Objective: As you come to understand the capabilities of robotic process automation and using bots to automate redundant, rule-based tasks, it’s important to also understand the capabilities available out-of-box to bot developers. In this learning experience, we’ll highlight the interface and some of the capabilities of the Bot Editor and establish a pattern for learning about how to better understand the use of the available packages.
To progress in the use of any application requires an understanding of its capabilities as well as information related to their appropriate application. For bot building, that means diving head first into the capabilities of the Bot Editor. Through the Bot Editor, developers can create, test, and review bot builds. As a bot builder, it’s important you’re familiar with the Bot Editor interface so that you know what packages are available and a general idea of the actions they contain, how to create and modify variables, and how to test (and debug) your bot as you progress towards its completion.
Learn the Basics of the Bot Editor
The Bot Editor is where all bots are built. Take a deeper dive into the Bot Editor by going through the Bot Editor for Creating Bots page. Additionally, make sure to review the following subtopics linked from that same page:
Bots Leverage Variables to Store, Manipulate, and Make Use of Data
Variables are another important part of a bot build. Variables are essentially containers for storing data the bot uses during its processing. While there is a dedicated learning experience to defining variables and some best practices with their naming, take a look at this brief overview of Variables in Automation 360.
Try out the following tutorial on creating a variable in a bot using the Bot Editor.
Packages form the toolset for developers to build
A package is a collection of actions. Each action is a command that developers can use to build their automations. There are a ton of packages which are included out-of-box with Automation 360 as well as additional packages available in Bot Store.
Take a look at the documentation available for the out-of-box Automation 360 packages.
Note: While it may seem a bit monotonous to keep going back to documentation, there’s a method behind the madness: Developers know that when they are learning to use a new tool, integrate with a new library, or call a new API, the way to most quickly resolve any doubts they have about that application is by referencing its documentation. The same goes for learning to build bots. If you see a package that sounds interesting, but aren’t sure how its actions work, or in what order they should be applied, get in the habit of going back to the documentation find the answers you need.
Take the following example: My bot has a number value, but that value needs to turned into a string value so I can use it as a part of an email. Take a look at the following questions and try to answer them by referencing the documentation available for different packages.
What packages might I need to perform such an operation?
What specific actions would I need to use, and it what order, to validate that my number to string transformation had taken place?
The Bot Editor should be a place that developers feel the comfortable using as they build and test automations. If you wouldn’t say the interface and its capabilities all feel like second nature to you right now, that’s totally fine. The purpose of this learning experience was to introduce you to some of the capabilities of the Bot Editor and demonstrate the pattern that developers follow in referring to documentation when something is unclear to them. As you continue to build bots and take on more challenging automation opportunities, you should find that the Bot Editor interface starts to feel more and more like second nature in supporting your bot builds.