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Using Robot/REPLAY with MAPICS

Product: 
Robot/REPLAY

This Help/FACTS will help you get started automating MAPICS. It gives you examples of how a Help/Systems customer uses Robot/REPLAY to capture their interactive MAPICS processes. By automating these processes with Robot/REPLAY, our customer has been able to run more jobs without adding more staff. Their IT department interviewed users to find out which MAPICS processes should be automated with Robot/REPLAY. Here is a small sample of what they have automated so far:

  • Save process
  • MRP application
  • Invoicing application
  • End-of-month and quarterly processes

General Tip

You can automate any process that can be typed in at a terminal. But, before you start the Robot/REPLAY learn process, first practice submitting the application you want to learn. If you know how to navigate your menu system, you will avoid capturing unnecessary screens.

Security

  • The user profiles on Robot/REPLAY objects should be equal to the user profile on the ROBOT job. The AMAPICS user profile can be used in the Replay object and ROBOT job.
  • User profile RBTREPLAY must be added to the MAPICS security system. Copy all MAPICS authority to RBTREPLAY so that Robot/REPLAY has all access to run the MAPICS menu system. Note: The MAPICS screens in this Help/FACTS are from MAPICS XA release 3.

Initial Program

In the Replay Object Entry panel, you must tell Robot/REPLAY how to get to the initial MAPICS menu and get signed into the MAPICS application. Typically, to get to a MAPICS menu you type the MAPICS command and specify your environment. In the example below, our customer has their own
XA command that does this.

Batch Issues

When ROBOT, the job scheduler, submits a Replay object to batch, the Replay object waits in batch until all batch processes that it submits have finished. This is why you will see batch jobs waiting in the background on the system until all activity is done. We recommend submitting the Replay object to a multi-threaded job queue.

Sample MRP

MRP is often a task that is very resource intensive and should be run at night. The following example shows you how we created a Replay object called INTPLNRUN and scheduled it in ROBOT to run in the evening.

  1. To create the Replay object, we entered the RBTRPYLIB/RPYSTRLRN command on the AS/400 command line to display the Replay Object Entry panel. In this example, we use the XA command to get into the Mapics Main Menu. This step starts the learning of your menu options.
  2. We pressed Enter on the Replay Object Entry panel to display the actual panel that displays when entering the XA command. From this panel, we selected option 6 to initiate the planning run.
  3. The Initiate Planning Run panel requires today’s date in month/day/year format. We’ll enter the date now and then edit the Replay object to add a ROBOT reserved command variable, which will supply the current date when the job runs. The next example shows you how to edit a Replay object to add a reserved command variable. When we press Enter and then exit the application, the Replay object is created.
  4. The INTPLNRUN Replay object now displays in the Work with Replay Objects panel. In this panel, option 2 allows you to work with the images; option 7 allows you to schedule the Replay object in ROBOT.
  5. In ROBOT, we created a Command type job with the same name as the Replay Object. We scheduled it to run Monday through Friday at 2200 each day.
  6. In the ROBOT Command Entry panel, we entered this command to run the INTPLNRUN Replay object. When option 7 is used from the Work With Replay Objects panel, a new ROBOT job is created automatically with this command.
  7. The following ROBOT panel shows the ROBOT job’s work management objects. Notice the job queue used in RBTSLEEPER. You should always run the Replay object through a job queue that is multi-threaded. We recommend that you do NOT use RBTSLEEPER unless you cannot create your own.
  8. The user profile that is used has to be authorized to Mapics. You can use the profile AMAPICS. The library list name controls what Mapics libraries are used for sign on.

  9. The following panel shows examples of other Replay objects that our customer has created.
  10.  

     

Example of Automating MAPICS Backups

  1. In this example, we have already created the Replay object that uses option 1 from the following menu to schedule unattended backups. Now we’ll edit the Replay object to add a reserved command variable.
  2. This Replay object is called UNATTBKUPS. We selected it with option 1 from the Work with Replay Objects panel. The following panel allows you to see the main attributes of the Replay object. You may want to use the common user profile, AMAPICS, for your profile. The interactive command can be your command or the standard command, MAPICS.
  3. This panel displays when you select option 2, Images, from the Work with Replay Objects panel. It shows the seven panels captured while learning a backup job. By default, the panel description is Panel n. In the next step, we’ll change the description so it’s easier to identify the panels in the list. Select an image with option 1 to edit it.
  4. The Change Replay Image panel displays. From this panel, you can change the description. Then press function key 8 to see the actual image.
  5. This is the actual image of the panel. Notice you need a date on this panel. We’re using ROBOT 7.0’s popular reserved command variable feature to provide dynamic date parameters. ROBOT 7.0 already ships these reserved variables. If you need your own, you can create them. (For more information about ROBOT reserved command variables, see the ROBOT 7.0 User Guide.)
  6. Any input field allows the cursor to be positioned, and then you can press function key 4 for reserved variables.

  7. The following window displays when you press function key 4. We entered the @@DATE reserved command variable in the Variable Name field. This variable will be substituted with the current date every time this job runs.
  8. We created a command type ROBOT job with the same name as the Replay Object. We scheduled it to run the MAPICS backup Monday through Friday starting at 16:00.
  9. This panel shows the ROBOT command that is executed to run the Replay object called UNATTBKUPS.
  10. This panel shows the work management objects being controlled by the ROBOT job.

Summary

You’ve seen just two examples of automating MAPICS processes with Robot/REPLAY. The possibilities are endless. If you have any questions about automating specific processes with Robot/REPLAY, please call Help/Systems Technical Support at 952-933-0609.

Last updated July 3, 2012