What are the modes of running bots?
In general, we can distinguish two modes of operation of bots:
1. Direct interaction with graphical interface elements. This principle of operation is necessary to emulate the operation with an application or a web page. In this case, the bot uses the mouse cursor and keyboard input, and since there is only one cursor, only one of the workers (bot-worker or human-worker) can work on the computer at any given time.
2. Interacting with files, emails, APIs and sometimes web pages (headless-mode) without having to interact directly with the GUI. This mode is usually referred to as background mode. Here are some examples:
- Working with files (Excel, Word, Google Sheets, .txt, .json etc.)
- Working with email (sending and reading emails, working with attachements)
- Document recognition (.pdf, .jpeg, .png, .tiff)
- Accessing databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL, Oracle)
- Working with command prompt
- Sending HTTP-requests
When the algorithm is running in the background, a person can continue to work on the computer.
Can multiple bots run simultaneously on the same computer?
Yes, it is possible to run multiple bots simultaneously on multiple virtual machines (Bot Runner must be installed on each of them).
When running bots in the background, you can use multiple Windows accounts (you can run Bot Runner on each account and start running the bot).
Can the user work on the computer at the same time as the bot?
Yes, if the actions performed by the bot are not directly related to the graphical interface of applications or websites.
Can I continue to work with applications or websites if a bot is already working with them?
See "What are the modes of running bots?" for more information on this. We don't limit the user's work, but we don't recommend working simultaneously with a bot.
Is it always necessary to provide a separate computer for bots?
This depends on the goals of automation, the business process, and the specifics of your work. As a rule, if we are talking about large-scale automation (complex organization of a large number of bots), then a separate machine (or several machines) or separate Windows accounts are dedicated exclusively to bots. Some of the dedicated machines can be used for different environments. If we are talking about a single-point automation (one person's work), then, as a rule, the same machine is used as a person works, but the bot is launched at a time when the person is not working with the computer, for example, during a break or at night.
In general, the most appropriate option is to run bots on virtual machines, including for security reasons: you can limit the range of people who have access to the automated process.
Can I set up bots to run consecutively on the same computer?
Yes, it is possible. To do this, you need to configure the bot launch queue and make sure that the same Bot Runner is assigned to all algorithms. You can also use different integrations (API, Zapier, webhook links, etc.). You can find more inforamtion about queues in Orchestrator in this article.
Is it possible to run multiple bots in parallel on multiple computers?
Yes, it is possible. Orchestrator lets you add any number of Bot Runners to the system, and you can distribute runs to those Bot Runners in any convenient format, including multiple algorithms in parallel on multiple Bot Runners.