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No-Code with SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 Part I

SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 is an updated product version offering simple-to-use bot building capabilities following the Low-Code/No-Code approach creating the path to Hyperautomation.

With SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0, expert developers, citizen developers and business process experts can build bots to augment and automate human tasks across LoBs to save time, costs and reduce human errors in business operations.

There has been a series of blog posts on “Low Code – No code” with SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0which you can find here and I recommend particularly the latest one here for more context.

First, with Low-Code, developers can build, version, deploy and run their enterprise-class application bots, with little Java Script hand-coding knowledge 

On the No-Code corner, business users can build bots without having to write a line of code, just by dragging and dropping elements in the automation canvas. Business users use an intuitive interface with guided navigations and a simple workflow design to become citizen developers. To help them, I will explain in this blog post some very simple key concepts. 

Before jumping to new SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 No-Code  features, a quick reminder that the SAP Intelligent RPA Cloud Studio is the web application used to design bots to automate your applications. It is already available in your SAP Intelligent RPA 1.0 (Cloud Studio documentationSAP Intelligent RPA Trial), and it will be complemented with the features in this blog. At the time I am writing the post, to participate in the SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 BETA program, please read the last paragraph of this blog where Andreas explains what to do. Note that when SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 will be released, the 2.0 features will automatically appear in your SAP Intelligent RPA Trial tenant without you having to do anything other than update your agent to the latest version to run the new 2.0 features.

I will start the SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 No-Code  presentation explaining automation and how you can create one from inside a Cloud Studio project. An automation contains a series of computational steps to be carried out. An automation, as you can see in video below , has: 

  • Name, 
  • an Identifier automatically setup that could be used in advanced scenario by developers to callback the automation,  
  • Description, 
  • a Triggerable property set to ON to enable the trigger (schedule, attended…) of the automation in Factory or OFF to limit the automation to get called only through another automation, 
  • and minimal version of the agent to help manage your agent deployment version (here it uses my local machine agent). 

 

 

The automation designer tool delimits the part of the program that makes up the automation. Users compose this succession of steps inside the automation designer. An automation is a sequence of steps in the form of activity, application, data, or controls to perform a specific task. An automation can orchestrate multiple activities on different applications and screens that are available on a specific computer as well as other automations. As you can see too in the video belownotice also each step could be renamed so your colleagues will better understand the flow of the automation with this documentation.

 

 

Input parameters are used to pass data as input of the automation. They are named variablestoring the values with which the automation is going to be called.  Say differently, an input parameter acts within the automation as a new local variable initialized by value* with the data passedIn general, an automation may be defined with any number of input parameters, or no input parameters at all. Note also that input parameters are strongly typed, which means that each parameter’s type must be specified while they created. Here again the User Interface drive you to do the correct thing. 

Aexample in the video below shows automation input parameters for passing first name, last name values as string and is masculine gender value as Boolean. 

A variable is a data storage that has a name, a type (e.g. string, list of string or data type) and a value. A variable in the automation is also linked with a  step represented by its number. For example in the video below, Input Parameters are variables represented with a 0 as this is step number 0. In the same video, we will rename the output variable of the step 1 (aka. “Set full name”), to FullNameVariable. This way you can document the meaning of the variable to make it more understandable. 

Here again the User Interface helps you by showing the step version next to the name each time you want to use those variables. 

While variables can be a constant, you can also use the power of the Formula Editor to build an expression formula that returns a computation. The video below shows you how to use the formula editor to concatenate the first name and the last name to create the full name. 

Controls allow you to add steps such as conditions, loops, and scripts to your automation. Conditions allow a sequence of steps to be executed only if some conditions are met. Otherwise, the steps are skipped, and the execution sequence continues from the steps next to them.

The video below shows you how to use the condition IsMasculineGender to concatenate “Mr.” or “Ms.” To the full name. 

An output parameter, also known as return parameter, is an automation parameter used to output value to the automation that will call it. It is evaluated at the end of the called automation, therefore you set its value in the automation’s end node, and value is returned to the calling program. Like input parameters, you define automation output parameter name and type in the I/O tab of the automation. An automation may be defined with only one output parameter, or no output parameters at all. 

As we explained above, an automation leverages several steps that could be in the form of activity, application, data or controls to perform a specific task. 

Activities are used to build parts of the workflow of your automation. These activities are coming from the SDK package added in the dependencies of your project. The Core SDK package containing the most frequent activities used in RPA is added by default. 

When a user tests, also called debugs, an automation, this one is compiled in the background into JavaScript, then, its package is deployed to a Desktop Agent. Lastly, the automation’s JavaScript code is executed by the Desktop Agent. This is a similar flow that happens when a user deploys his projects using triggers for example.  

You can notice in the video below that user selects his environment with his agent definition created in factory and then enters the automation’s input parameters such as FirstName string, LastName string and IsMasculineGender Boolean. 

 

hope you enjoy this blog post on the No-Code development basis concept with SAP Intelligent RPANext time we can discuss other No Code features like Excel management, looping on a list and modularity by using automation in automation. 

 

/Alexis – SAP Intelligent RPA Engineering Lead 

 

“by value”  Similar to JavaScriptthe caller automation pass by value input parameters are passed to called automation/activities. This means that when an input parameter is a simple type, like a string or a numberwhen returned into caller automation, the parameter value stays unchanged with the value it had before calling the automation/activities and this even if it has been changed inside those called automation/activities. This is shown in the video below. 

Now, when the input parameter is a list or a data type, it is passed to an automation/activity, when returned into caller automation, the values in the list or in the data type properties will change if they have been changed inside the called automation/activity. The nuance with list and data type is that this is the object of the list or of the data type that are passed by value, meaning that if the called automation/activities  replace the object of the list or of the data typethose will stay unchanged with the value they had before calling the automation/activities. You can see this in the video below. 

While I explain the “by value” in detail, please understand that automation design will hide this complexity so you can perform the correct action directly.

 

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17 Comments
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  • Sorry, I'm confused... It seems like this blog requires some prerequisite knowledge but the link under "here" simply opens a blog roll for RPA tag, not a specific blog that one would need to read first.

    It starts with "You can create an automation from a Cloud Studio project" but what is this "Cloud Studio" and how would I create that project? The next steps seem to be described but I'm unable to follow them. It's like a treasure map with a missing piece.

    It'd be nice to include a link for more information on this "Cloud Studio project". For example, if I was writing about doing something in an ABAP trial system, I would've started with a link to instructions on how to get access to such system.

    Thank you!

    • Hello Jelena,

      The blog post link you mentioned refers to the SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 blog post that is the new version of SAP Intelligent RPA. For more info on 2.0, you can certainly go to those blog posts first. My blog post enters into the details of how a user can create automation without any coding in SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0. This is a big difference from SAP Intelligent RPA 1.0 this is why I emphasize it.

      At the end of my blog you should have all the resources like Webinars, OpenSAP, Trials and more where you will get info on both SAP Intelligent RPA 1.0 and SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0.

      Regarding ABAP and SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0, I recommend the video embedded in this blog post.

      Also I copied here the SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 BETA documentation so you can review most current 2.0 features. Note that SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 is currently in Beta right now as explained in previous blog posts.

      Sorry if I wasn’t clear on prerequisites, if you still need more insights, don't hesitate to ping me here, but I am on Twitter too @AlexisNaibo.

      All the best/Alexis

      • Thank you for a reply but it seems my comment was not understood. I still have no clue what "Cloud Studio" is. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I googled it but all I'm getting are sponsored sites and just one link to the Cloud Studio User Guide document from SAP, which doesn't actually make it clear. Is this like an IDE? Is this included with S/4HANA? Something to do with SCP? Separate product / license? Is there a trial available?

        The link I mentioned is not for a blog post, it's just a generic list of ALL the blogs posted in RPA tag. This is what the link looks like: https://blogs.sap.com/tag/sap-intelligent-rpa-2.0/ Here, the "tag" part means that this is a list of blogs for the tag "sap-intelligent-rpa-2.0". That's all there is, a list of all and any blogs that are assigned that tag. Anyone can simply click on the tag name in the top right corner of the post and get the same thing. Judging by the blog text and reply, you might have meant to link to a specific blog post, so I'm just repeating it's not where the link goes to.

        Anyways, a more productive response would be something like this: "Dear Jelena, thanks for the comment. Cloud Studio mentioned in this blog is SAP Intelligent RPA Cloud Studio. It is <brief explanation> and more information about it can be found <link to a specific Help article / blog / whatever>".

        I hope it's not too much to ask.

  • Is it possible to get a trial version of SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 trial? The link took me to support.sap.com where I was unable to see the desktop sdk file.

  • Hi Alexis

    I was looking for something like this blog just to explain the use of the Condition(Logics/Controls).

    Thanks for this. These short "How to" video clips and explanations that goes with it, makes learning and understanding much easier.

    Keep up the good blogs

    Many Thanks
    Werner

     

     

    • Thanks you very much for your feedback.

      Don't hesitate to tell us if you think we need to drill in other concepts.

       

      All the best/Alexis

       

  • Hello, excellent post!

    I have some questions about this new version of SAP iRPA:

    1. We can still using desktop studio or is better to create the projects directly in cloud studio? if yes, the desktop studio needs to be upgraded to reflect the new functionality of 2.0 version?
    2. I can not see where in the cloud studio I can edit directly the code as I can in "scripts" tab in my desktop studio.
    3. Can I start using this version from now? what is need to install or upgrade to start now with 2.0 version?.

    Thank you very much!

    Juan D

  • Hello Alexis

    I'm having the following error when testing the automation described in the post:

    "The agent took too long to respond."

    When I click in the "More Information" shows the following message:

    "Make sure your browser extension is activated and up to date."

     

    As you can see in the attached screenshot, the extension is active in its latest version.

     

    Do you have any idea what might be going on?

     

    • Hello,

      Certainly you didn't close Chrome Browser when you install the setup so the deployment of the Chrome Extension couldn't be done.

      You should deploy the Chrome Extension, enable it and then close all Chrome Browser. Then it should work.

      More info here: https://help.sap.com/viewer/6b9c8e86a0be43539b670de962834562/Cloud/en-US/cb13a3bba5c24c2d9718b62b5c8176df.html?q=chrome%20extension

      Thanks/Alexis

  • Hello Alexis,

    Great blog. Good to know more about 2.0. However, I have a query -

    I have few projects in 1.0. How can I use those projects or convert those into 2.0? In short, can I run my existing projects of 1.0 in 2.0?

    Regards,

    Dharmin

    • Hi Dharmin,

      On your 2 questions:

      • Your 1.0 project continue to work on the same agent with the same distribution and design mode.
      • We will deliver a conversion tool to move your 1.0 projects to 2.0 projects soon. We will start with a beta phase in one month, please connect with me and I can forward you the owners to participate to the beta testing. It should be production in Q3 2021.

      Thanks/Alexis