Execution Actions
This content applies solely to Appian RPA, which must be purchased separately from the Appian base platform.

Execution actions allow you to control steps a robotic process must take to successfully start, execute, and complete on a resource. These default steps often require communication with the Appian RPA server. The Execution actions enable a robotic process's communication with the server, whether to retrieve information or send it to help a developer understand what's happening and when.

This page describes how to integrate Execution actions into your robotic process, which provide an easier and more robust development experience.

If you need to extend Appian RPA capabilities, you can use Java to create workflow libraries for robotic processes.

Using Execution actions

Execution actions are helpful throughout a robotic process execution. As an execution completes, a robotic process may have to send resulting files to the server. These actions are often used in the robotic process's clean up workflow to help reset the resource. Use the communication actions to send messages to the execution log throughout the robotic process, which may be helpful for debugging.

While these actions can be called using actions in the Java code, using the actions from the robotic process workflow is both easier and more robust. When you build the robotic process workflow, you'll see the following actions available in the Actions Palette:

  • Add file to robot result: Adds a file to cleanup process to be returned as a result.
  • Is robot available?: Checks if the specified robot can run now attending to restriction configuration exclusively.
  • Log: Prints a message in the execution log.
  • Pause: Robot pauses for the specified time.
  • Send screenshot: Sends a screenshot to the server.
  • Set pause duration: Sets the length of time (in milliseconds) to pause after certain actions.

Add file to robot result

This action lets you add the file to the clean up process and returns it as a result in the Appian RPA console.

You can configure CONFIGURATION and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • File: Add the file using the absolute path of the file. This field accepts variables of type text. Enter a path using plain text, a robotic process variable, or an expression.

To access the file after the robotic process finishes execution, go to the Appian RPA console. The files appear in the OUTPUTS column on the List of executions page, where you can download them.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.

Is robot available?

Users can configure robots to run at certain days and times. The Is robot available? action is useful if the robot works with an application that is only available on certain days and times. You can use this action during execution to check if the current robot can still run. This action has no configuration parameters because it simply checks to see if the current robot can continue to run.

You can configure OUTPUTS and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Output

This action returns a Boolean. If the robotic process is available, it returns true. The result is false if the robotic process isn't available.

In the OUTPUTS area of the action pane, configure the following parameters to store this result:

  • Operator: Select an option to store the result as a single-value variable (is stored as) or add the result as a multiple-value variable (is appended to).
  • Target: Enter the name of the robotic process variable where you want to store or append the result. If your process variable is type CDT, you can specify which field of a CDT to store the result into using dot notation.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.

Execute robotic subprocess

The Execute robotic subprocess action lets you configure and launch a robotic subprocess from within another process. It specifies which robotic subprocess to call and indicates the data to be passed in and out of the subprocess. To learn more, see Robotic Subprocesses.

You can configure CONFIGURATION and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Robotic process: Select the robotic process to initiate.
  • Input Variables: Specify parameters for the robotic subprocess to use when it begins.
  • Output Variables: Specify variables to pass the data back to the parent robotic process when the subprocess completes.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.

Log

A robotic process may need to send a message to the server as part of its clean up workflow. Although this is a common clean up action, you can use these actions at any time in the robotic process. The type of message you send depends on the type of event. For example, you may want to build logic into your robotic process to send an ERROR message when a particular action isn't completed successfully, but not send a message when it proceeds as expected.

You can configure CONFIGURATION and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Message: Enter a message to send to the console's execution log. This field accepts variables of type text. Enter a message using plain text, a robotic process variable, or an expression. This field is required.
  • Level: Choose the message type to appear in the execution log:
    • TRACE: Send a TRACE message to the execution log.
    • DEBUG: Send a DEBUG message to the execution log.
    • INFO: Send an INFO message to the execution log.
    • WARN: Send a WARN message to the execution log.
    • ERROR: Send an ERROR message to the execution log.
    • FATAL: Send a FATAL message to the execution log.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.

Example: Sending messages

To send a message to the execution log:

  1. In the Appian RPA console, go to the Robotic Processes tab.
  2. Open a robotic process configuration.
  3. Click and hold the LOG action in the Actions Palette.
  4. Drag and drop it to the section or action group where you want to add the action.
  5. In the Message field of the ACTION CONFIGURATION area, type the message you want to send the execution log. You can also use the expression editor to configure how the message is populated. To build a conditional message, use an if() statement in the expression. Note that the expression changes the message content, not the message type.
  6. Select the message Level: TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, or FATAL.
  7. Configure AFTER COMPLETION parameters.
  8. Click SAVE CHANGES.

To send a different type of message (INFO vs. ERROR, for example) based on a condition in your robotic process, integrate a conditional action into the workflow:

  1. Click and hold the IS EXPRESSION TRUE? action in the Actions Palette.
  2. Drag and drop it to the section or action group where you want to add the action.
  3. In the CONFIGURATION field of the ACTION CONFIGURATION area, type an expression for the condition. In this example, the expression simply evaluates if a robotic process variable exists. If it is null, we want to send an error message to the console:

    1
    2
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     if(isnull(pv!stockPrice),
     true,
     false)
    
  4. Add a LOG action to the Yes flow.
  5. Enter an error message into the Message field.
  6. Select ERROR from the LEVEL field.
  7. Click SAVE CHANGES.

Pause

This action adds a pause in the robotic process execution. A pause can be useful between two actions if the resource needs time to load before further action. For example, if a large report takes a few extra seconds to load, you can use the Pause action to ask the robotic process to wait before proceeding to the next action in the workflow.

You can configure CONFIGURATION and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Use default time: Use the default time to pause. This value is specified in the Set pause duration action.
  • Enter time: Enter a custom time to pause, in milliseconds. This field accepts variables of type text. Enter a path using plain text, a robotic process variable, or an expression.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.

Reserve credential

This action reserves a credential entry to ensure the robotic process has access to that credential during runtime and can pass it to a robotic subprocess.

See Robotic Subprocesses for guidance on how to use the reserved credential in a robotic subprocess.

You can configure CONFIGURATION, OUTPUTS, and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Selection method: Choose whether to use any available credential, or a specific credential entry. Additional options appear based on your selection:
    • Any available credential: When selected, a Select application dropdown menu appears for you to select the application to use. The robotic process uses any available credential for the selected application.
    • Specific credential: When selected, a Select credential dropdown menu appears for you to select a credential entry to use.

Output

Note that this action uses the Credential data type, which is unique to RPA and can't be used in expressions, casting, or referenced as a parameter in an Appian process model.

Save the reserved credential to a variable so you can reference it in a robotic subprocess.

In the OUTPUTS area of the action pane, configure the following parameters to store this result:

  • Operator: Select an option to store the result as a single-value variable (is stored as) or add the result as a multiple-value variable (is appended to).
  • Target: Enter the name of the robotic process variable where you want to store or append the result. If your process variable is type CDT, you can specify which field of a CDT to store the result into using dot notation.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.

Send screenshot

This action sends a screenshot of the resource to the console. The screenshot is taken immediately when this action begins, and you can add an optional description to include with it.

You can configure CONFIGURATION and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Description: Add an optional description of the screenshot to send to the console. This field accepts variables of type text. Enter a path using plain text, a robotic process variable, or an expression.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.

Set pause duration

The Set pause duration action allows you to set a variety of pauses in a workflow.

You can configure CONFIGURATION and AFTER COMPLETION parameters for this action.

Configuration

In the CONFIGURATION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Type: Select the following pause types:
    • Character pause: Sets the length of time to pause in milliseconds after each character is typed.
    • Default pause: Sets the default length of time to pause in milliseconds when calling the pause() action.
  • Duration (ms): For the selected pause type, enter the length of time to pause, in milliseconds. This field accepts variables of type text. Enter a path using plain text, a robotic process variable, or an expression.

After completion

In the AFTER COMPLETION area of the action pane, configure the following parameters:

  • Wait before executing next action: Enter the number of seconds the robotic process waits before it continues to the next action in the workflow.
  • Take a screenshot: If you select this option, the robotic process takes a screenshot of the resource immediately after the action completes successfully.
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