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Playback

Introduction

Once you have created your Process and added all the Activity Calls you need, it is time to run your process. AutoBloks has several features to help you control the playback experience so you can monitor how your Process executes.

Options

Before running a Process, it is important to understand some of the options available. From the Ribbon Command Bar, select File then Options to open the AutoBloks Options dialog.

Screenshot Options Dialog Run Tab

Note: The example screenshot above may differ slightly from the current product.

Require new session for each run
When checked, an automation session will always be created for a new Process execution even if a session is already open.
Disconnect session after run completion
When checked, an automation session will be closed after a Process finishes executing.
Open process during execution
When checked and executing a Scenario, the currently executing Process will be opened as a preview document during playback and closed when the Process execution completes.
Open results after run
When checked, a detailed Run Report will be opened after the completion of your run.
Use Preview mode
When checked, results opened after a run will be open in Preview mode. Preview mode documents will remain open until manually closed or another preview document is opened to replace it.
Run results location
This defines the location on your computer where results are stored. Results consist of report data and any screenshots that were captured.
Delay between activities
By default, AutoBloks will playback a Process as quickly as possible. While debugging, demonstrating, or monitoring playback, this can be too fast to follow. This setting allows you to specify a delay, in milliseconds, for AutoBloks to pause between activities thus slowing down overall playback speed.
Default synchronization timeout
Automation typically outperforms the application being automated, so it is common to attempt to interact with an element that is not yet displayed. This setting specifies how long AutoBloks will wait for objects to appear before assuming it will not be displayed.
Highlight elements during run
When checked, each element will be highlighted during playback before interacting with it.
Show multiple match results before selection
When checked and multiple matches exist for an element, each matching element will be individually highlighted before highlighting the element that was selected via the multi-match policy.
Default error response
Defines the default error response to use when there is an issue executing an Activity. See Activity Call Options for more detail on each response.
Default web browser
Select the web browser which will be used, by default, when running a web-based process.

Commands

The Ribbon Command Bar places the playback controls front-and-center for convenience.

Screenshot Ribbon Playback Group

Note: The example screenshot above is from a pre-release version of AutoBloks and may differ slightly from the current product.

You will also find many of the same commands on the context menu if you right-click an Activity Call.

Running

The Run command is used to begin execution of a Process. If you click the drop-down arrow below the Run command, you will have additional options.

The Run to Selection command will begin running the Process and will continue to run until it encounters the selected Activity Call. At that point, the run will pause and wait for further input. This behavior is like adding a Breakpoint to your Process, but it only creates a temporary stopping point.

The Step Into command is like the Run to Selection command except it will immediately pause at the first Activity Call without regard for selection. This command is most useful in the early stages of debugging when you want to easily step through the entire process.

Pausing

During playback, you can pause execution using the Pause command. The currently running Activity Call will have to complete processing first, but then playback will pause before executing the next Activity Call.

Continuing

At any point when playback is paused from a Breakpoint, the Pause command, running to selection, or stepping into a Process, you have a few options to continue playback. The Continue command will resume full execution of the remaining Activity Calls in the Process. The Step Over command will execute only the next Activity Call and then pause again. Alternatively, you may right-click an Activity Call and select Continue to Selection to instruct playback to resume until it reaches the selected Activity Call.

Stopping

Clicking the Stop command will cause the running Process to terminate as soon as the currently executing Activity Call completes processing.

Breakpoints

You can place a Breakpoint on most Activity Calls. Select the Activity Call where you want to place a Breakpoint and click the Toggle Breakpoint command from the Ribbon Command Bar or from the context menu of the Activity Call. A Breakpoint is indicated on an Activity Call with a red circle next to the activity icon.

Screenshot Breakpoint Indicator

Note: The example screenshot above may differ slightly from the current product.

When a Breakpoint is encountered during playback, execution will pause when it reaches the Breakpoint and will not resume until you click the Run/Continue command. If you decide not to proceed, you may also click the Stop command to terminate the run.

Breakpoints are part of the Process definition and will be saved and restored when the Process is reopened. For more temporary playback control, use the Run to Selection command.