The newest Automation 360 updates hit the Automation Anywhere Community Edition last week by way of the .22 release. While the release itself has tons of killer features for both Community Edition and Enterprise users, we wanted to highlight some of the newest features that are now available in the Automation Anywhere Community Edition.
Global Sessions are now available in the DLL package, the Excel Advanced package, and the Terminal Emulator Package. Global sessions enable developers to share sessions across multiple tasks/subtasks without having to close/re-open sessions and files. This also means that developers can build subtasks with maximum re-usability in mind as subtasks can easily be used across multiple bots – even in situations where sessions would have previously prohibited such reusability. To try out these new Global Sessions, use the Excel Advanced: Open action to start a new Excel Advanced session. At the bottom of the action configuration, you should see the Create Excel Session field, which now enables you to set a Local Session, Global Session, or a Session from a Session Variable.
Select a Global Session and be sure to reference the same Global Session name in any child bots (subtasks) to ensure sessions are passed from one bot to another. The use of the Session Variable can extend this functionality even further by mapping in a Session Variable to a subtask with a Session Variable marked as input.
Object Does Not Exist Conditional Statements
Most all bots that automate some type of user interface go through a number of screens/interfaces as they process along. Example: Login to web app A, do a search for a user, validate that results show up, select the top result, begin transaction…etc. As a bot builder, it's extremely important that the bot is able to understand the context of the page/application screen that its currently on vs the page/application screen that its expecting. Conditional statements designed around the presence (or lack) of Objects is a great way to build this “awareness” into bots. The .22 release introduces the ability to determine that an Object Does not exist as a part of a conditional statement. This provides a great way to validate that a button/window has disappeared or that an object is no longer present on the page – which may signify that the bot is now able to move forward after a page load event. Check out the Object Does Not Exist conditional statement in the If package as well as in the Loop: While action.
Extended Excel Advanced Package File Compatibility
The Excel Advanced package provides a TON of capabilities for working with XLSX and XLS files. Those capabilities just got extended as the Excel Advanced package now has support for XML Files, .txt files, protected XLSX files, and Excel files with Macros. To explore how to work with some of these new file types in the Excel Advanced package, use the Excel Advanced: Open action to open these new file types and establish a session to be used with subsequent actions.
Dictionary: Put Update
Oddly this is one of my favorite updates in the bunch. Dictionaries store key-value pairs in Automation 360, and are a great way to pass lots of values back and forth between. That said, up through the .21 release, you could only associate an existing variable with a key – which became a bit limiting when you wanted to assign a value from a list or a single-value from another dictionary to the value of a new dictionary.
Now, developers have the ability to continue to map variable to value (like was done in the Old Way pictured above) – but developers additionally can select to map a Static Value – which enables hard coding a value or inserting any variable supported by your Dictionary. Using this Static Value approach, you can now map values from a list, dictionary, or do on the fly value conversion like a Number Value to String.
Search Within Bot Editor
Search within the Bot Editor is finally here! This could kind of be done previously just using the search functionality of the Google Chrome web browser – but the .22 release includes a real built in search capability. Search makes it much easier to find specific areas where a variable may be used or a specific action was applied.
Using the search is thankfully super easy as well. You can either click the newly-added search icon at the top of the Bot Editor, or press CTRL+F. A search window will appear and you can start typing in your search criteria. Pressing the arrow keys on the UI will highlight each action/reference of the matched search. The “focus” of the Bot Editor screen will go directly to the match – so this is a helpful technique in finding actions within a much larger bot.
The .22 release includes some great new features and fixes. Some – like those highlighted in this article – are available now for users in Community Edition. All of these features as well as other new features (like those requiring Admin access to an environment and Bot Runners) will be available (and covered here on the dev portal) when the .22 release is made available for Automation 360 cloud sandbox environments and for Automation 360 on-prem users to install. While we covered Micah’s top 5 picks, a full list of new features is available in the Automation 360 v.22 Community Edition Release Notes.