Troubleshooting Robotic Processes

This page describes some common issues that developers may encounter when coding, configuring, and testing a robotic process. Read on to learn how to fix these problems.

Appian RPA resource configuration

I've already installed Java, but the resource doesn't detect it.

Check that the JRE path (set when the resource was created) exists and that the JDK or JRE software is correctly installed.

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To check the installation on the resource shown in the image, run c:\jdk-13.0.1\bin\java --version in the command line. You should get the following result:

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If you opted to set the path using the %JAVA_PATH% environment variable (our recommendation), use %JAVA_HOME%\bin\java --version.

If the path is not correct, delete the current resource and create a new one with the appropriate path.

The resource is started but not connected.

If the resource icon is not displayed in red, this means that it is not connected to the server.

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Check if your organization has activated a firewall on this machine to prevent access to the console URL.

Check if your organization is using a proxy for internet access. If this is the case, you must include the proxy settings in the jidoka.l4j.ini file. This file must be created in the same directory where the AppianRPAagent.exe file was installed. Request the proxy settings to your network administrator, and set the values in the file as shown.

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-Dhttp.proxyUser=USER
-Dhttp.proxyPassword=PASSWORD (password could be encrypted using the Appian RPA resource)
-Dhttp.proxyHost=PROXY_ADDRESS
-Dhttp.proxyPort=8080
-Dhttps.proxyUser=USER
-Dhttps.proxyPassword=PASSWORD (password could be encrypted using the Appian RPA resource)
-Dhttps.proxyHost=PROXY_ADDRESS
-Dhttps.proxyPort=8080

The robotic process execution returns an exception of the type "java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space."

This error is due to insufficient assigned memory for the resource executing in the computer. In general, the resource does not require too much memory, but the use of the IExcel module or high number of images in the Falcon module requires a necessary memory expansion assigned to the process.

To solve these errors, we can do the following:

  1. Increase the RAM available for the Java process:

    To expand the available RAM for the Java process, it's necessary to configure the maximum available memory by adding the Java standard parameters -Xms and -Xmx in the jidoka.l4j.ini file. -Xms sets the initial memory and -Xmx sets the value for maximum memory. Use the maximum RAM the system allows without affecting applications used by robotic processes. For example, this could be -Xms512m -Xmx2048m.

  2. Relaunch the resource's agent:

    The garbage collector in Java allows you to free up the used memory after each execution. But due to the design of Java, sometimes it is not completely released and the available memory decreases in each execution. To avoid this problem, you can configure in the console to restart the resource when it reaches a certain threshold of used memory (our recommendation is 80%). To do this, you have to define the event in the resource configuration, and define a NODE_RELAUNCH action.

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I have increased the available RAM in jidoka.l4j.ini and now the resource doesn't start.

This error occurs when you are trying to reserve more memory for Java than the OS allows. We recommend that you check your computer's RAM to set the appropriate -Xmx value.

Note that a 32-bit Java Virtual Machine cannot handle too much memory, even if the computer's capacity is properly sized.

Create and run your first Appian RPA robotic process

My first robotic process is just waiting.

You have executed "my-first-robot" but the robotic process is queued up and still waiting for a resource.

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If this is the case, perform the following checks:

  1. Check that your resource is online.
  2. Ensure that your new robotic process has the same permission as the resource. If not, the robotic process will not choose that resource for execution.

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Once these checks have been made, relaunch the robotic process.

The agent isn't able to execute a certain step in the process.

Be sure to add the resources to your Appian environment's firewall allow list, if applicable. The robotic process may not be able to execute successfully if the firewall blocks communication between the agent, resource, and server.

Modify your first Appian RPA robotic process

I receive an error deploying my new code. It says non-resolvable parent POM.

If the following error occurs when importing or compiling your first robotic process:

Project build error: Non-resolvable parent POM for com.novayre.jidoka.robot.test:hello-world:0.0.1: Failure to transfer com.novayre.jidoka.robot:jidoka-robot-parent:pom:x.y.z from https://myrepository.appiancloud.com/rpa/repo was cached in the local repository, resolution will not be reattempted until the update interval of jidoka has elapsed or updates are forced.

You should check the following points:

  • Launch Configurator to be ensure that your Maven installation is correctly configured.
  • Verify that your robotic process's pom.xml file is referencing the correct URL with a server ID that matches the definition found in your settings.xml.

    Check that your settings.xml file is stored in your user directory: C:/Users/<username>/.m2/settings.xml.

    For example, when you configure a new Maven build in Eclipse, the system suggests a path for the file setting.xml. Check that your file is stored in this path.

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  • Your settings.xml file must contain an entry for your repository id.

    In your pom.xml file, you should define your Maven repository URL with an id (<id>jidoka</id>). The credentials for this id must be defined in your settings.xml file using your Appian username and Maven API key. For example:

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      <servers>
       <server>
        <id>jidoka</id>
         <username>appian_username</username>
         <password>maven_API_key</password>
       </server>
      </servers>
    

    You can find your Maven API key from the Appian RPA Console. Click Settings > Refresh Maven Key and copy the value. Note that this is the only time you'll be able to view and copy this specific key.

I receive an error deploying my new code. It says I'm unauthorized.

If the following error occurs when importing or compiling your first robotic process:

[FATAL] Non-resolvable parent POM for com.novayre.jidoka.robot.test:my_user_HelloWorld:0.0.1: Could not transfer artifact com novayre.jidoka.robot:jidoka-robot-parent:pom:x.y.z from/to jidoka (https://myrepository.jidoka.io/rpa-repo/repository/jidoka/ : Access denied to https://myrepository.jidoka.io/rpa-repo/repository/jidoka/com/novayre/jidoka/robot/jidoka-robot-parent/x.y x/jidoka-robot-parent-x.y.z.pom. Error code 401, Unauthorized and 'parent.relativePath' points at wrong local POM @ line 10 column 10

Check the following:

  • You're probably using the wrong API key. It should be the same you used to set up the development environment with the Configurator. That is, the one that is in your settings.xml file (go to your pc at USER_HOME/.m2/settings.xml to find it).

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      <servers>
       <server>
        <id>jidoka</id>
         <username>appian_username</username>
         <password>maven_API_key</password>
       </server>
      </servers>
    

    You can refresh your API key in the Appian RPA Console. Click Settings > Refresh Maven Key and copy the value.

I don't see my Main Class in the Technical Information window.

If you don't see your main class in the Appian RPA Console, you should check the configuration following the steps detailed in the previous section.

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First, verify your connection to the Maven repository. Go to the settings.xml file and confirm your username and API key are correct.

Second, check the Group, Robotic Process, and Version to ensure that they are the same in the console as in pom.xml. For example:

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<groupId>com.novayre.jidoka.robot.test</groupId>
<artifactId>HelloWorld.myUser</artifactId>
<packaging>jar</packaging>
<version>0.0.1</version>

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I don't see my new method in the workflow.

You have created a new method in your IDE:

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public void newMethod() {
    server.info("This is a new method");
}

However, after compiling and deploying, you don't see it in the console.

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Maybe you haven't correctly linked your code with the Technical data in the Console.

You must check the robotic process configuration as in the previous section.

To be sure, change in your pom.xml the Version or the Artifact, and redeploy. For example:

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<groupId>com.novayre.jidoka.robot.test</groupId>
<artifactId>my_user_HelloWorld</artifactId>
<packaging>jar</packaging>
<version>0.0.2</version>

Change the Technical Information in your console. And you will see the new version:

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Check if you are able to see the new method.

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Note that it is not necessary to change the Version number in each deployment. This suggestion is intended to ensure that your robotic process is correctly linked to your source code.

Debug an Appian RPA robotic process

I have created the jidoka.l4j.ini file but the debug doesn't start

You have to make sure that the file doesn't have the .txt extension, which is sometimes added when editing the file.

Review the file content. You should have this line:

-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=13000,server=y,suspend=n

Make sure that the resource is started and connected to the server. If the jidoka.l4j.ini file does not have the right format, it will not start.

If your resource is running on another machine, check that you can connect to the remote port. For example:

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In the command prompt, test the telnet command to the attached port. If it is not working, you don't have visibility to the resource debug port. Check the firewall options or try to choose with a smaller number, sometimes the port 13000 is not available.

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If you have a connection you'll see the following:

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Testing a robotic process is an important step before deploying it to production environments. You want to make sure that the robotic process executes properly and is set up to handle changes or unexpected situations.

This page outlines some ways to test your process and solve common problems during the bug fixing process.

When you're ready to test, the first step is to execute a robotic process using the method that fits your use case. Developers usually execute the process manually.

Check the execution log

Your first step when troubleshooting a robotic process should be to check the execution log:

  1. Go to the Robotic processes tab.
  2. In the table, click the name of the process you're interested in.
  3. In the list of executions, click the name of the execution you're interested in.
  4. Click the Execution log tab. This is the detailed list of each operation the robotic process took during execution, including timestamps.
  5. At the top of the Execution log, you can filter the log entries by trace types:
    • Statistics
    • Dump contribution
    • Result files
    • Screenshots
    • Work items OK
    • Work items WARN
    • Maximum trace level
    • Debug trace level
    • Info trace level
    • Error trace level
    • Fatal trace level
  6. You can view or download the full trace to see even more details about the outcome of the execution. Use this information to pinpoint how to best modify the robotic process code or configuration.

Other solutions to common pitfalls include:

  • Ensure that an appropriate resource was chosen for execution.
  • Verify permissions are properly configured.
  • Ensure that the execution successfully connected to the repository and downloaded the required libraries.
    • Confirm that the credentials in the robotic process configuration are accurate.
  • Once proper initiation is confirmed, follow the log messages as configured in the code to troubleshoot further, especially WARN and ERROR level messages.

When in doubt, open a support case with Appian Support and attach the execution log.

Debug in your IDE

One of the most important features to use while developing a robot is the ability to debug it. To do so, we can perform what's called remote debugging.

We call it remote debugging because we are assuming that the robotic process will run on a different machine from the one used by the person who wants to debug the process.

Let's see how to enable this remote debugging and how to use it.

Resource configuration

First, you'll need to configure the resource.

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  1. In the agent, select the option Generate configuration file.
  2. Select the option Enable debug in Debug Settings. This will generate a file include the required configuration to accept debug connections through the port 13000. Be aware that that port must be accessible from the development machine (where our IDE is) to the resource.

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It is possible that, in a development resource, the agent may be already configured to accept incoming connection for debugging through port 13000. If this is not the case, it is possible to enable remote debugging through a configuration file where it is possible to specify, among others, which port will be used for debugging.

This file, usually called jidoka.l4j.ini, is optional and makes it possible to add specific configuration to the resource JVM. In this file, basically a properties file, we must add the following line to enable remote debugging:

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-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=n,address=[PORT]

Where we want to replace [PORT] by the port through debugging will be enabled. This port must be available and be capable of receive incoming connections for debugging.

It might be the case the provided agent is already configured to accept incoming connections for debugging through port 13000. However, this option is disabled by default, so it is necessary to have been requested previously.

Eclipse configuration

Next, you'll need to configure Eclipse.

To be able to remotely debug a robot, we must add a remote Java machine within the debugging settings.

  1. In Eclipse, open the Debug Configurations menu.
  2. Right click on Remote Java Application and select New.

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  3. Set up the debugging values, using the information related to the machine on which the robot will run, that is, the server (Host) and the port (Port). In addition, we must provide information about the project with the source code.

Agents have enabled the port 13000 for remote debugging.

The deployed robot to be executed must match with the version of the code that we want to debug.

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Connect to a remote machine

Once we have applied the configuration by clicking on the button Apply, we can start debugging by clicking on the button Debug. By doing so, we establish the connection, and so we will still need to set the necessary breakpoints for the debugging.

From the Eclipse Debug perspective, we can see that we are connected and ready for debugging once the robot execution starts.

We will able to see the threads that are running on the remote machine.

You don't need to click Debug each time we want to debug a robot. Once connected, we will be able to debug each robot execution until the connection is closed.

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Making changes in the code as we are debugging is quite common. For this reason, be aware that if you change the code, it is no longer synchronized with the deployed robotic process's code. Although you don't need to reconnect with the remote machine, you can redeploy the robot directly to synchronize again the robot and the code.

Every time you change your code and save it, Eclipse will show you a warning message, because Eclipse cannot know whether the code matches with the execution we are debugging or not.

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Debugging

It's time to debug our robotic processes.

By now, you are already connected with the machine on which the robot is running. You need two more things: to establish breakpoints to stop the execution and to launch the robot.

In the image below, we can see the breakpoints already established.

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You can launch the robot and wait for the execution to stop, so that you can debug step by step.

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From this point on, you can use the usual commands for debugging. From the Display view, you can write and run any set of lines of code, without the need for including them in the debugged software.

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To run code from the Display window, write the code, select it, and press the keys Ctrl + Shift + D. You can also right-click and pick the option Display from the menu. We can also pick the option Inspect, but this way we will get the result on a pop-up window, rather than on the display view.

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Execute a robotic process

After you've debugged, execute the robotic process in your test environment.

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