Frequently Asked Questions

Which platforms does Automa support?

Automa is supported on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, and Windows Server 2003 and 2008.

Does Automa run on other platforms such as Linux, Mac OS or mobile devices? Will it ever?

We would obviously love to be able to support these other platforms, but this will not happen in the foreseeable future.

Does your software offer a record and playback functionality? Why not?

Automation scripts created via record and playback are difficult, if not impossible, to maintain. Instead of providing a functionality for generating such throw-away scripts, Automa makes it easy to write scripts by providing a very high-level and easy-to-use automation language. The result is automation code that is not too difficult to write and very easy to maintain.

We are not alone in our wariness of record and playback. Especially in the Agile testing community, record and playback has a bad reputation. Consider for instance this interesting article by Elisabeth Hendrickson, a prominent figure in the Agile community, that mentions this point.

Do you offer a graphical development environment for writing and running scripts? Will you provide something like this at some point?

Automa does not include a graphical development environment of its own but can be used with any IDE that supports the Python programming language. Many such IDEs exist - we recommend PyCharm (commercial) or the free, Eclipse-based PyDev. Both IDEs feature syntax highlighting, code completion, a graphical debugger, refactoring capabilities etc.

There are several reasons why we do not provide a graphical IDE of our own. One is that it would be very difficult to build a tool to the same level of sophistication and stability as existing IDEs. Another is that such a proprietary tool would require potentially expensive training on the part of our users. Finally, our users appreciate the minimal dependence they have on us as a tool vendor as a result of this lightweight approach.

Is it possible to run Automa scripts while the screen is locked?

Windows prevents GUI automation while the screen is locked. This is a limitation of not just Automa but of all GUI automation tools. It should be possible to run it in a VM and minimize the window; this is actually what we are doing to test Automa on various platforms. It is also possible to run Automa scripts via RDP, but keep the connection open. It should then be possible, at least, to minimize the client RDP window.