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Custom Code Development
The capabilities described on this page are included in Appian's standard capability tier. Usage limits may apply.

Robotic tasks are highly customized to suit your business's key use cases. Developers play an essential role in creating, configuring, and deploying robotic tasks in Appian RPA. This page describes the steps to set up your local development environment so all components are communicating properly for efficient development.

Prerequisite skills

Appian RPA's robotic tasks are written in Java, so you need some knowledge of general programming and Java to develop robotic tasks. We also recommend that you're familiar with the technologies and techniques most frequently used in Java programming. To manage your Java code, it's recommended to use a version control system like Git.

It is also highly recommended that you have some experience working in an integrated development environment (IDE) like Eclipse or IntelliJ or, at least, a code editor. To package and deploy robotic tasks, you need some knowledge of Maven commands.

Appian RPA Overview

Familiarize yourself with Appian RPA's architecture to understand how components integrate and communicate with each other. To get the most out of this page, we recommend you have some knowledge of Appian RPA terms and concepts.

Each robotic task runs under the strictest security protocols, using encrypted communications (SSL) and protecting resources by using profiles and permissions.

rpa-comms-diagram.png

The following diagram shows how a developer fits into the Appian RPA ecosystem to develop and manage robotic tasks.

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A developer uses the Appian RPA console to configure robotic tasks and monitor the results. To execute a robotic task, the developer may also need to set up robots. To establish communication with the console, a host machine must have an agent installed and running on it. Each of these components is essential in setting up your development environment to test your robotic tasks.

Learn more about the Appian RPA Console.

Learn more about how to setup and use robots.

Learn more about how to setup and use an agent.

Development environment

Appian recommends the following development environment for creating robotic tasks:

To properly deploy code and test robotic tasks, you'll also need to access the repository and identify robots.

Code repository

Appian RPA uses Maven to store robotic task artifacts. As you develop robotic task code, you'll deploy your changes to the central repository.

The repository is an essential component because the necessary dependencies to develop and operate your robotic tasks are stored here. You will deploy your robotic task in this repository when it's finished, making it available for the console and enabling it to be managed or sent to the agent to run on the robot.

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.

RPA development machine

In Appian RPA, you deploy, configure, and execute robotic tasks on one or several robots, which is made up of a host machine and an agent. A host machine is a physical or virtual machine where robots run robotic tasks. As you set up your development environment, it can be helpful for you to also identify the environments where you'll develop, test, and ultimately deploy your robotic tasks.

Although you could use the same machine to develop and execute robotic tasks, it is recommended that the host machine where the robotic task code is written is different from the host machine that the robotic task runs on. The robotic task interacts with the keyboard, mouse, and clipboard in the same way as a human user would, making it more difficult to debug the robotic task if it runs on the development environment. Having a separate robot for testing executions allows you to observe the execution and debug from your development environment more easily.

Appian RPA is compatible with the main virtualization systems, such as Citrix, VMware or VirtualBox.

Check your environment

Before you get started, check that your environment is set up appropriately. Below, we'll check the Java JDK version, as well as the Maven version and its integration in Eclipse.

Java JDK

As already noted, regardless of what operating system runs in the machine in which your robots will execute, any environment with Java version 1.8 or higher installed will be enough for you to develop your robotic tasks.

  1. Open the terminal.
  2. Enter the command javac -version.
  3. If your Java JDK version meets the requirements (version 1.8 or higher), you're good to go. If your version isn't correct, refer to the Configurator topic to learn how to fix it.

You might find that javac is not available in the Path system's environment variable. In such case, you should use the command java --version instead, provided you have a JDK installed. Alternatively, you can navigate to the JDK installation folder and locate the javac executable file.

Maven

To check your Maven version, enter the command mvn --version.

This command shows information about the Maven version and what Java version you have installed, and their paths, as well as other information about the operating system.

Eclipse

Verify that Eclipse is properly integrated and set up with Java and Maven:

  1. In Eclipse, click Window > Preferences.
  2. Find the Java item and check the Compiler subsection. You should see in Compiler compliance level that 1.8 is selected.
  3. Click Installed JREs and check that the Java 8 JDK is set up.

Now let's check the Maven integration in Eclipse:

  1. In the Preferences window, click Maven.
  2. Go to the Installations section to check that Maven 3 is selected and configured.

It is important that the proper version (3.0 or higher) and the proper installation folder of Maven are set up. In the example above, the installation folder is /usr/share/maven.

Get developing!

With your environment set up and configured, you're ready to get started developing robotic tasks in Appian RPA.

Open in Github Built: Fri, Feb 23, 2024 (09:13:50 PM)

Custom Code Development

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