Help files

Building a WebAutomation Process

Building a Web Automation Process in the Process Designer:

As mentioned before, you will start with any of the Launch Web Browser actions ("Launch New Internet Explorer", "Launch New Chrome", "Launch New Firefox" or "Launch New Edge") and specify the initial web address to visit:

In addition to the initial URL, you may also specify:

  • The type of Internet browser you wish to work with, by choosing among launching the Automation Browser (if in IE), a new Web Browser, or attaching to an already running Browser instance. The Automation Browser may be preferred as it offers a minimal and fully-functional browser interface, while allowing you to avoid inconsistencies and delays that Web Browser add-ons, toolbars and widgets may cause. (More information you can find in the Actual Internet Explorer VS Automated Browser topic)

  • Whether the web browser window will be launched in normal, maximized or minimized (in case you want the Process to run in the background) state.

The main outcome of Launch New Web Browser actions is to generate a variable containing the instance of the web browser that will be passed as input to the rest web-related actions of your script. Since it is possible that within the same Process you may need to automate more than one browsers concurrently (if for example you may want to extract data from one web site and populate some fields of another), you can include multiple “Launch New Web Browser” actions and store the generated Browser Instances appropriately, so that you can pass them to the respective subsequent web-automation actions.

The most commonly selected option is to Launch a new Web Browser. However, by default, IE comes with security settings disallowing any external applications (WinAutomation in our case) from controlling it and Firefox and Chrome come with other settings that needs to be changed for WinAutomation to work as expected. Therefore, it is essential to configure IE security settings first if you plan to work with IE or change the settings of Firefox and/or Chrome if you wish to work with them.

Alternatively, you can use WinAutomation’s browser that does not require any configuration changes.

When selecting to launch a new browser, you can specify some further options, found in the Advanced tab of Properties of Launch New Web Browser action window:

  • Whether to clear the browser's cache and/or any stored cookies right after launching it (depending on the size of cache or stored cookies this procedure may take a while).

  • Whether you need the Process to wait for the new web page to load completely before proceeding to the next the action.

  • How should the action respond if a pop-up dialog appears while loading the initial web page (i.e. close, ignore or interact with it).

  • Specify the user-agent string that you want the runtime web helper to advertise to the website's that it is instructed to navigate to (only IE).

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If you set the action to attach to a running Internet Explorer (instead of launching a new one) you are prompted to choose whether it will attach to an Internet Explorer Tab based on its Title, URL, or just pick the Active Tab of the Internet Explorer running as the Foreground Window.

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Next, you will append other actions to interact with elements in the web page.

There are actions available for clicking on links, filling and submitting web forms, extracting data from web pages, etc.

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Although each action has its specific features there is an overall mode in setting the web-related actions’ properties.

Say, for example that you need to click on a link. For that you will need to use the "Click Link on Web Page" action:

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As you can see in the screenshot above, you will first need to select the Browser Instance on which the action will be performed. The next step is to specify the link you want to click on and add it in your Control Repository. You can do this in two ways:

1. Select the Control form your Repository, if it is already there from a previous selections, or

2. Click "Select Control Repository" and then click "Add Control". This will open the Live Helpers. Hover your mouse over the element that you want to access in the Internet Explorer and hit Leftie+LeftClick to select it.

Once you do the WinAutomation UISpy window will pop up, that it will show you the HTML tree of the element as well as its attributes in the right pane of the window.

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Click on "Add" to add this control to your Repository.

Under the hood:

What the Web Helper does is extract the CSS Path of the selected element and a meaningful description adding it to your Control Repository. Should you double click on the control, the Selectors for it will pop up as per the screenshot below:

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Should you click on "Add Selector" or "Edit" the Selector Builder will appear.

In the Selector Builder you are able to add or remove attributes to the CSS selector by checking or un-checking the relevant check-boxes. You can also choose to build a custom Selector from the Custom Option.

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In the Custom selector Builder window you can modify the Selector, insert variables, or change it completely.

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To learn more about the values you can enter in the "CSS Selector" field and how to select a single element within a web page you may refer to the CSS Selectors topic.

This is the logic behind any web-related action where you need to specify an element and perform an operation on it.