For the last few years Robotask has become indispensable in my work as Application Support Analyst and Tester. With its help I can automate many of my user support, system housekeeping and testing tasks which would be tedious and time consuming otherwise.
I came across Robotask when I was looking for an automation software which could operate programs installed on local machines and work with files. Before that I had some experience with Selenium IDE browser add-on but it was not great at the above.
What I love about Robotask:
- very short learning curve: it took me just a couple of hours from the first time I installed Robotask to writing my first usable script. Robotask has clear and intuitive interface and works in both actions recording mode and manual programming mode. So, at first I recorded and re-played my actions, but as I was getting to know Robotask better I found it easier just to combine the ready-made functions manually into a task;
- lots of useful functions: I can find most of the functions I need to perform my job - from working with files and producing reports to notifying me of events;
- integrates well with other software: can start and operate programs, open and modify documents, great with command line applications;
- handles variables in an easy for the user way: you don't have to define a variable beforehand and the script will still work, although with experience I learned more about how to better handle variables in Robotask. Also Robotask has extremely useful tab for initializing all variables - convenient when you use tasks with parameters varying each time, so with this tab you don't need to go through the whole script updating the values, you do it all in one convenient tab. This is also convenient if someone else uses your scripts - they don't have to understand the script to be able to use it, all they need to know is which variables' values to update;
- can be as interactive as you want: tasks I write for others to use contain prompts for locations and values, ask the user to select options and display lots of information, but when I write scripts for myself I don't need all that, I update all variables' values within the script;
What is not so good in Robotask:
- not very good at interacting with web based activities: part of my work involves supporting a database through browser and I find it really difficult to automate these tasks. Robotask can emulate keyboard and mouse, but I found these unreliable. Often, when there is a delay in response from the server, Robotask clicks wrong buttons and things go wrong. Inserting delays and 'wait for' helps a little but still far from ideal. I wish Robotask could handle web based activities as good as Selenium;
- Robotask has a built-in Chrome browser but you cannot use add-ons with it, nor it remembers any settings. Every run it starts anew;
And for the recent ver.9 update. This is purely my personal opinion which is not an expert one in any sense.
Frankly, I found old icons to be "cosier" and they were more colourful which helped finding the necessary action quicker. New icons are more stylish and better match each other, but they feel "colder", more robotic and their uniformness takes more time to find the right one. What I like is that the list of available actions is now attached to the task window decluttering the screen. You can drag and drop actions now instead of clicking 'Add' button - also convenient.
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