Bots building bots

At RoboRana we are convinced of the value RPA technology can bring. We see daily how organisations are transformed. Initial key drivers are their increased efficiency, cost savings and improved quality of work. But continuous improvement is a contagious mindset. It has a rippling effect throughout the organisation, beyond just the initial automated processes.

RoboRana is no exception, we practice what we preach, constantly evaluating our modus operandi and improving where possible. Maybe even using RPA technology to help in robot development, i.e. bots building bots. Fascinated by this idea, our Sr. Solution Architect Wim Van de Velde, built a Blue Prism robot that tremendously speeds up development time.

Layered design

One identified process was the initialization of components during the modelling of an application. We implement separation of concerns in an RPA project by layered design. There is no fixed number of layers. But standard examples of separate layers are: process logic layer, object layer (representing functionalities of an application) and component layer (consisting out of text fields, buttons, etc.). This is reflected in Blue Prism’s recommendation of using multi-object designs. For example, Login is an object used in multiple processes, and it consists out of several components such as a text fields for username and password.

How it works

The Object Design Instruction (ODI) contains a list per application of all its objects and their components. It can be a simple Excel document. This is the starting point for the bot. An example is listed below (Fig. 1). Component creation follows several action templates, ensuring a robust and consistent design.

Fig. 1: Object Design Instructions (ODI) Excel document

This automation step speeds up development time, ensures correct error handling and consistency. It provides a solid foundation on which the developer can continue building. The component contains several checks, waits and error handling in case of mishaps, ensuring a robust component.

Note: This article features the Blue Prism implementation. But UiPath templates for the generation of components were written as well.

No time spent on tedious tasks, but a fast and reliable foundation for building a new application model. RPA can assist in so many different fields, even in RPA development itself. Eliminating repetitive tasks, cutting down development time and making sure developers and engineers can focus on creative and robust solutions.