Ask Me Anything: Robots in Automation

Our first AMA of 2019 with Jason Huggins was on the topic of Robots in Automation. There were a lot of questions for this AMA as usual :grin:

If we didn’t get to your question of you’re catching up on the Dojo and have thought of some questions you’d like to ask, please share them here.

The first item that came up was RPA which @jesper wrote a post about recently

If you want to get set up with your own robots:

Although @jesper says Lego boost is better :wink:

@friendlytester shared how Tyro in Australia used a train set to test contactless payments!


And the unanswered questions:

  1. Elaborate on the diffrence between rpa (robot proces automation) and rda (robot desktop automation) if familiar

  2. What are your favorite resources for ways to get started with designing or building robots for adults? and also for teens/children?

  3. Assuming we’re talking about RPA, RPA did not start out aimed at testing, but now it’s being promoted as a test tool. Do you see these merging - going after the same market?

  4. What about non web contexts - desktop, standard applications etc

  5. Which was more difficult? Starting Sauce Labs or starting Tapster? And what lessons did you bring from co-founding Sauce Labs to founding Tapster?

  6. When a Tapster robot interacting with a touch screen, such as playing music from Harry Potter from an iPad app, is each coordinate hard coded or can it somehow sense what is on the screen, such as the piano diagram in the app, and which keys to press?

  7. you mentioned Python; have you dome testing written in micropython that is targeted to run native on controllers / robots ?

  8. Tapster has a GitHub account Tapsterbot, with an open source project which calls for “one Tapster robot” as a component. Are there any pre-built Tapsterbot models available to the general public? Assembling one from the Tapster bill of materials may be a bit difficult.

  9. Selenium, Saucelabs, Appium then tapster. What’s next? An AI behaving like a real human tester, talking with developers and making decisions about a test strategy?

  10. The first game you automated appears to have been Angry Birds. Do you have one that plays Temple Run?

  11. Do you plan to update tapsterbot github repo?

  12. Regarding the automotive testing conference, Was that a software testing conference?
    @friendlytester I reckon it’s this one -

  13. Is there a way to run parallel tests during UI testing? if yes how can we do that in the same laptop?

  14. What are some starting points and baby steps for someone with no experience (but a keen interest) to grow knowledge around Robot Process Automation?

  15. Is it Jason Huggins talking on the screen, or is it a robot? :wink:

  16. What is the largest flow that you have automated using robots? please tell us the flow and how much time was required to do it.

  17. When you start a new project for a robot in automation… how do you estimate? do you have some technique?, specific methodology for the software and hardware process building?

  18. Have you ever visited the self service craft beer tasting room, Tapster Chicago at

  19. How robots can be used in autonomous driving?

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Hi, everyone! Thanks for the AMA! Happy to continue the conversation here as I answer a few more of your questions…



I was intrigued with this topic and saw that RPA was mentioned as a possible testing tool.

I’ve been working with RPA for about six months. I was asked to lead a team to develop a bot for an internal process (how I got this role is a different story). As the name says, I was developing process automation and not test automation. In my opinion, the primary difference between the two is that process automation has no asserts within the code that provide results of a workflow. In process automation, the only result is the process performs work previously executed by humans.

My understanding is that RPA did not start out as a testing tool. It is primarily aimed at business teams - not IT or IT teams. One question above claims some promotion for testing. Are there examples of this?
I’d be very surprised that RPA could be valuable as a testing tool. It can be very expensive to purchase, while the development is not as complicated as, say, .Net, a workflow (desktop or website) can be complex to implement (read: require months to develop a good bot), and reporting would be clumsy for testing purposes. In my opinion, RPA would add friction to a project that is dependent on automation for pace.
Lastly, in our experience, a very strong development background assists with design and implementation.



Hi Joe,

Yes, RPA is an IT process tool that can be used for testing - see the article above. :wink: There are different tools - see the RDA/RPA differences link. Some (RPA) require higher implementation skills while those that focus on the desktop are more visual.

We have the best success wrt using RDA when the platform is a standard system (like SAP, ServiceNow etc) or across technologies (ie testing across mainframe, desktop, web). It seems RDA scales better in these situations compared to existing automation approaches.

PS: DM me for details … #NDA

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To answer my self (:slight_smile:) from:

See “Robot Process Automation As A Power Tool For Testing” mentioned above. :wink:

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Re: Universial Robots (DK). They have set the market for industrial collaborative “cobots” that you can work next to and program from a tablet. This might be suitable for “in situation” testing or testing of devises etc.

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Qual é a ferramenta mais completa e free de RPA? Qual é a ferramenta de RPA mais utilizada?

Greetings @pamela.martins!

I used Google Translate to read your question.

I don’t know of any free tools; I’m sure some exist. Some of the most used RPA tools are Blue Prism, UI Path, and Automation Anywhere.


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