OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

Discuss Robotics Process Automation. RPA is a rapidly growing field with 6 figure incomes and an extreme workforce shortage. This sub forum will be used to discuss aspects of RPA as it relates to both scripting languages and RPA software such as UIPath or Automation Anywhere
SOTE
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OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

27 Feb 2020, 09:19

OpenRPA | Demo and interview with OpenRPA founder Allan Zimmermann
https://youtu.be/c1imNlfc93E
burque505
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Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

27 Feb 2020, 09:36

Allan has been very accessible and responsive. OpenRPA gets frequent updates, and is progressing rapidly.

Last fall he was kind enough to devote an hour of his time to giving me a Skype demonstration of both OpenRPA and OpenFlow, the Node-RED back end for OpenRPA.

It is really amazing what he has accomplished working solo.

It's nice to have the capability to script in AHK built in! For that Allan built on sharpAHK by LucidMethod, a very nice achievement in and of itself.

Regards,
burque505
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Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

27 Feb 2020, 09:49

burque505 wrote:
27 Feb 2020, 09:36
Allan has been very accessible and responsive. OpenRPA gets frequent updates, and is progressing rapidly.

Last fall he was kind enough to devote an hour of his time to giving me a Skype demonstration of both OpenRPA and OpenFlow, the Node-RED back end for OpenRPA.

It is really amazing what he has accomplished working solo.

It's nice to have the capability to script in AHK built in! For that Allan built on sharpAHK by LucidMethod, a very nice achievement in and of itself.
I'm interested in your assessment about a user using previously made AHK scripts to augment an RPA sequence. Particularly not being restrained by managed packages, but a user able to use their own packages or executables to do sections of a sequence. I would think this could be the best marriage, where a developer has programming or scripting experience outside of the usually supported RPA languages (particularly C#).

And how competitive, to in included the percentage of functionality, do you think OpenRPA is in comparison to the "Big 3" RPA tools that dominate the market?
burque505
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Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

27 Feb 2020, 09:58

@SOTE, personally I use AHK with OpenRPA to access MS Office COM objects. For example, I use AHK to create a pivot table on an Excel sheet, something that's tough to do in most of the RPA platforms with their built-in functionality - this despite the fact that Excel is probably the most used app of the Office suite, with Outlook probably coming in second (I have no stats to back this up, though).

If you're willing to do extra programming, with OpenRPA you can accomplish a great deal (I don't have any way of calculating a percentage) of what you can do with the big 3. I haven't downloaded the latest update, which I believe is at 1.0.81 as of this morning, but in past versions at least you can drop in any of the open source UiPath Activities, and chances are they'll just work!

That's a huge plus.
SOTE
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Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

27 Feb 2020, 11:43

burque505 wrote:
27 Feb 2020, 09:58
@SOTE, personally I use AHK with OpenRPA to access MS Office COM objects. For example, I use AHK to create a pivot table on an Excel sheet, something that's tough to do in most of the RPA platforms with their built-in functionality - this despite the fact that Excel is probably the most used app of the Office suite, with Outlook probably coming in second (I have no stats to back this up, though).

If you're willing to do extra programming, with OpenRPA you can accomplish a great deal (I don't have any way of calculating a percentage) of what you can do with the big 3. I haven't downloaded the latest update, which I believe is at 1.0.81 as of this morning, but in past versions at least you can drop in any of the open source UiPath Activities, and chances are they'll just work!

That's a huge plus.
I was referring to OpenRPA.Script, which allows you to add AutoHotkey scripting code directly, among the choices of C#, Python, VB, etc... By the way, for your part in advocating for AutoHotkey (at possibly a critical point of development) the community should be thankful. This gives OpenRPA a huge range of functionality, without needing to install additional packages or worrying about when they will or if ever will get created or updated. In addition, AutoHotkey itself can call Dlls from other languages besides C#, like those made in C/C++, Object Pascal, Rust, etc... So this opens up things even more. Dropping in open source UiPath Activities, all the more sweet...

AutoHotkey code added as part of a sequence is a breeze. It mostly worked fantastic, but did have a few odd situations where StrReplace was mistaken as an unidentified function, so had to use the older StringReplace command instead (then things worked fantastically again).

As for comparing it with the other Big 3 RPA tools, I'm not in the position to judge, as haven't used RPA tools on a professional level nor for any extended length of time. Usually write code, even for automation, in the more traditional manner. With that typed and with the market for RDA and RPA being what is, I do find OpenRPA particularly intriguing. So I'm very open to hear what those with experience think about how OpenRPA stacks up on a professional level.

Something I did notice, is documentation, training videos, and certification. I think OpenRPA will still need these to compete or to catch on more. This is something that I think UiPath is doing a great job with. All those certified people become advocates in the workforce and at companies, and certification is something that HR departments like to see. With at least documentation and training everywhere, it's easier for people to pick up on it.
burque505
Posts: 1240
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

27 Feb 2020, 12:02

Sometimes I use OpenRPA.Script to write AHK code directly, and sometimes I call an AHK script from VB.NET or C# code, again via OpenRPA.Script. It depends on the situation. Sometimes one or the other won't work, so tweaking is needed.

I agree with you 100% about documentation, training, and videos. I'm completely convinced UiPath's extensive use of these three catapulted them into the top tier of RPA platforms. It makes perfect sense - the more people there are with knowledge of the platform, the easier it is for an employer to find workers that they (largely) don't have to expend resources to bring new-hires up to speed. If some wants to hire a skilled UiPath developer or architect, they don't have to look very far. Also, UiPath's forum functions as a sort of mini-SO. Lots of people (including employees) find answers to their automation questions there in a short time, just as happens with our forums for AHK.

OpenRPA, though, is stil basically a one-man show. It's tough to develop an entire platform by yourself, and at the same time document and prepare training materials and videos. So I imagine that aspect of OpenRPA will be farther down the road. Another thing I believe will help is an eventual SDK for OpenRPA, complete with VS templates, so people can write their own activities and drop them in.
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Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann

20 Mar 2020, 04:54

burque505 wrote:
27 Feb 2020, 12:02
I agree with you 100% about documentation, training, and videos. I'm completely convinced UiPath's extensive use of these three catapulted them into the top tier of RPA platforms. It makes perfect sense - the more people there are with knowledge of the platform, the easier it is for an employer to find workers that they (largely) don't have to expend resources to bring new-hires up to speed. If some wants to hire a skilled UiPath developer or architect, they don't have to look very far. Also, UiPath's forum functions as a sort of mini-SO. Lots of people (including employees) find answers to their automation questions there in a short time, just as happens with our forums for AHK.

OpenRPA, though, is stil basically a one-man show. It's tough to develop an entire platform by yourself, and at the same time document and prepare training materials and videos. So I imagine that aspect of OpenRPA will be farther down the road. Another thing I believe will help is an eventual SDK for OpenRPA, complete with VS templates, so people can write their own activities and drop them in.
My concern about OpenRPA is that they really, really need to step up their help documentation and training game, before it gets lost in the shuffle. What Allan is doing is fantastic, but if nobody knows how to use it or knows about it, it can't pick up traction. I get the impression that OpenRPA is relying too much on people that would know of UiPath or Automation Anywhere, so then could understand his RPA software. For instance my understanding of what it can do and it's potential, is from going through the UiPath training (which is a major strength of their company). That's probably not good for OpenRPA. People trained in other RPA software will often be invested and often part of that ecosystem, thus be the competition. I think OpenRPA needs to "recruit" and build it's own advocates from the ground up.

And this is where I think a marriage of convenience between OpenRPA and AutoHotkey might be helpful. A weakness of using AutoHotkey (at present) in the RDA/RPA space is managing numerous "robots" at various sites. UiPath uses Orchestrator for that, but is usually a major financial investment for a company. Where OpenRPA uses OpenFlow, something that is freely available to AHK programmers, to manage their robots for companies and regardless of their size or location. But without good documentation and training, people would have no clue about such or be reluctant to try.

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