We are seeing a good amount of interest in Open Source RPA.
To my surprise, a post on a Linux version of TagUi garnered quite a bit of interest. We recently saw a company announce a $5.6M investment to bring open-source RPA. We also had Softomotive announce a new project to develop an open-source RPA programming language.
Mainstream tool vendors have marketed RPA as “Bot” creators that can carry out tasks Cheaper, Better and Faster. While RPA mostly delivers on ROI, the Pricing or Licensing costs are critical issues hampering scalability as per HFS Research.
Considering the recent developments, I think we will soon start seeing a wider array of Open source options for RPA.
Generally, as the Technology matures, we would see more compelling open-source options that could even overtake the mainstream technologies (eg. Android, Linux, etc.)
This could be the next big thing in RPA!
So, I thought I would summarize the Top 5 evolving options we have as of now. Note that all these tools are evolving and do not have a mature Control room or Orchestrator. So, this can be used only for simple Automation.
With that said, here are my top 5 as of now.
Open RPA is an easy to use RPA tool with drag-drop interface like mainstream RPA tool vendors.
Open RPA looks a lot like UiPath! That is because it uses the same Windows software under the hood – the Windows Workflow Foundation. The entire platform is built using a microservice architecture.
You can combine with OpenFlow to Orchestrate Automation made with Open RPA. OpenFlow integrates with the event-based workflow engine NodeRED to automate beyond RPA. Node-Red is an Open-source workflow engine with a Web UI. Open RPA has expanded Node-Red to support many users and workflow states.
They support Scheduling, Central management, Remote management, and handling of state, projects, and workflows using OpenFlow. It also adds Access Control management on all objects, encryption and access control.
Here is the system landscape:
The software is improving continuously and looks promising. With the support of the community, it can develop into robust software.
TagUI is an open-source RPA maintained by AI Singapore, a government-funded initiative. It currently has nine contributors and has pretty good documentation.
Here are some key features:
- Automate Chrome in visible/invisible mode
- Visual automation of websites and desktop
- Chrome extension for recording web actions
- Python & R integration for big data / AI / ML
Here are some advantages with respect to other mainstream RPA tools:
- Cross-platform works on Windows, macOS, Linux
- $0 to use, under Apache 2.0 open-source license
- Headless, runs in the background – you can continue using the computer uninterrupted.
TagUI can also Python RPA now. You can add Python code for programming RPA.
If you like to try out, TagUI tools and documentation is on Github.
Robin is a free domain specific language specifically for building RPA software bots (They have a roadmap to Opensource it).
The idea of Robin is to develop a standard language for RPA tool development. This would enable easy migration of bots built on one platform to another.
Softomotive, the company behind Robin is looking to build its future tool version based on Robin. But would others follow suit? The current vendors are unlikely to as of now. But, we could see more Open source tools that build on top of this providing better options.
From a technology perspective, Robin is a Microsoft .NET Domain Specific Language (DSL). It runs on Microsoft .Net Common Language Runtime (CLR), the virtual machine component of Microsoft’s .NET framework. You would need a basic understanding of that to get started.
Robin Software Development Kits (SDK) is expected soon and should make it easy for developers to code. As per the site, developers can “turn your code into a Robin module filled with actions with just a few steps.”
Robin is in the initial stages and has a long way to go. It is currently at the beta stage – version 0.9. They plan to release a Version 1.0 on Github soon.
This is a new Open-Source RPA which is under development. The tool though has investor backing after a recent $5.6 million seed investment and another $5.4 million round of funding before expected release.
The Robocorp RPA is being built on top of the open-source Robot Framework project, that we looked at above. They say they have been working on it for ten months and is looking to release it soon.
As per the Robocorp builders, they want to fill a gap. “What is missing in RPA are the tools and a platform that can unify the industry and enable companies of all sizes to benefit from automation. Building this kind of ecosystem needs open-source tools that are widely available to everyone, and that is exactly what Robocorp is launching.”
They already have a Robocloud platform that they are piloting with “consulting and system integrator partners across finance, transportation, logistics, and other high-impact industries.”
Robocorp is looking to create a new industry called “robosourcing”. As per them, people will not look to outsource work to India or the Philippines. They would look to outsource work to robots and they like to be in that.
You can request an early access on Robocorp.com.
Automagica is a company out of Belgium that has an open-source RPA platform that they call “Smart Robotic Process Automation (SRPA)”. They have a portal where you can sign up and go about building your bot. Here is how to get started.
Auto Magica is implemented using Python. It helps you build out Automation scripts using Python. They provide wrappers around known automation libraries to enable you to automate. It is not exactly the easiest or quickest way to automate but then with Open-source, you may want to be ready to put in the work.
Automagica officially supports Windows 10. Linux and MacOS are not officially supported as of now.
Here is a list of features:
There is huge potential with Open Source RPA. The best part about Open source RPA is that it creates an open framework for you to combine different tools to innovate.
Those were the top 5 Open-source options that I have across. ‘Am I missing anything?
I appreciate your comments and feedback!
Edit: 18th Feb 2020. Replaced Robocorp with Open RPA. Robocorp is yet to be released and there is no timeline as of now.