OpenRPA Demo With Founder, Allan Zimmermann
Posted: 27 Feb 2020, 09:19
OpenRPA | Demo and interview with OpenRPA founder Allan Zimmermann
Let's help each other out
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#).burque505 wrote: ↑27 Feb 2020, 09:36Allan 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 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...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.
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.burque505 wrote: ↑27 Feb 2020, 12:02I 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.