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Knowledge Base

Background Automation

Background Automation is the method to automate different tasks in such a way that it won’t interfere with the user in his activities.

Background automation is mainly used when the user wants to automate two or more things at the same time without interfering with each other or other applications. This automation technique should remain unnoticed by the users while it performs in background.

You need background automation when you:

  •    Want to run multiple applications or instances at the same time
  •    Integrate apps without disturbing the user
  •    Automate hidden windows/browsers

Background Automation is mainly affected by data insertion, data extraction and UI element manipulation.

 1.Data Entry

UiPath offers two different methods of data insertion for background automation.

 Simulate Type Method

It is the best method to interact with applications that are not visible or in foreground. This acts more like a developer programmatically changing the value of an editable control, making it 100% accurate if the control reacts to it. This method doesn’t work in all cases as there are technologies we cannot automate natively, by taking advantage of their underlying technology. This option can be set for Type Into activity.

 Send Window Messages Method

This method effectively replays all the window messages an application receives when a user uses the keyboard. This works only with applications that respond to Window Messages. This option can be set for Type Into and Send Hotkey activities. If special characters are needed then this method is the  only background automation option.

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The activate box should be unchecked to avoid putting the application in foreground.

Set Text Activity

It’s similar with the Type Into activity but this activity won’t mimic the keystrokes, instead it will set the text attribute of the control.

 2.Data Extraction

To successfully extract text in a background automation scenario you need to make sure that the scraping technique chosen works when the application is minimized or hidden. Below you can read more about the available options to achieve this.

Get Text

This activity returns the text value of a specified UI object that can later be used throughout the process. This can be added manually or from Desktop Recording by clicking on Copy.

Full Text Method

UiPath offers more than one method of doing screen scarping. It largely depends on the target application’s technology. Full Text is a method that extracts the text property of a control and all its children, it has 100% accuracy and works fast without flickering. You can use the screen scraping wizard to test it and generate the Get Full Text activity.

Web Scraping

This wizard is dedicated to extracting structured data from web pages. Is the easiest way to extract tables, list or grids. The results will be stored in a data table object that can easily used in your project. With this tool you can extract a large variety of data in any web page formats without needing the selected window to be activated or to be in foreground. An important mention when you're extracting correlated data is to select data from the first pattern made.

If you want to read more about Web Scraping click here.

 3.Controls Manipulation

Simulate Click Method

It is the best method to interact with applications that are not visible or in foreground. This acts more like a developer programmatically changing the state of a control, making it 100% accurate if the control reacts to it. This method doesn’t work in all cases as there are technologies we cannot automate natively, by taking advantage of their underlying technology. This option can be set for Click activity.

Send Window Messages Method

This method effectively replays all the window messages an application receives when a user uses the mouse. This works only with applications that respond to Window Messages. This option can be set for Click only.

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Check Activity

This activity manipulates the check property of a checkbox or radio button. It also offers the possibility of toggling this kind of UI elements.

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  Select Item

This activity sets the selected item property of a combo box, list or tree. It also offers the possibility of adding a wildcard(*) when specifying the Item’s Value.

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