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Salesforce Web/UI Automation

  • 1.  Salesforce Web/UI Automation

    Posted 09-18-2020 20:06
    Hi Blue Prism Community!

    I just wanted to run this by you guys in hopes that at least some of you have run by this problem before:

    I'm working on a project that requires us to automate a lengthy task in Salesforce. Now, I know that the Digital Exchange has the awesome Salesforce Skill but a strict constraint in this project is to not use the API. However, the fields in Salesforce records on the web client do not have any identifying attributes.

    Using Web Path has not been helpful since it varies from record to record and using wildcards in Web Paths on a complex site makes the robot very slow as it traverses all possibilities.

    Has anyone had any luck with Salesforce and is willing to share some knowledge?

    Thanks!

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    Sam Assaf
    Senior
    EY
    Montreal QC
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  • 2.  RE: Salesforce Web/UI Automation

    Posted 09-22-2020 06:45

    I've never tried using the UI for Salesforce, but I've heard it is quite a nightmare to spy. I swear by the API as it's lightning fast (and maybe because I had quite a bit to do with creating it....)

    I would challenge the constraint to not use the API, a big factor you could use in doing so is cost. The API takes miliseconds to do a task that could take minutes in the UI. Multiply that out by any decent number of cases and you're looking at huge savings on resource/licence utilisation by going for the faster option. Any senior person putting a blocker on the API may reconsider when shown such numbers.



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    Sam Stone
    CoE Build Lead
    Blue Prism
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  • 3.  RE: Salesforce Web/UI Automation

    Posted 09-22-2020 16:24
      |   view attached
    Hi Sam,

    First I want to echo my colleague Sam's reply and advise you to try to reconsider the API. I have some suggestions below, but the processing time will take longer.
    I just had a similar problem on a different web application, and here is what worked for me:

    Look up the tree structure of the HTML from the target element. There is usually a nearby element that you are able to match on unique attribute(s), often Web text in combination with one or two others. Let's call this the label element. Compare the Web path of this label element with the Web path of the target element. If one element is dependent on the other, there will be a pattern.

    When the page loads, you can read the path of the label element and use it to calculate the path of the target element based on the pattern you observed. Use the new path to dynamically match on the target element (Test to make sure the pattern is correct and consistent). Here is a mockup of what that could look like:


    Another suggestion is to take a closer look at the URL structure. What looks like a random string can sometimes be a unique/persistent identifier that can be useful. Part of your Salesforce URL is probably the unique ID for that record, for example.

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    Patrick Aucoin
    Senior Product Consultant
    Blue Prism
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  • 4.  RE: Salesforce Web/UI Automation

    Posted 09-23-2020 01:30
    We tried to work with salesforce UI. The end result was a monster of a bot and it ended up being scrapped because salesforce ui is too dynamic.

    We contacted the salesforce team and got an API access, now we do everything through the api. It's simpler than automating the UI and a rock stable.

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    Brian Christensen
    Developer
    TDC
    Europe/Copenhagen
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  • 5.  RE: Salesforce Web/UI Automation

    Posted 09-23-2020 10:44
    Thank you! Your answer echoes @Sam Stone's and is unfortunately what I was afraid of. The client insists that there are too many hurdles associated with exposing the API.

    I have tried @Patrick Aucoin's solution but the problem is twofold:
    1. The UI is so dynamic that even spying "labels" requires wildcards in the web path and that just hangs Blue Prism.
    2. The amount of Web Path manipulation you'd have to do at the end to traverse from the "label" to the actual field is quite complex.
    ​​

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    Sam Assaf
    Senior
    EY
    Montreal QC
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  • 6.  RE: Salesforce Web/UI Automation

    Posted 09-23-2020 21:05
    Hello Sam, while I understand the client might insist on the hurdles... I believe it will be crucial to educate the client on the risk vs reward factors as stated earlier...
    At the end of the day, the true value in the automation and overall solution is what should prevail,  If it doesn't... then we have all failed our customer(s) and ourselves.  ;-)

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    Pino Agostino
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