Configure a Robotic Process

Required role: Developer or Administrator

This page describes how to configure settings for a robotic process in Appian RPA. This configuration is organized into three tabs:

  • Task: Settings for robotic process variables, workflow, and permissions.
  • General Information: General settings for the robotic process 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 process. This tab also allows you to manage support files.

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

To configure a robotic process:

  1. Go to the Robotic processes tab.
  2. Find the robotic process you want to configure in the list.
  3. Click the 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 process configuration page, you can also:

Task

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

Robotic process variables

rpa_variables.png

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

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

For more information, see Using Robotic Process Variables.

To create a new robotic process variable:

  1. Go to the Task tab of robotic process configuration page.
  2. Find the Robotic process variables section.
  3. Click Add variable. A new row appears.
  4. Configure the following fields:

    Field Description
    Name The name of the robotic process variable. Only letters, numbers, and underscores are accepted.
    Description Descriptive text about the variable.
    Type The data type of the robotic process variable. Robotic process variables can be primitive data types, legacy instructions types, or custom data types (CDTs). Note: The following system types cannot be selected for a robotic process 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.
    Initial value The default value of a robotic process variable. Note that you cannot provide an initial value if you select the Mutiple? 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 process variables to pass values to the robotic process before its execution. If selected, the variable will be used as an input field for the robotic process's execution. Input fields ask a user to provide data before a robotic process is executed.
    Required? Requires that a parameterized process variable has a value before the robotic process is executed from the Execute robotic process page in the Appian RPA console.
    Multiple? 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 process from the console. To pass multiple list values in your input parameter, use the Execute Robotic Process Smart Service.
  5. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

To edit a robotic process variable:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic process configuration page.
  2. Find the variable in the Robotic process variables section.
  3. Make your changes to the variable fields described above.
  4. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

To delete a robotic process variable:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic process configuration page.
  2. Find the variable in the Robotic process variables section.
  3. Click the Delete variable icon 950863.png in the variable row.
  4. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

Workflow

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.

For more information, see Robotic Process Workflow.

Permissions

Permissions determine which users can view and control the robotic process, as well as which resources can execute the robotic process.

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

rpa-permissions.png

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 process configuration page.
  2. Configure the following fields:

    Fields Description
    Robotic process 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, so 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 Word that defines or identifies the items to be processed by the robot, such as bills, certificates, employees, and customers. Although not required, it is advised to define this section for each robot, to make it easier to understand the statistics by the user.
    The Appian RPA robots operate on an item, which is the element to be processed. As mentioned above, 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 others waiting for resource availability. In the event of a tied priority, the first robotic process 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 process. This appears on the Execution page when someone launches the robotic process.
    Integrated applications Systems or applications taking part in the process.
    Expected input Description of the input that will be used by the robot. This input is set up on the Robotic process variables section 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).
    Remove old 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 process variables), images, files of results, and video.
  3. Click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.

Advanced Configuration

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

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 process configuration page.
  2. Find the Environment variables section.
  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 process configuration page.
  2. Find the variable you want to change in the Environment variables section.
  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 section.
  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 list:

  • CHOCOLATE ( 2236517.png ).
  • CORAL ( 2236514.png ).
  • CYAN ( 2236529.png ).
  • DARK_GRAY ( 2236511.png ).
  • INDIGO ( 2236523.png ).
  • LIGHT_GRAY ( 2236528.png ).
  • LIME ( 2236533.png ).
  • MAGENTA ( 2236526.png ).
  • OLIVE ( 2236521.png ).
  • RED ( 2236531.png ).

An example could be, for a specific WARNING, to know its different causes, 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 helping deploy it 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 section of the configuration, you can upload support files to be either used by this robotic process only or shared globally among your robotic processes.

If you upload a ZIP of support files and enable the Unzip on server option, Appian RPA automatically creates the corresponding folder structure on the server.

browser-module-support-files.png

Process-specific support files

To manage support files to be used by this robotic proccess only, use the following icons within the Support files section 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 section 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 processes in your Appian RPA environment. For developers, this structure contains support files for robotic processes 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 robot code is located.
  • Group: Identifier for the group of the robot's Maven artifact.
  • Robotic process: Identifier for the robot's 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 process configuration previously created in the Appian RPA console:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic process configuration page.
  2. Find the robotic process you want to copy in the list.
  3. Click the Configure icon 2236505.png in the Actions column.
  4. Click the Duplicate robotic process icon rpa-duplicate-robotic-process-icon.png in the toolbar. The Confirm copy window displays.

    rpa-copy-process.png

  5. Edit the name for the copied process. By default, the New robotic process field contains the name of the process you're copying. The robotic process name must be unique in your Appian RPA environment.
  6. Select the Include executions option to include executions data from the original process in the copied process.
  7. Click OK. The copied robotic process configuration displays instead of the original 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 configuration:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic process configuration page.
  2. Find the robotic process for which you want to download the workflow.
  3. Click the Configure icon 2236505.png in the Actions column.
  4. Click the Export Robotic Process icon in the toolbar. Appian RPA generates the export package, then displays the Export Robotic Process window.
  5. Click DOWNLOAD PACKAGE. The ZIP file downloads to your computer according to your browser settings.

Remove a robotic process configuration

Required role: Developer or Administrator

To remove a robotic process configuration:

  1. Go to the Task tab of the robotic process configuration page.
  2. Find the robotic process you want to remove in the list.
  3. Click the Configure icon 2236505.png in the Actions column.
  4. Click the Remove robotic process icon rpa-remove-icon.png in the toolbar.
  5. Click OK in the confirmation window. Appian RPA removes the robotic process configuration, and the Dashboard page displays.
  6. (Optional) View the removed robotic process.

This version of the Appian RPA documentation was written for Appian 21.1, and does not represent the interfaces or functionality of other Appian versions.
Open in Github Built: Fri, Sep 17, 2021 (04:05:09 PM)

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