Steps are simply the actions that the robot takes on every row of the database table/view (or file) that is selected as it’s data source. Steps typically use two main actions to enter data into a foreign application: – Simulating Keyboard Entry – Direct-Entry via Windows Handle Both have pros/cons and depending on the application you choose to enter data into one may be easier than the other.
Simulating Keyboard Entry
Sometimes simulating keyboard entry is more reliable to perform data-entry. This is because some target applications have programmed events on the data-entry fields like text boxes based on when a user enters/exits that control. So if you set the robot to simulate the user typing into the target application these events should still happen as the data-entry is still happening in a way that was expected. The drawback to using this method alone is you often have to still use commands to set focus to the first edit field or even clicking on some buttons so you may not be able to do every action with just the keyboard.
Direct Entry Using Windows Handles
This method involves the WSI Robot writing directly to the windows handle. All older Windows Forms applications were written where every visible object (and some invisible) are represented by a Windows Handle. This method can be very fast as it does not rely on the keyboard buffer. As a result the WSI Robot steps may need to include sleep commands to slow down the data entry otherwise the target application may not keep up to the data entry on the WSI Robot. It is also possible that events that were programmed into the target application that deal with a user leaving a text box for example or getting focus on one may not work properly when using direct entry. As a result its recommend to verify with a small test to make sure that the data was all entered correctly.
1) Open the App Inspector tab and click Refresh Object List to see the handles for the target application. Note: If you don’t see it or if you see your entire computer (too many applications), go to the Target Applications tab first and make sure that your target application has been selected first before clicking on Refresh Object List. 2) I recommend that you think about the “actions” the robot will need to do at the simplest level to perform the data-entry. If you are performing actions such as a left mouse click or a “focus” command on an object than you’ll need to reference the right Windows Handle. The App Inspector can help you identify the correct object. When you right click on a row in the app inspector, you can click on the Find Options -> Highlight options to see the object in question with a dark red square drawn around it’s boundaries. This is just for informational purposes but it’s a good way of identifying if you have the right handle. You should also use one of the test commands for sending text or numbers to see if it works using either direct entry or simulated keyboard commands. Please keep in mind that the simulated keyboard entry relies the user to be focused on that field first before it works. So if your testing using simulated keyboard entry, first click on that field with your mouse and then select that option.