Properly identifying elements is a critical aspect of automating a user interface, and a UI element repository allows you to build a collection of element definitions that can be used by Activity Calls when you need to interact with a user interface element.
One of the biggest challenges with automation of a user interface is responding to change. User interfaces almost always change over time. If our automated processes were individually defining how to identify an element each time it is needed, any change in the user interface would require all instances of that element identification to be updated. A UI Repository allows you to define the element in a single location, and then reference it everywhere you need it. If the method used to identify the element changes, all you must do is update the one element definition and all other references will be updated as well.
A UI Repository is a collection of one or more Element Definitions. Typically, all the elements in a repository are related, but they do not have to be. You can create as many or as few repositories as you wish to meet your organizational needs.
Creating a New UI Repository
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 UI Repository button. This will open a new, blank UI Repository Editor.
Opening an Existing UI Repository
From the Command Ribbon, click the File tab to open the Backstage Menu.
On the Home tab, recently opened repositories 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 UI Repository file is stored on the file system using the
.abuirepo 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 UI Repository is the selected document, a special File Tools tab will be displayed on the Command Ribbon:
The following commands are available:
- Reload Repository
- The repository will be reloaded from the file. Useful if you need to revert your changes or if the file has been modified externally.
- Remove the element definition from the repository and stores the item on the system clipboard.
- Copies the item to the system clipboard.
- Pastes a previously copied item to the system clipboard.
- Add UI Element
- Adds a new Element Definition to the repository.
- Delete UI Element
- Deletes the selected Element Definition from the repository.
- Highlight Element
- Highlights the selected Element Definition in the open application session if the element is found.
The Repository Editor allows you to view, add, remove, and edit Element Definitions within the repository.
The UI Repository Editor is comprised of the following:
- Search Elements
- The Search Elements (1) control at the top of the element definition list allows you to enter a partial name of an element to quickly filter the list to matching items.
- Element Definition Tree
- The Element Definitions Tree (2) show a categorized list of all the elements defined for the repository. Select an item in the tree to view the details of the definition.
- The Details Pane (3) shows will display all the information for the selected Element Definition.
Add Element Definition
Select the Add UI Element command from the UI Elements tools on the Command Bar. This will add a new Element Definition to the repository. The newly added edit will be in "rename" mode after it is added so that you can easily provide a more appropriate name. Type the new name and press the Enter key to finalize the name.
The current selection in the Element Definition Tree will determine the default category assigned to the new definition. If an Element Definition is selected, the new definition will have the same category. If a Category is selected, the new definition will match that category.
Delete Element Definition
To delete an Element Definition from the repository, select the desired definition in the Element Definition Tree. You may press the Del key on the keyboard or select the Delete UI Element command from the UI Elements tools on the Command Bar.
Rename Element Definition
To change the name of an Element Definition, select the desired definition in the Element Definition Tree. You may press the F2 key on the keyboard or select the Rename command from the right-click context menu. Type the new name of the element and press the Enter key. You can safely change the name without impacting your processes.
To change the category of an individual Element Definition, select the desired definition in the Element Definition Tree. In the Details pane, the category is displayed and can be directly changed.
Use the backslash character (
\) in the name of the category to create child categories for additional organization of elements (e.g.
Application\Area Name\Page Name).
To change the name of all elements in the same category, select the desired category in the Element Definition Tree. You may press the F2 key on the keyboard or select the Rename command from the right-click context menu. Type the new name of the category and press the Enter key. All elements defined under that category will be updated with the new value.
Other than setting the Category of the Element Definition, all other aspects of defining how the element is identified will be identical to how you locally define elements for an Activity Call. The Element Identification help topic covers identification in detail.
Working with Repository Element Definitions
TODO: Mention how an activity call just needs to select "Repository" and pick the element. The best part of User Activities is that you use them just like the built-in activities! When your Activity Library is loaded, your User Activities will be displayed in the Activity Tool Window using the Category you defined. When selected, all the details you provided will be visible as well. You can pin your activities as favorites for easy access and drag-and-drop the User Activity into a Process to call it.