UiPath is a Windows desktop Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Software designed to empower business analysts to automate business processes within their companies. Any repetitive task a user performs on his computer, including data entry, legacy application integration, data or content migration, screen scraping and testing can be automated with UiPath.
For large companies, BPOs and shared services that use large scale, high-volume human labor, the RPA technology adds impetus to business innovation and profitability. It enables organizations to configure software robots that automate manual, repetitive rules-based tasks at a fraction of the cost of their human equivalent, and integrate without disruption the legacy system.
UiPath robots are easy to train and they “see” the interface like a human. They can act as automated assistants and are designed to collaborate with humans while permanently reporting on progress.
The automation software, UiPath Studio (now at version 8) has two parts:
- The process designer, where the software robot is built
- The execution part, in which the robot is put to work and executes the automation
The process designer is a drag & drop, visual process modeling tool, easy to learn and easy to use without programming knowledge. It is powered by a flow-chart interface and using it to build the software robot is just like putting together the pieces of an algorithm. Check for yourself if you understand what this robot is supposed to do:
Each of the building “blocks” and sub-blocks of a flowchart is an object or “action” and there are hundreds of pre-defined actions that you can choose from and customize for your specific processes. If you’re a skilled software developer there’s no limit of what you can create within the designer, as the tool works with the full featured library of .Net or COM.
UI Automation means to be able to understand and use the UI elements just like a human would. To reach this goal the technology needs to have three main components: screen scraping, web scraping and user activities and events.
The most beautiful part of the UiPath solution is the possibility to use the “Recorder” for each of these components. The “recorder” is the equivalent of teaching the robot what actions to perform by hitting the REC button and performing an instance of those very actions. During recording, UiPath Studio goes on and translates each of the recorded events into flow-chart actions.
Screen Scraping with UiPath
Screen scraping is at the core of UiPath sollution. UiPath has pioneered the screen scraping of running desktop apps with 100% accuracy in under 16 milliseconds. Prior to UiPath, screen scraping was a synonym for slow, fragile, inaccurate OCR on the display, and had a low rate of accuracy.
The scraping solution is able to recognize and identify the UI elements like a user. You just have to hover your mouse on different UI elements and UiPath will highlight and zoom in on them so you can be sure you make the right selection. When you select a certain element you want to scrape, the designer automatically generates the actions in the flow-chart algorithm. Each of these activities can be labeled and screenshots from the targeted windows are automatically added to facilitate “reading” the flow-chart and understanding what is done in each step.
The technology behind UiPath screen scraping senses the UI controls like a human instead of blindly using fixed screen coordinates. It extracts text from running apps, even if they are hidden or covered by another app. It works with Java, .Net, Flash, PDF, Browsers, Legacy, Citrix, SAP, Siebel and other applications with 100% accuracy.
Since 2004, the UiPath Screen Scraping solution has been used by more than 1000 companies for document management and imaging, enterprise application integration, content migration, desktop analytics, business IT process automation, application integration, legacy modernization solutions, mobile enablement of desktop apps, and medical record scraping.
Web Scraping with UiPath
UiPath goes beyond simple web-scraping techniques. It can automatically log in to a web site, extract data spanning multiple web pages, filter and transform it into the format of your choice, before integrating it into another application or web service. UiPath resembles a real browser with a real user, so it can extract data that most automation tools cannot even see. For better acquaintance please watch the video:
User Activities and User Events with UiPath
There are 2 main ways to create robotic process algorithms in UiPath, either with the “Recorder” or by drag-and-drop individual activities in the flow-chart.
Anything that a human user is able to do with the mouse and keyboard has been coded into activities, and more. Beside the usual navigation and browsing activities there are logical activities, system activities, programming activities and app integration activities that work with Excel, CSV, PDF, Databases, and Email. There are literally hundreds of individual activities that help to automate even the most complex tasks.
User events are for robots and humans working together. The application waits for a certain action done by an employer. When it happens the robot steps in and does its own functions. This can be done simultaneously without interfering with the employer work who can continue his part of the job. For example the robot can wait for the user to click a certain button. When the user clicks, the robot can scrape the data, perform calculations on it and send the result back to the human user.
UiPath Studio is a professional solution full featured IDE where you can visually design automations with a drag and drop editor. Hundreds of predefined automation blocks are available, web scraping being one of them.
The Recorder let’s you capture the steps of a manual task. During recording your actions on the screen are observed and translated into logical steps in a workflow. The Screen Scraper Wizard and the Web Scraping Wizard will allow you to get the data out of any application.