Top 5 open source RPA tools that you can use now

We are seeing a good amount of interest in open source RPA tools.

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 open source RPA tools that we have as of now. Before we get into the tool details, if you like to rather watch, here is a playlist with demos of all the Top 5 Open source tools. (You can switch between videos using top right Playlist icon)

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.

Top 5 Open Source RPA Tools

Open RPA

Open RPA - open source rpa tools

Open RPA is easy to use open-source RPA tool with a 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:

Open RPA Architecture - open source rpa tools

The software is improving continuously and looks promising. With the support of the community, it can develop into a robust software.

Check out the Open RPA  on Github, documentation on their wiki pages. You can download and try it out here here

Robo Corp

This is a new Open-Source RPA tool available to the public as of July 2020.

The tool has quite a bit of investor backing – an initial $5.6 million seed investment and another $5.4 million round of funding before expected release.

The Robocorp RPA is built on top of the popular open-source automated testing framework – Robot Framework project. The tool has three components:

  • Robocode Lab provides an easy way to get everything needed in one place. With the simple installer (supports Windows, macOS, and Linux) you get an environment for software robot development.
  • Robocloud allows you to start operating software robots in an instant. It’s always available and doesn’t require complicated infrastructure setup.
  • Robohub is a constantly growing repository of learning materials and documentation for software robot developers.

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.”

You can access all things you need to build Software robots at Robocorp.com.

TagUI

Tagui - open source rpa tools

TagUI is an open-source RPA maintained by AI Singapore, a government-funded initiative. It currently has nine contributors and has pretty good documentation.

TagUI uses “human language” like Command line syntax to build your automation. So, you can automate with “language” like this:

You can also do Visual automation for Websites and Desktop using integration with Sikuli. Under the hood, it converts that “language” you wrote or recording into JavaScript code.

Here are some key features:

  • Automate Chrome in visible/invisible mode
  • Visual automation of websites and desktop
  • Write in 20+ human languages & JavaScript
  • 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

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 had plans to release a Version 1.0 on Github soon. With the Microsoft takeover of parent company Softomotive, the plans for Robin are unknown right now (Updated: September 2020).

You can download and try it out!  Here is a quick start tutorial to get you started.

Auto Magica

Automagica is a company out of Belgium that has an open source RPA tool 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.

Here is an example that opens Notepad and types ‘Hello world!’

Automagica officially supports Windows 10. Linux and MacOS are not officially supported as of now.

Here is a list of features:

Automagica can be downloaded from their Github site. They have pretty good videos on YouTube.

Open Source RPA Tools – Looking ahead

There is huge potential with Open Source RPA. The best part about Open source RPA tools is that it creates an open framework for you to combine different tools to innovate.

With $0 bots, you would be able to focus on even the smaller benefits and not spend time justifying costly licenses.

Those were the top 5 Open-source options that I have across. ‘Am I missing anything? I appreciate your comments and feedback!

5 Comments

  1. Ilkin Jamalli
    30th November 2019

    Thanks Nandan,
    Nice, neat & captive article. Now you got me into RPA world.

    Reply
  2. Hemal Kansarra
    18th February 2020

    Thanks Nandan, for such an informative article.
    I do automate all my task through a very powerful, open source scripting language called AutoIt.
    Autoitscript.com

    Reply
    1. Nandan
      18th February 2020

      Thanks Hemal. Auto it script is interesting. Can you share some interesting automations you have done?

      Reply
  3. Naveen Saxena
    6th May 2020

    Something valuable on RPA after a long time, thanks ..

    Reply
  4. Niraj Dave
    26th May 2020

    Hi Nandan, this is great. Thank you for collecting the information and sharing it here. I have few questions on the difference between these open-source tools, I’ll reach out to you separately.

    Thanks again!

    Reply

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