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10.Interface Element

As we mentioned in the first chapter, one of the main features of RPA is that it is "non-intrusive.” In other words, although RPA works with other software, it does not require other software to provide interfaces. It is directly aimed at the operation interface of other softwares to simulate human reading and operation. However, there are many input boxes and buttons on the general software interface so how can the computer know where we are going to operate? The "interface elements" described in this chapter will solve this problem.


What are interface elements?


In this next part, we will explain and clarify what a “control” is. If you already know, feel free to gloss over section 3.1. If you do not know, please continue to read on because "controls" and "interface elements" have something in common, but they are not exactly the same so we must try to avoid any confusion between the two.


In addition to IT experts, most people use computers when they are dealing with the graphical interface of the operating system whether it's Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. With the popularity of web browsers, graphical interfaces are being chosen more frequently to be displayed on browsers. These graphical interfaces have their own characteristics, but when we 26 click on it with the mouse, there are actually small graphical components under the mouse. We call these graphical components "interface elements.” For example, the following figure is a common Windows screen and a typical graphical user interface (GUI). What interface elements are there in this window?


First, the options in the menu bar above, such as "file,” "home page,” "share," and "view" are independent interface elements. The icons in the menu bar and the text below, such as "copy" and "paste" are independent interface elements while the "quick access," "desktop," and "download" in the navigation bar on the left are independent interface elements. Each file displayed in the main area of the window (the scope of the red box) is independent. They are also independent interface elements.


Ordinary Windows Screen


There are also nested combinations between interface elements. For example, the red box contains a large range of interface elements, and each file in it is a separate interface element. In UiBot, the role of interface elements is to be used as targets in "targeted" commands.


As mentioned earlier, UiBot has placed many commands in the Command Area that are used as "prefabricates.” The most commonly used among 27 them are the categories shown in the figure.


Some of the Most Commonly Used Commands


Among them, all commands under the “interface element “and “text” categories are targeted; commands under the "mouse" and "keyboard" containing the word "target" are also targeted as shown in the red box.


Targeted Commands


The so-called targeted command is to specify an interface element in the command. At runtime is when the interface element is first found to exist. If it exists, the operation will be directed at this interface element. For example, if the interface element is a button, then the command "Click on the Target" is to click on the interface element. If it does not exist, it will be searched repeatedly until it exceeds the specified time (also known as "timeout.” Timeout can be set in Properties to display an error message as an output, and the process will stop running immediately.


Conversely, for an aimless command, there is no need to specify interface elements. For example, the "simulated click" command has no target where the mouse is clicked while running. Another example of this is the "simulated button" command because it also has no target, when running, where the input focus of the keyboard is.


Obviously, when using UiBot you should give priority to targeted commands because targeted commands are much more accurate. Only when you can't find a target can you step back and use an aimless command. Therefore, when using UiBot, knowing how to select a goal is critical. As long as the target is selected accurately, the simulation operation is relatively simple. Here's how to select the target.


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