A Process is one or more Activities executed in a sequence to automate a task. A functional test is one example of a Process, but a Process could be as simple as copying some files. If it is a task you perform on your computer, our goal with AutoBloks is to allow you to automate that task!
Creating a New Process
From the Command Ribbon, click the File tab to open the Backstage Menu, select the Home tab if it is not already selected, and click the New Process button. This will open a new, blank Process Editor like shown in the red box below:
Opening an Existing Process
From the Command Ribbon, click the File tab to open the Backstage Menu.
On the Home tab, recently opened processes will appear in the Recent Files list (1). Alternatively, click the Open command (2) to open a standard File Open dialog to select the file to open. A Process file is stored on the file system using the
.abprocess file extension.
You can use the Pin (3) to pin any file to the top of your Recent Files list for easy access.
When a Process is the selected document, a special File Tools tab will be displayed on the Command Ribbon:
The following commands are available:
- Reload Process
- The process will be reloaded from the file. Useful if you need to revert your changes or if the file has been modified externally.
- Process Properties
- Opens the Properties dialog for the process.
- Clipboard Group
- Convenient access to Cut, Copy, and Paste clipboard commands which are based on the selected element in the user interface.
- Activity Calls Group
- This group contains additional commands used to insert activity calls into the process.
The Process Properties command on the Command Ribbon will open the Process Properties dialog where properties are represented on individual tabs.
A Process can use User Activities defined in other libraries, but they must be referenced. This tab allows you to manage those references. The following commands are available.
- Prompts you to select an Activity Library file to be added as a reference.
- Removes the reference to the selected Activity Library.
- Reloads the referenced Activity Library that is selected. Useful if the library has been modified outside of the tool since it was opened.
- Opens the editor for the referenced Activity Library that is selected.
To allow Activity Calls to interact with elements defined in a shared UI Repository they must be referenced. This tab allows you to manage those references. The following commands are available.
- Prompts you to select a UI Repository file to be added as a reference.
- Removes the reference to the selected UI Repository.
- Reloads the referenced UI Repository that is selected. Useful if the repository has been modified outside of the tool since it was opened.
- Opens the editor for the referenced UI Repository that is selected.
The following screenshot shows an example of a Process that has been opened in the Process Editor:
The Activity Calls (1) that will be performed when executing the Process are displayed at the top of the editor. The following columns display information about the Activity Call:
- The name of the Activity that is being called.
- Defines any user interface Element that will be interacted with by the Activity. If an Element Nickname was provided, it will be displayed here. Otherwise, the identifying information you provided will be displayed instead. If the value
n/ais displayed, that indicates that the Activity does not interact with a user interface Element.
- Input & Output
- A list of any significant Input or Output Arguments and their corresponding values. An Argument is significant if a value has been defined or if the corresponding Parameter is required. Rarely, some Activities may also mark a Parameter as significant even if the value is not required or populated.
- A list of any non-default options that might impact how the Activity is executed.
The Instructions Pane (2) is displayed at the bottom of the editor (by default) for the selected Activity Call. This is where you provide the details needed by the Activity during execution. The tabs along the left of the Instructions Pane organize the details into these categories (when supported by the Activity):
- How to identify the user interface Element.
- The values being passed as Input and Output Arguments to the Parameters defined by the Activity.
- Additional options related to the Activity Call.
The Process Editor provides several features to customize the user interface to meet your individual needs or tastes.
- You can auto-hide the entire Instructions Pane (2) by clicking the Pin button (3) in the title bar of the pane. This will allow the Activity Calls List (1) to be displayed full-screen and hide the Instructions Pane behind a tab. If you then hover over the tab, the Instructions Pane will automatically expand. It will hide again if you move the mouse away from the pane or select other controls. Click the Pin button again to stop the pane from auto-hiding and dock it at the original location.
- The size of each pane can be adjusted by clicking and dragging the Resize Bar between the two panes.
- If you prefer the Instructions Pane (2) to be positioned on the right instead of the bottom, you can click on the Title Bar of the pane and drag it toward the right edge of the Process Editor window. Guides will display on the screen as you drag the window. Release the mouse over the right or bottom guide to dock the pane on that side.
- If you prefer the Activity Calls List (1) to display the details of each call in a single line, right-click on the list and select Compact View from the context menu. Repeat the process to turn the feature off. Each view has benefits over the other, so you can easily switch between the view styles as needed.