UiPath Studio first impressions

It is 1am basically Monday morning. I have just gone through the first section of the course and started on the next one. I was probably so excited that I couldn’t sleep and all I can think of is learning as much as I can about this software.

There is no time limit on the end of chapter exam and unlimited attempts though I read that after 3 attempts you would have to wait 24 hours to give students time to review the material. I failed on my first attempt and had to retake. I realized that the questions on the first sections were mostly taken from the following section which you won’t have access until you pass the exam. The search function on the academy’s website became my friend.

For a few hours I get to play around with the GUI, I can’t help but reminisce my university days doing programming using Visual Basic 5.0. The look and feel is pretty much the same. Everything is drag & drop with properties windows. Hence it feels home to me.

  1. Ribbon – this is basically your menu bar set in tabs. It has 4 tabs namely Start: To start a new project, Design: basic menu like new, save, run. menu where you’ll do the recording, data and screen scrapping and user events etc basically the whole meat of this application, Execute: running and debugging your workflow and Setup which is like properties in your apps and where you can find the web browser extensions.
  2. Activities – where it lists the objects for your workflow, e.g. dialog box, conditional statement box, message box etc.
  3. Workflow – this is where you place your objects dragged from the activities section such as flow charts, sequences, dialog box etc.
  4. Variables – displays all the variables that is being used inside the flowchart or sequence.
  5. Properties – displays the property option for an object in your workflow.
  6. Outline – gives you an overview of your workflow and objects under each flowchart or sequence.

Starting the automation path with UI-Path

If you have been following my blog, I have posted blogs on automation. Well…a way I can automate some of my tasks like configure a router by entering all the necessary info like IP, hostnames, routing protocols etc. Figuring out a way where I can also test to validate everything is working. I have been playing with python, netmiko, napalm etc. which requires a combination of programming, networking, linux skill sets.

Then at work I stumbled upon RPA, Robotic Process Application. Read a few Gartner articles and watched a few youtube videos on the topic and it just blew my mind away with the use cases that I can apply with work. The challenge though how can I get my hands into these robots. But before I got any futher I won’t assume you my read would have an idea what am I talking about.

So what is RPA?

Put it simply it is a software that follows a set of sequence, based on a given information, will process them accordingly to produce a desired output. To put it practically, let us say you want this robot to check your email for any request for a particular task, this task requires data to be entered to another software let us say maybe Salesforce, once it is processed, respond back to the sender to confirm that it has been done.

If you are imagining an actual robot with robotic arms and hands typing away from my keyboard and clicking the mouse away, it is not exactly that. Imagine those piano’s you see in the middle of the mall that would play itself. There is no actual robot sitting in front of it to play the piano but something was installed inside of the piano to trigger each key to be pushed to play a sound.

RPA is perfect for any repetitive tasks with accuracy as you remove the possibility of human error, reliability, speed and scalability. You can use RPA either to work side by side with humans to augment with their daily tasks or have them fully self-driven.

It is projected that the RPA market can reach up to $5 billion by 2024.

Getting some hands-on

Yes, here I am again about to get distracted with something shiny. Despite I know I should be focusing my attention to my CCIE RS Lab (2nd attempt). RPA has grabbed my attention. It is definitely not a cheap product or anything that you can just grab out of Best Buy (US) or JB HiFi (Aus).

There are many RPA vendors out there namely Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Workfusion but the one that got my interest is UiPath. Aside from having a community edition that has a lifetime license. They have an open academy which you can go through and get certified upon finishing and passing the test.

The academy contains 172 sections of content including all quiz and final exam.

In saying this for the next couple of days, I will be blogging what I have learned and the whole experience of it.