of loop iterations.||No||Yes||Yes|
||The current item.||No||No||Yes|
The robotic process designer allows you to quickly configure conditional flows. Conditional flows are decision points for a robotic process's execution, where the path of the flow adjusts based on specified conditions. The results of conditional actions determine the path the process will follow. Use conditional actions to make your robotic processes more dynamic. For example, if a web element is present, copy the value; otherwise, add an error message to the log.
Conditional actions only return
false and include:
When you place conditional actions in the workflow, they automatically generate
No flows to configure. Actions that return
true map to
Yes flows; actions that return
false map to
No flows. Add actions to the resulting flows just as you would for the main workflow.
The robotic process designer supports the task recorder tool. The task recorder can automatically record your browser interactions and translate them into robotic process actions. You can start a recording from a section, action group, or conditional flow path.
To start a recording:
By default, every workflow has a Setup, Main Section, and a Clean up section. Click the arrow in the section's toolbar to expand or collapse that section.
Certain tasks may need to be completed to prepare the resource for an item execution. You can define those actions in the setup section of the workflow.
If you use credentials in a setup section, the credentials are reserved and won't be released until the clean up section successfully completes. This may impact credential availability if the setup and clean up sections are skipped for consecutive executions. See Execution Settings to learn more about how the robotic process behaves when the setup and clean up sections are skipped for consecutive executions.
Whether the robotic process ended successfully or not, the end of an execution is a good moment to close the applications that the robotic process has opened or send the files generated during execution to the server. It's important to reset the resource to its previous conditions so subsequent robotic processes can execute successfully. Without consistent starting conditions, other robotic processes may not be able to start or complete.
In the clean up section, you can configure the steps the robotic process should take when it's complete, such as closing programs it opened. Remember that the steps you configure in this section only apply to the robotic process you're currently configuring.
You don't need to add the clean up section to your main workflow. The robotic process will always execute the clean up actions.
If the same robotic process executes multiple times consecutively, you have the option to skip the setup and clean up sections for faster executions.
Required role: Developer or Administrator
Looking to speed up workflow design? Create workflow sections using the task recorder.
To configure a robotic process workflow:
When you add an action to the workflow, the configuration options appear in the Configuration Pane within the designer. The configuration options vary based on the action you're adding.
See the RPA module documentation for details on each action's configuration options:
pv!and concatenate variables as needed.
is stored as) or add the value as a multiple-value variable (
is appended to).
You can use robotic process variables to pass data between workflow actions and other design objects like process models and interfaces. The new robotic process designer includes an improved variable grid that should look familiar if you've worked with rule inputs in the Expression Editor or Interface Designer. All of your process variables are neatly located in the VARIABLES section of the designer.
To create a process variable:
Credentialtype is used to reserve credentials for use in robotic subprocesses.
Dropdown. The default value of the variable at the start of the process.
Dropdown. Indicates if the process variable can pass values to the robotic process before it executes. Before the process executes, the user will be prompted to provide an input.
It is now easier to reference your robotic process variables. Text fields that are found in the configuration options for robotic process actions now allow you to select from a variable picker. Use the variable picker to choose a process variable as a value for your process. What's more, when you rename variables, we'll now automatically update their names throughout your entire process!
See Robotic process variables for more information.
To move a single action within a workflow section, drag and drop the action to a new position.
To delete an action, hover over the action and click Delete action.
The robotic process execution page has been redesigned to match the new robotic process designer layout. Your execution flow will display vertically, the same as it appears in the designer. Read-only views of the robotic process variables display beside the execution.
To execute your robotic process:
As the process executes, actions, loops, and action groups clearly show the flow of execution via icons:
In the preceding example, you can see that the main execution flow executed successfully. We know that the
No flow for the Does browser window title match? action did not execute because there is no green checkmark beside it.
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