Components in ITPilot¶
Once the process has been created, you can start to add components to it.
Double-click on the process to open it. In the browsing area you can see how the Components tab has been automatically enabled and selected, showing a list of general components that are distributed with ITPilot by default and an initially empty “Custom component” list, where the user-created components (see section Saving a Flow as a Custom Component) will be listed. The generic components can be divided in the following categories:
Flow Control Components: these components manage the process control flow. The components are Condition, Iterator, Loop and Repeat.
Navigation Components: components that automatically execute navigation sequences on the web sources. They are Form Iterator, Next Interval Iterator, Sequence and Extractor Sequence.
Data Input Components: they retrieve information from data sources. They are Extractor and JDBC Extractor.
Data Output Components: they perform storage or output operations on data retrieved from the web sources. They are Output and SaveFile.
Data Management Components: these can be used to transform the data obtained by the data input components in order to format them before being returned. They are Create List, Add Record To List, Diff, Expression, Filter and Record Constructor.
Persistent Browser Management: these components manage the life cycle of the so-called “Persistent browsers”. They are Create Persistent Browser, Get Page and Release Persistent Browser; see their respective sections for an example of use.
The more common general components will be explained through the example. There is also a reference guide in section Appendix C: Catalog of Components of this manual. Section Saving a Flow as a Custom Component discusses when custom components can be useful and how they can be created.
The workspace is divided into four parts, as indicated below:
Title bar section: This section shows the process name, a help button and a selector that will help user to easily locate and select components on the process flow.
Process generation section: This is the workspace itself, where users can drag components, connect them to each other and configure them. This section also shows zoom controls on the upper right corner.
Component inputs section: This contextual area allows configuring input data for selected component. This section is automatically hidden when no component is selected.
The workspace already displays three components as part of the current process. These components represent the start and the end of the process, besides the output component (Output_1) that returns the results of the wrapper.
The components used in the flow can appear in the workspace in the following colors:
Red. The component is still not configured, its wizard configuration is incorrect, or any user defined error record (see section Error Processing on the Web Browsing Automation) is incorrect. For instance, one component can be colored that way if other component providing its input is deleted, causing its own wizard configuration or user defined error records to be in an incorrect state.
Yellow. Due to changes in other components, the configuration of this component may be in an incorrect state. You should access the wizard component to check the configuration is still ok, and change it if it is incorrect.
White. The component is correctly configured.
In addition, each component has two boxes that determine the status of the input (top box) and output (bottom box) parameters. This status is reflected by the color of these boxes:
The output of the component is not consistent.
It happens when more than one component defines the same variable, but its definitions are not compatible.
In that case, all the components that define that variable, have their output marked in red.
i.e.: two Expression components which have the same output name, but one defines a string, and the other, an integer.
The output of the component is uncertain.
That is because the component has not been configured yet or because, after a change in its input parameters, the component does not know how to calculate its output.
i.e.: a non-configured Expression or a Record Constructor that was previously configured and the name of one of its input parameters have changed.
A mandatory input is not selected or one of the component inputs is not consistent.
One or more component input parameters are uncertain.
The workspace has a contextual menu, which can be accessed by placing the cursor on the flow area and right-clicking. Depending on whether the contextual menu is opened over a component or not, the appropriate following options will be available:
Rename component / component output: allows a specific name to be given to the selected component and its output variable (that may be collected as an input by other components). ITPilot identifiers must start with a letter (a-z or A-Z) followed by zero or more letters, numbers or underscores (the regular expression that defines the identifiers is [a-zA-Z][A-Za-z_0-9]* ). Please note that the names cannot be any of the ITPilot reserved words (see section Appendix E: List of Reserved Words).
Open wizard: opens the selected component’s wizard, where the component can be configured. The wizard can also be opened by double-clicking on the component.
Open error configuration: Opens a dialog to configure the selected component behavior in case of failure.
Collapse complex component: flow components that are expanded (the default status) – specifically, the Condition components, Form Iterator, Iterator, Loop, Next Interval Iterator and Repeat - can be collapsed graphically so the flow diagram can be seen more clear.
Expand complex component: this shows the components contained in the selected component again.
Insert before: allows choosing a new component and inserts it in the control flow before the selected one.
New component: allows choosing a new component and inserts it in the control flow at mouse position.
Insert after: allows choosing a new component and inserts it in the control flow after the selected one.
Copy: this option allows the selected components to be copied.
Paste: this option allows previously copied components to be pasted.
Paste and Rename Variables: this allows components to be pasted renaming its output variables.
Delete: deletes the components that have been selected. This can affect other related components.
Hide/show selected cell names: hides or shows the name of the selected components to leave only the icon visible.
Hide/show all cell names: same as the previous option, but affects all the components of the wrapper.
Hide/show comments: hides or shows component comments.
Hide/show input/output variables flow: hides or shows ongoing and ingoing arrows to help understanding which components consume the output of the selected component and which components produce the inputs of the selected component.
Layout graph vertically: this option organizes the flow of components from top to bottom.
Layout graph horizontally: this option organizes the flow of components from left to right.
The initialization component is described in the following section, although it is first necessary to explain the types of input and output parameters that can exist.