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Appian RPA contains modules to put the power of robotic process automation in your hands, without having to use Java. You can configure these modules in the Appian RPA console by adding values to parameters in the robotic process workflow configuration and storing returning values as robotic process variables.
On this page, you will learn how to create and configure a low-code robotic process. This page also describes how to integrate the robotic process in your application using a process model.
For guided walk-throughs on how to create robotic processes using Java, see the RPA tutorials. These tutorials describe specific steps to create robotic processes with defined purposes. This page talks about the same process, but more generally and at a high level.
Robotic processes are created in the Appian RPA console.
Each robotic process is created from a template. Templates provide you with a zip file containing your robotic process's source code and a pre-built workflow in the robotic process configuration. If you're developing a robotic process using purely low-code functionality, you can disregard this package. However, if you plan to use low-code and Java modules, you'll want to save this file. See Custom Code Development for information on how to develop robotic processes with Java.
To create a new robotic process:
Most low-code robotic processes will use the default values for Group, Version, and Repository.
After creating a robotic process, you are taken to the robotic process configuration. This page allows you to add general and technical information about your process, create the process workflow, add support files, and modify your security.
This section explains how to configure two key aspects of your robotic process: creating process variables and defining your workflow. To learn about the other configuration options available, see Configure a Robotic Process.
Robotic process variables are placeholders for data that can be accessed throughout the lifecycle of a robotic process. These variables can be called in your workflow to pass data between workflow actions, and even between the Appian RPA console and your Appian application. See Using Robotic Process Variables for an example of how variables pass data between workflow actions, and even between your robotic process and other design objects.
To create robotic process variables:
You may want to configure your robotic process so it waits to execute until you provide it with some necessary data. For example, before the process executes, you want to provide a path to a file that needs to be processed, or a username that the process should enter in a browser.
These inputs are created from robotic process variables marked as Parameters. These values become input fields in the robotic process's Execution options.
You can only pass one value per parameter to the robotic process when executing the robotic process from the console. You won't be able to pass an array, for example. To pass multiple list values in the input field, you need to use the runWithParams endpoint in your integration object to execute the robotic process.
Robotic processes follow the steps defined on the Task tab of the robotic process configuration. It guides the robotic process's operations and determines the starting point and which actions to accomplish.
Depending on the template you selected when you created the robotic process, you may have some preexisting actions appear in your workflow.
Actions require the robotic process to perform a specific task before continuing with the next action. 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 module.
To add an action to your 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.
To configure an action:
is stored as) or add the value as a multiple-value variable (
is appended to).
A robotic process may need to call a username and password to log in to a website. To pass this information securely, Appian RPA uses credentials. You can add credentials in the Appian RPA console and refer to them in a robotic process without exposing the information. You can configure a robotic process to use credentials through the Browser, Windows Automation, and Keyboard modules.
During a robotic process execution, Appian RPA reserves the credential entries being referenced. If the same credential is being used by other robotic processes and reaches its maximum usage, Appian RPA waits and tries to reserve the credential again. If the credential is still unavailable, the robotic process fails and you'll see an error message in the execution log.
Next, add the credentials to your robotic process. Remember you'll only see credentials that share permissions with you and the robotic process. In this example, the robotic process is logging in using a web-based portal, so it's best to use the Browser module. Building a robotic process to log into an application? You can use the Type text action in the Keyboard module or the Interact with element method in the Windows Automation action to input credentials.
When the robotic process reaches this part of the workflow, it will populate the chosen field with the username associated with the credential. If the credential has a maximum usage limit, the credential will be automatically reserved at this point as well. The credential is released when the robotic process execution ends. If your use case requires you to release the credential before the end of the process, you can use custom code to release a credential earlier in the robotic process, rather than at the end.
Add another action directly after this one to populate the password:
When you're finished, click SAVE CHANGES in the toolbar.
You can use a robotic process to retrieve documents from a legacy system and send them to Appian. Automating this process can be especially helpful if you're dealing with a large volume of files, or if you want to use Appian's document extraction suite to process the information they contain.
First, create a robotic process and configure it to retrieve the files from another system. In this example, the robotic process downloads PDFs from a web portal:
After the robotic process completes this action, the file should be downloaded on the resource. Take note of where the downloads are saved; you'll use this path in the next action.
Next, configure the Upload Document action in the workflow:
Continue building and configuring other components of your workflow. When the robotic process executes, it will download the file to the resource and then send them to Appian.
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.
To add a conditional action:
If your conditional action is more complex than just
no values, considering using the Evaluate expression method from the Appian Services module to create an
Nowflows to indicate which actions should execute depending on the condition.
You may want to configure actions to occur before or after the robotic process's main workflow executes. Before an execution, you may want to prepare the resource by opening and logging into an application. Similarly, when your robotic process completes, it should reset the resource to its original state.
Appian RPA includes default Setup and Clean up sections in the workflow where you can configure these actions, such as closing any open applications or terminating any background processes.
You don't need to add the setup or clean up section to the main workflow because these actions are important to ensuring a stable and predictable resource. Appian RPA calls these sections automatically during a robotic process execution.
To configure setup or clean up actions:
Now that you've created the robotic process, you can integrate it with a new or existing process model in Appian. This way, you can choose how and when the robotic process starts in the context of a broader business process. Although there are multiple ways to execute a robotic process, this section will focus on how to use the Execute robotic process smart service in a process model.
Next, create the connected system to establish a connection with Appian RPA.
The Execute Robotic Process integration can be called from the smart service in the process model. Configure the integration after you create the connected system object:
Now that you've set up the connection to Appian RPA, it's time to put it to use:
variablesas an output. If a robotic process variable is a CDT, you can reference a specific field using dot notation.
Finally, you'll want to consider how to display or use the results of the robotic process. How you display the results is determined by your goal. If you're sharing a set of this information with others, an Appian record in your application could be a good option. Alternatively, if you're looking to troubleshoot or optimize your robotic process (notably in the development phases), you might want to take a look at the Execution Details in the Appian RPA console.
This section describes both approaches. Learn how to create a record type and populate it with details from a CDT, and how to create a record-powered grid.
Appian records aggregate and display your data to provide users with information they need, whether to act or be informed. When a robotic process execution concludes and sends information back to Appian, it's time to use it in your application.
See Create a record to learn how to display robotic process results alongside your other Appian data.
Sometimes it's more helpful to view all information about a robotic process, including metadata about the execution. All of these details are available in the Appian RPA console.
To view execution details:
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