5 approaches to automation that are too rigid for the web.
Miles Davis could pick up his trumpet, step into a quartet, listen, adapt and produce beautiful Jazz that worked.
Similar to a great Jazz musician, a good automation approach for the web has the flexibility to process dynamic inputs, adapt in near real-time and deliver just the right output.
However, most traditional automation approaches are rigidly designed with little ability to adapt to change, making them brittle when deployed on the web.
Below are 5 approaches to automation that are too rigid for the web.
1) Using X-Y coordinates to locate objects
Similar to longitude and latitude on a map, this approach relies on the objects on the screen to be predictably in the same location time and again, but the web is innately dynamic and objects move or could be presented differently based on the browser, device type and resolution. Advertisements, message notifications, report filter options and UI design modifications are examples of changes that will break any automation that relies on X-Y coordinates.
2) Extracting the DOM structure and looking for elements by name or structure
The DOM is a tree structure of all the elements that make up a web page.
Traditional automations extract the DOM structure and look for elements precisely by their id, class or position. This approach is prone to instability as many websites eschew naming DOM elements entirely, arbitrarily change ids and class names or duplicate ids in violation of DOM specifications, causing automations to break.
Also, web development trends are moving toward websites that load dynamically as you scroll through the webpage, defer loading portions of a web page, or dynamically build portions of the page after it is loaded, to provide a more seamless experience to customers with lower bandwidth. While this improves the user experience, it confuses and breaks automations that depend on a static, predictable DOM structure.
Finally, most DOM violations aren’t a stumbling block for the user experience because web browsers like Chrome and Firefox do a fantastic job of masking poor adherence to web standards. But, these DOM violations will break automations and require arduous collaboration from operations and software development to investigate and resolve.
4) Using shortcuts to bypass the User Experience
To increase the speed of automations, some software developers decide to bypass the website user experience by taking shortcuts to complete automations faster. Taking these shortcuts will inevitably lead to issues like slowing down (or crashing) your target website, IP Blocking, getting auto-logged out and/or accessing incomplete data. Short-cuts appear to be great until they don’t work and they then become very difficult to investigate and repair as they were not based on user experience to begin with.
5) Using web testing automation tools (e.g. Selenium, etc.)
So when you’re automating on the web you must ditch the traditional rigid approach for an adaptive modern approach that produces beautiful automations that work.
As companies attempt to automate stably on the web they must consider its dynamic nature. Weeldi’s modern approach to automation is flexible and adaptive, enabling companies of any size or technical ability to stably automate processes on the web, at scale, through its web service API or user interface — with no coding required.
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