BPA 7 Task Builder Overview

in Tech Talk, posted 7/29/08

The Task Builder is used to visually construct and test the steps that a task should carry out when it is executed, whether done manually or triggered by an event or condition. The Task Builder can be accessed from the Server Management Console in two ways:


One way is through the Repository section by clicking the Tasks folder and creating a new task or editing an existing task. To create a new task from this section, simply click the New button. To edit an existing task, highlight it and select the Edit button.

Another way to access the Task Builder is via the Workflow Designer. Through this method, a task becomes part of the workflow and acts in accordance with the parameters set in that workflow. To create a new task, double-click or drag the task icon from the Available Objects pane to the Workflow pane. To add an existing task, click the Repository button located in the lower part of the Available Objects pane, expand the Tasks folder, and drag the desired task to the Workflow.


The Task Builder is comprised of three main sections: the Available Actions window, the Steps window, and the Debug window. More details regarding each component is provided below. 

Available Actions Window

The Available Actions window pane displays all of the actions used to build tasks. Actions (also known as steps or tags) are commands or instructions that are available in BPA Server 7 for creating the steps of a task. They range from starting an application, opening a web page, focusing on a window, sending keystrokes, clicking controls, uploading files and much more. Actions are the most important part of BPA Server 7 because they represent the "work" that the task actually performs when executed. Actions are typically categorized into expandable folders. However, all actions can also be categorized alphabetically as well.
In order to toggle between the Folder and Alphabetical view, right-click anywhere inside the Available Actions window and select Alphabetical. This option works as a toggle switch to go back and forth between the two views. All Available Actions folders can be expanded by selecting Expand All or collapsed by selecting Collapse All. Additionally, to change the sort order of the Available Actions folders, from the right-click menu, point to Customize, and click Sort Up or Sort Down.

At the foot of the Available Actions pane is a search box that can be used to search for a particular action. When entering a keyword in the search box, all actions that include that keyword will come to view, as shown in. To revert back to the previous view, click the Cancel button.
Steps Window

The Steps window pane displays the actions that were selected to run the task. A description regarding each action and its settings are displayed in this window in plain English. In addition, each selected action will include a step number as well as a unique icon representing that particular action. Many adjustments can be performed on each action once they are added to the steps window. Steps can be moved up or down and indentations can be increased or decreased by using the appropriate buttons.  One or more steps can be disabled / re-enabled by clicking the Enable button. Additionally, the properties of any action added to the Steps window can be easily edited by double-clicking the step or selecting Edit Steps from the right-click menu.
Debug Window

The Debug window supplies a wealth of information about tasks as they execute. Its purpose is to assist a developer to properly examine a task during runtime and diagnose a task that generates an error or is generally not running properly. The Debug window contains eight views which are separated by tabs.