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Robotic tasks follow a definition, or a sequence of tasks. The robotic task definition is the guide that leads the robotic task's operation, determining its starting point and driving it through a series of tasks and actions.
A robotic task definition can be compared to a sequence of tasks performed by a human. Visually, the robotic task definition makes it easy to monitor a robotic task'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 robotic task definition as the corresponding robotic task 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 in Notepad, using one line for each name.
Assuming that the data source will always contain at least one résumé, the definition could look like:
The robotic task definition 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 robotic task definition is the first and one of the most important steps for building robotic tasks. A good design will make the robot easier to develop.
Looking to speed up your low-code robotic task development? Use the task recorder to capture your interactions in a web browser and automatically create actions in the robotic task definition.
At the top of the robotic task definition, 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 task. 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 robotic task definition:
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 robotic task definition so that login actions are contained in an action group.
To add an action group to the robotic task definition, 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 task designer allows you to quickly configure conditional flows. Conditional flows are decision points for a robotic task's execution, where the path of the flow adjusts based on specified conditions. The results of conditional actions determine the path the robotic task will follow. Use conditional actions to make your robotic tasks 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 robotic task definition, 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 robotic task definition.
The robotic task designer supports the task recorder tool. The task recorder can automatically record your browser interactions and translate them into robotic task actions. You can start a recording from a section, action group, or conditional flow path.
To start a recording:
By default, every robotic task definition 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 robot for an item execution. You can define those actions in the setup section of the robotic task definition.
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 task behaves when the setup and clean up sections are skipped for consecutive executions.
Whether the robotic task ended successfully or not, the end of an execution is a good moment to close the applications that the robotic task has opened or send the files generated during execution to the server. It's important to reset the robot to its previous conditions so subsequent robotic tasks can execute successfully. Without consistent starting conditions, other robotic tasks may not be able to start or complete.
In the clean up section, you can configure the steps the robotic task 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 task you're currently configuring.
You don't need to add the clean up section to your main robotic task definition. The robotic task will always execute the clean up actions.
If the same robotic task 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 robotic task definition design? Create robotic task definition sections using the task recorder.
To configure a robotic task definition:
When you add an action to the robotic task definition, the configuration options appear in the Configuration Pane within the designer. The configuration options vary based on the action you're adding.
See the action 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 task variables to pass data between robotic task definition actions and other design objects like process models and interfaces. The new robotic task 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 variables are neatly located in the VARIABLES section of the designer.
To create a variable in a robotic task:
Credentialtype is used to reserve credentials for use in robotic subtask.
Dropdown. The default value of the variable at the start of the task.
Dropdown. Indicates if the variable can pass values to the robotic task before it executes. Before the robotic task executes, the user will be prompted to provide an input.
It's simple to reference your variables in a robotic task. Text fields that are found in the configuration options for robotic task actions now allow you to select from a variable picker. Use the variable picker to choose a variable as a value for your robotic task. What's more, when you rename variables, Appian automatically updates their names throughout your entire robotic task.
See Robotic taks variables for more information.
To move a single action within a robotic task definition section, drag and drop the action to a new position.
To delete an action, hover over the action and click Delete action.
The robotic task execution page matches the robotic task definition. Your execution flow will display vertically, the same as it appears in the designer. Read-only views of the robotic task variables display beside the execution.
To execute your robotic task:
As the robotic task 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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