Configure a Robotic Task
This content applies solely to Appian RPA, which must be purchased separately from the Appian base platform.

Required role: Developer or Administrator

This page describes how to configure robotic task settings. This configuration is organized into three tabs:

  • Task: Settings for robotic task variables, workflow, and permissions.
  • General Information: General settings for the robotic task itself, including name, priority, description.
  • Advanced Configuration: Settings related to custom code, including technical settings such as the repository and technology that power the robotic task. This tab also allows you to manage support files.

You configure these settings when you create a robotic task. You can change these settings at any time after that.

To configure a robotic task:

  1. Go to the Robotic tasks tab.
  2. Find the robotic task you want to configure in the list.
  3. Click the Configure icon 2236505.png in the Actions column.
  4. Configure the Task settings.
  5. Configure the General Information settings.
  6. (Optional) Configure the Advanced Configuration settings.
  7. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

From the robotic task configuration page, you can also:

Task

In the Task tab of the robotic task configuration page, you can configure the following settings:

Robotic task variables

Robotic task variables can store and pass values in your robotic task's workflow, and even between your robotic task and other design objects.

Similar to process variables in a process model, robotic task variables are placeholders for data that can be accessed throughout the lifecycle of a robotic task. These variables can be referenced in actions to display values or to store an action's result value and use it later in other actions of a workflow. You can also set robotic task variables as parameters so they can be used as input fields in a robotic task's execution.

For more information, see Using Robotic Task Variables.

To create a new robotic task variable:

  1. Go to the Task tab of robotic task configuration page.
  2. Find the Variables pane.
  3. Click Add variable.
  4. Configure the following fields in the Create Variable dialog:

    Field Description
    Name The name of the robotic task variable. Only letters, numbers, and underscores are accepted.
    Type The data type of the robotic task variable. Robotic task variables can be primitive data types, legacy instructions types, or custom data types (CDTs). The Credential type is used to reserve credentials for use in robotic subtasks. Note: The following system types cannot be selected for a robotic task variable type: Encrypted Text, Time, complex system data types, and hidden CDTs. See the Data Types page for a complete list of system data types.
    Array (multiple value) Lets the process variable accept an array of values. You cannot enter an initial value if this checkbox is selected. If your variable is a parameter and you select this checkbox, you can only pass one value when executing the robotic task from the console. To pass multiple list values in your input parameter, use the Execute Robotic Task Smart Service.
    Initial value The default value of a robotic task variable. Note that you cannot provide an initial value if you select the Array checkbox, if your variable is type CDT, or if your variable is type Date or Date and Time and marked as a parameter.
    Parameter? Allows variables to pass values to the robotic task before its execution. If selected, the variable will be used as an input field for the robotic task's execution. Input fields ask a user to provide data before a robotic task is executed.
    Required? Requires that a parameterized variable has a value before the robotic task is executed from the Execute robotic task page in the Appian RPA console.
  5. Click CREATE.

rpa_variables.png

You can also create robotic task variables as you record actions with the task recorder.

To edit a robotic task variable:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Find the Variables pane.
  3. Click a variable name.
  4. Make your changes to the variable fields described above.
  5. Click OK.

To delete a robotic task variable:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Find the Variables pane.
  3. Click a variable name.
  4. Click DELETE.

Workflow

Robotic tasks follow a workflow, or a sequence of tasks. The workflow is the guide that leads the robotic task's operation, determining its starting point and driving it through a series of tasks and actions.

For more information, see Robotic Task Workflow.

General Information

The information in this section is also shown as a summary on the manual execution screen.

rpa-general-info.png

To configure general information settings:

  1. Go to the General Information tab of the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Configure the following fields:

    Fields Description
    Robotic task Technical identifier assigned to the robot. This value is defined when creating the robot, assigned by the developer, and cannot be changed. This name will be used for creating folders both on the server and with the client; therefore, this is usually a technical name.
    Name Functional name for the robot, which will be displayed on every window and will be the name by which the user will identify the robot.
    Spoken name Name used when referencing the robot through voice commands.
    Work items Name used to reference the items to be processed by the robot, such as bills, certificates, employees, and customers. Although not required, this name makes it easier for you to understand the statistics generated by the robotic task.
    The robotic task acts on an item. The type of item depends on the tasks the robot must accomplish. Typically, an item is associated with an element within a set of elements with similar characteristics.
    Some examples of an item could be a candidate who has sent his résumé, and whose name and contact information must be processed; the employee, for a robot that makes the payments of salaries; or a product, for a robot that checks the stock in a store's warehouse; or even a citizen for a robot that must gather data from a census registry. In short, the item identification will depend on the business process or the task to be performed.
    Priority Execution preference of the robot with respect to the other robotic tasks waiting for the robot to be availabile. In the event of a tied priority, the first robotic task to be executed will be the one that was launched first.
    Priority values include:
    2232745.png Highest
    2232705.png Very high
    2232739.png High
    2232734.png Normal (default)
    2232704.png Low
    2232747.png Very low
    2232699.png Lowest
    Default color Color assigned to the robot by default to be shown in the schedule page, where you can see finished executions.
    Description Main characteristics of the robotic task. This appears on the Execution page when someone launches the robotic task.
    Integrated applications Systems or applications taking part in the robotic task.
    Expected input Description of the input that will be used by the robot. This input is set up on the Robotic task variables area of this screen.
    Expected output Description of the output that the robot will produce as a result of the execution.
    Disable new executions By enabling this checkbox, the robot is disabled, preventing any scheduled execution.
    Test executions By enabling this checkbox, all robot executions are marked as test executions, unless it is changed when launching the execution.
    Trace level Refers to the minimum trace log level to be written into the robot execution log.
    Simultaneous executions (enqueued and running) Maximum number of robot executions that can happen at the same time, both in status executing or queued.
    Allow executions only at these days/hours By enabling this checkbox, a scheduler is shown to set up the days and hours when the robot can run. Outside these days/hours, the robot will not run, and if you try to run them, the system will initiate an event to notify such a circumstance. To schedule the executions, specify a time range in Days (select a day of the week or a specific day in the month) or Hours (select any or all hours of the day from 00-23).
  3. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

Automatic Process Clean-Up

Every robotic task execution creates metadata or artifacts to help you evaluate how it performed. Over time, this data accumulates and can consume disk space to the point of negatively impacting performance. To keep your environment performing its best, you can configure when to delete this information. If you need certain information for auditing purposes, we recommend maintaining an Appian database table with the information you might need, such as the item processed, status of the process, and duration.

  • Delete completed or cancelled executions including artifacts (days): Number of days after which robotic task executions (including artifacts) are removed in order to free disk space. The execution data is removed altogether, so it won't appear in the list of executions.
  • Delete only artifacts (days): Number of days after which artifacts generated by executions are removed in order to free disk space. The list of artifacts affected by this option are inbound (parameterized robotic task variables), images, files of results, and video.

Permissions

Permissions determine which users can view and control the robotic task, as well as which robots can execute the robotic task.

By default, a robot inherits the permissions of the user that created it. Learn more about permissions.

rpa-permissions.png

Advanced Configuration

In the Advanced Configuration tab of the robotic task configuration page, you can configure the following settings:

Execution settings

In this section, you can choose how this robotic task behaves when executions are launched consecutively from an Appian process model. Options include:

  • Run setup and clean up for each execution: Each consecutive robotic task execution includes the actions specified in the setup and clean up sections.
  • Skip setup and clean up for consecutive executions: Setup actions only occur at the start of the first execution, and clean up actions only occur at the end of the final execution.

If the robotic task doesn't require a robot to be reset before the next execution occurs, you can choose Skip setup and clean up for consecutive executions. This option speeds up each execution, and the compounded time savings can make the overall set of consecutive executions much faster.

Learn more about the Setup and Clean Up sections.

In some scenarios, setup and cleanup sections are still run even if you choose to skip them for consecutive executions. These sections run when the:

  • Next execution is for a different robotic task
  • Execution runs into an unexpected exception
  • Definition of the robotic task changes
  • Robot does not have any further pending executions to pick up

Certain components of the robotic task configuration may behave differently when setup and clean up are skipped:

  • Variables: When setup and clean up are skipped, any robotic task variable that isn't a parameter is reset to the value it had at the end of the last setup. Any robotic task variable that is a parameter will be set to the value defined as part of the execution request. When you choose to skip setup and clean up, avoid updating any variables used in the setup section.
  • Credentials: 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 means that if the robotic task executes consecutively and the configuration is set to Skip setup and cleanup, then the credentials won't be released until the final execution's clean up section completes. Credentials used in the main section are released at the end of that specific execution.

If you choose to skip setup and clean up for consecutive executions, be sure to design the robotic task workflow in the main section so it executes reliably in this manner. For example, if the robotic task is meant to submit a form multiple times with different data, be sure to add an action toward the end of the workflow for the robotic task to navigate back to the starting form. This way, each consecutive execution occurs smoothly and predictably.

Environment variables

rpa-env-variables.png

You can define environment variables, which are sent to the robot as "key-value" pairs. The difference is that they are sent in all the executions but they are not requested in each execution. To modify them, it is necessary to modify robot settings. This facilitates having different configurations in different robot environments (for example, development and production).

To add an environment variable:

  1. Go to the Advanced Configuration tab of the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Find the Environment variables area.
  3. Click Add variable. A new row displays.
  4. Configure the following fields:

    Field Description
    Name The name that serves as the key in the key-value pair.
    Value The value for the environment variable.
  5. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

To edit an environment variable:

  1. Go to the Advanced Configuration tab of the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Find the variable you want to change in the Environment variables area.
  3. Edit the Name and Value parameters.
  4. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

To delete an environment variable:

  1. Click the Advanced Configuration tab.
  2. Find the variable you want to delete in the Environment variables area.
  3. Click the Delete variable icon 950863.png in the variable row.
  4. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

Sub-results description

rpa-sub-results.png

Sub-results are used to categorize the items results, making it possible to differentiate items already classified as OK or WARNING. The colors and statuses appear in the results column on the list of executions.

This items categorization is shown in the following table:

Icon Color name
2236517.png CHOCOLATE
2236514.png CORAL
2236529.png CYAN
2236511.png DARK_GRAY
2236523.png INDIGO
2236528.png LIGHT_GRAY
2236533.png LIME
2236526.png MAGENTA
2236521.png OLIVE
2236531.png RED

For example, for a specific WARNING, you could assign a sub-result color to indicate different causes such as technical problems (sub-result CORAL) or data problems (sub-result CYAN).

Support files

Support files help you avoid having to add files in a robot's code, so the code is leaner and deploys much faster. Working this way also allows you to change the files' content (neither adding nor removing them) without affecting the robot's deployment.

In the Support files area of the configuration, you can upload support files to be either used by this robotic task only or shared globally among your robotic tasks.

If you upload a ZIP containing an internal folder structure of support files and enable the Unzip on server option, Appian automatically creates the corresponding folder structure on the server. If you don't immediately see the unzipped contents of the file, but instead see the name of the ZIP file in the Root tree, refresh your browser.

To support methods in the Browser low-code module, the browser driver files must be stored in a specifically named folder in the Root tree. You must manually add this folder, and then unzip the driver files into that folder. For more information, see Using the Browser Module.

browser-module-support-files.png

Task-specific support files

To manage support files to be used by this robotic task only, use the following icons within the Support files area of the workflow:

Icon Description
rpa-preview-icon.png Preview the image support files.
rpa-upload-icon.png Upload a new file to the server.
2232696.png Download the file or folder from the server. When downloading a folder, Appian RPA creates a ZIP file for the folder and its contents.
rpa-rename-icon.png Rename a file/folder on the server.
2232700.png Create a new folder on the server.
2232735.png Delete a file or folder on the server.

In addition, by dragging and dropping any folder or file, you can move the folder or file across different locations in the folder structure on the server.

When you upload a ZIP file, you can specify if you want it to unzip on the server, thus creating the corresponding folder structure it contains upon upload completion.

Global support files

If you want to share files between different robots, you can access the global support files. To do so, click on the Support files icon 2232759.png located in the Support files toolbar.

Essentially, this window is the same as the one displayed on the namesake area in robot setup, and hence their behavior is very similar regarding the uploading, downloading, moving, and renaming operations for files and folders.

From a visual point of view, the difference lies in how you define which robots can access which files.

For administrators, this structure contains support files for all robotic tasks in your Appian RPA environment. For developers, this structure contains support files for robotic tasks for which you have permissions. Files and folders display in alphabetic order. The folders are sorted first and then the files.

rpa-global-support-files.png

As you can see, there is a folder with files. To give a robot access to the global support files, it should have a permission with the same name as the folder it is trying to access. This folder will contain the folder structure and files the robot can use.

The table below shows the robots, their permissions, and the folders and files they can access, according to the previous picture:

Permission Folder Access Robot
app07 shared-folder-1 shared-folder-1 nodes.png
app08 shared-folder-1 shared-folder-1 nodes.png
  shared-folder-2 shared-folder-2 shared-subfolder-2.1 (D) robot-file-2-1.png robot-file-2.png robot-file-1.png
app12 shared-subfolder-2-1 shared-subfolder-2.1 robot-file-2.1.png robot-file-2.png

Robots app07 and app12 can access the content of only one folder of the global support files since each of them has the proper permission. Remember that you cannot use the period character . in a permission tag, but you can use the hyphen character -. So to access the folder shared-subfolder-2.1 you should specify the permission shared-subfolder-2-1.

Robot app08, on the other hand, can access both folders. One of them contains only one file, whereas the other one contains one file (robot-file-1.png) and one folder (shared-subfolder-2.1). The latter contains, in turn, two files.

Access support files in code

The following shows an example of how we could obtain the path to access a file uploaded in this section.

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Path path = Paths.get(
    server.getCurrentDir(),
    "folder",
    FILE_NAME).
        toRealPath(LinkOption.NOFOLLOW_LINKS);

In the previous code snippet, we assume that we have a folder called "folder", and a file whose name is defined in the constant FILE_NAME.

Technical information

This section is relevant to custom code development only. If you're using low-code modules, you can ignore this section.

At the end of the page, you can see the definition of the repository where the project has been automatically deployed. To make this link work properly, it is necessary to have previously deployed the robot binaries in the defined Maven repository. This is done using the following instruction:

mvn clean deploy

rpa-technical-info.png

In this section, you can find the technical information contained in the robot setup:

  • Technology: Technology in which the robot has been built: Java, AutoHotkey or Autoit. If you choose the latter, the form will only have fields for Executable and Version.
  • Repository: Maven repository where the robotic task code is located.
  • Group: Identifier for the group of the robot's Maven artifact.
  • Robotic task: Identifier for the Maven artifact.
  • Version: Version of the robot's Maven artifact.
  • URL: Complete URL to the robot's Maven artifact, only necessary if previous fields are not specified.
  • Main class: The main class to be executed, that is, the input class for the robot.

It is possible to select the robot's main class if the Maven artifact's information has been setup properly. To do so, click on the Select main class icon 2232766.png and select the main class from the list of all classes available in the Maven artifact.

In case some of the fields of the Maven coordinates associated with the artifact are not correct, an error message will show up as a warning. If no classes are shown, check that the artifacts successfully deployed to Maven, as well as the Maven configuration is correct.

Use the Check dependencies rpa-dependency-icon.png button to validate that the configuration of the robot is correct in terms of dependencies and the versions of these dependencies. A window appears that shows the artifacts that have a different version in the robot and in the agent.

rpa-dependency.png

View configuration change history

Required role: Developer or Administrator

In the toolbar, after the breadcrumb indicating the robot's name, you can see a set of icons with an arrow and a clock. Through this arrow, we can go back to previously recorded versions of the configuration, thus recovering old configurations that have been overwritten for whatever reason.

rpa-change-history.png

You can use the arrows to navigate back and forth through the configuration versions that have been saved previously.

Copy the configuration

Required role: Developer or Administrator

To copy a robotic task configuration:

  1. Go to the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Click the Duplicate robotic task icon rpa-duplicate-robotic-process-icon.png in the toolbar. The Confirm copy window displays.

    rpa-copy-process.png

  3. Edit the name for the copied robotic task. By default, the New robotic task name field contains the name of the robotic task you're copying. The robotic task name must be unique.
  4. Click OK. The copied robotic task configuration displays instead of the original robotic task configuration.

Export the configuration

Required role: Developer or Administrator

You can download a ZIP file containing the robot configuration, so it is possible to import it to the same or other consoles.

To export the robotic task configuration:

  1. Go to the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Click the Export Robotic Task icon in the toolbar. Appian generates the export package, then displays the Export Robotic Task window.
  3. Click DOWNLOAD PACKAGE. The ZIP file downloads to your computer according to your browser settings.

Remove a robotic task configuration

Required role: Developer or Administrator

To remove a robotic task configuration:

  1. Go to the robotic task configuration page.
  2. Click the Remove robotic task icon rpa-remove-icon.png in the toolbar.
  3. Click OK in the confirmation window.
Open in Github Built: Thu, Feb 23, 2023 (02:59:22 PM)

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